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By scrapping the Green Energy Act, passed by former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty in 2009, Premier Doug Ford is ending one of the worst legislative disasters ever inflicted on the people of Ontario.
Ford ran on repealing the GEA and the end of this appalling legislation cannot come soon enough.
The GEA is largely responsible for Ontario’s skyrocketing electricity prices.
It’s the reason we’re paying outrageously high prices for green energy the Liberals didn’t need in order to eliminate coal power, which was actually done using nuclear power and natural gas.
The jobs the Liberals promised under the GEA never materialized, according to former Ontario auditor general Jim McCarter in his 2011 annual report.
The GEA made Ontario’s energy grid less efficient because it required the province to buy expensive and unreliable wind and solar power from green energy developers under 20-year contracts, before purchasing other forms of energy.
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk reported in 2016 that Ontario electricity consumers had overpaid $9.2 billion for green energy, because the Liberals ignored the advice of their own experts on how to price it.
The GEA led to the gas plants scandal, because the Liberals had to frantically build new natural gas plants to back up the unreliable power they were getting from wind and solar energy, then scrapped the gas plants planned for Oakville and Mississauga to save Liberal seats in the 2011 election.
As PC Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton said Thursday, the GEA took away the planning rights of municipalities, which will now be restored, leaving them without any say in the location of green energy infrastructure.
That deprived Ontarians of natural justice, turning neighbour against neighbour as developers quietly signed deals to lease privately-owned lands in rural communities for massive wind turbines and solar farms, with the projects then sprung on those communities as a fait accompli, in which they had no meaningful say.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, still ranting about Ford cutting the size of Toronto council in half, voted with the Liberals to pass the GEA, a far more sweeping attack on municipal governments.
Under the GEA, the Liberals abdicated from the proper role of government, which is to balance public and private interests.
Instead, they became cheerleaders for the wealthy green energy lobby.
Citizens opposed to green energy projects imposed on their communities faced the impossible task of fighting the industry and the Liberal government.
Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, reported by the CBC, revealed the Liberals ignored warnings from their own environment ministry that the province needed stricter noise limits on turbines, had no reliable way to monitor or enforce them, and that computer models for determining residential setbacks were flawed.
In 2011, when McCarter investigated the Liberals’ renewable energy strategy built around the GEA, he reported his auditors had to start from scratch, because the Liberals, incredibly, “had not recently conducted any audit work on renewable energy initiatives.”
McCarter warned the GEA had, “created a new process to expedite the development of renewable energy by providing the Minister (of Energy) with the authority to supersede many of the government’s usual planning and regulatory processes … As a result no comprehensive business-case evaluation was done to objectively evaluate” its financial impacts.
Ford is right to scrap the GEA.
The tragedy is that the economic damage it caused under the McGuinty/Wynne Liberals will be felt for decades to come.
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