I’ve finally figured out Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s green energy strategy.
It’s to cover his eyes, stick cotton batting in his ears and duct tape the mouths of his Liberal caucus, so they won’t say a word while the whole sorry mess comes crashing down on their heads.
When it comes to green energy, McGuinty apparently subscribes to the theory that if a tree falls in the forest and he doesn’t hear it – or rather, refuses to acknowledge he’s heard it – then it never fell.
His green energy program has been a disaster. Consider:
• Rural fury over the high-handed way he overrode municipal objections to ramming industrial wind turbines into Ontario communities via his Green Energy Act cost McGuinty 10 Liberal seats in the last election, three cabinet ministers, including his former environment minister, and his majority government.
• Provincial Auditor General Jim McCarter recently eviscerated virtually every aspect of McGuinty’s renewable energy initiatives, including his centrepiece Green Energy Act, noting they were implemented without proper planning, consultation, auditing or business plans, and will hike electricity prices paid by consumers by billions of dollars for generations to come.
• Expensive, unreliable wind and solar power, which must be backed up by fossil fuel energy, are being added to the grid at a time when Ontario doesn’t need them because of an energy surplus, while still having to pay for them.
• McGuinty’s promise of 50,000 green jobs has been exposed as a mirage by the Auditor General because (a) most of them are temporary (b) green initiatives kill far more jobs than they create, since the massive public subsidies needed to sustain them lead to a huge spike in electricity costs, which kills traditional manufacturing jobs.
• McGuinty’s plan to establish a regional cap-and-trade market with some Canadian provinces and U.S. states, known as the Western Climate Initiative, is in a shambles, because nobody wants to touch the idea any more, given what a disaster cap-and-trade has been in Europe, where it is has failed to lower greenhouse gas emissions, increased electricity prices and prompted multi-billion-dollar frauds.
• The Liberals downplayed hundreds of health complaints about wind turbines from across Ontario, misled people filing these complaints into thinking they were the only ones reporting symptoms, and ignored warnings from the environment ministry their noise guidelines for turbines were inadequate, that there was no reliable way to monitor or enforce them and that their computer models for determining setbacks were flawed.
Yet, through it all, McGuinty and his caucus have stumbled on in a modern-day, political version of the Bataan Death March.
They insist everything is going according to plan and pretend the Auditor General’s report doesn’t exist, while sending out form letters to furious rural residents across Ontario whose anger at the government is approaching the torches and pitchforks level.
A psychiatrist might say McGuinty and his caucus are in denial about their green energy fiasco and that they have disassociated themselves from reality.
The only thing they appear to be capable of doing now is to continue marching themselves over a cliff.
McGuinty insists the public should be thrilled because: (a) Ontario is getting rid of its coal-fired electricity plants by 2014 (which it could have done without building one wind turbine or solar panel); (b) green energy producers support his program (hardly surprising since they’re making a fortune out of it); (c) environmentalists are happy (few of whom, one suspects, work in Ontario’s beleaguered manufacturing sector, where high electricity prices kill jobs.)
The realpolitik here is that, having committed Ontario to his mad green energy experiment, McGuinty has apparently concluded admitting he made a mistake would be worse than continuing it.
And so he blunders on, a man with no plan, insisting he has one.
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