Tax policy and energy price adjustments just don't have the same appeal as a mayor smoking crack or secret cheques to cover fraudulent housing expenses.However, the boring stuff has far more impact on our lives than the circus that follows the eccentric and scandal-plagued leaders in our country.Not all scandals are equal.
Earlier this month the Fraser Institute published a report sharply critical of one of the flagship policies of the Ontario government, namely the Ontario Green Energy Act (GEA). Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli dismissed it out of hand. What makes the Minister's response most disturbing is that it is so disconnected from reality.
Because countries often have differing political and economic systems, agreements are needed to protect those invested in trade. Canada has signed numerous deals. Treaties, agreements and organizations to help settle disputes may be necessary, but they often favour the interests of business over citizens.
After serving nine years as Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty has stunned the country by announcing his intention to step down as Liberal leader. Regardless of one's opinion of the man, he has arguably had a bigger impact on the province than many of his predecessors. There may be much to criticize in his record, but there is also much to laud. Now is a good time to evaluate some of his bigger legislative initiatives -- good and bad.
When it comes to solar panel manufacturing the laws of supply and demand may as well be Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Just ask the former president of one of the largest solar photo-voltaic module manufacturers in Canada. He's an affable, friendly guy who got started in the solar industry 24 years ago.
It might actually be easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than to find investments that not only produce a healthy return but also contribute to a better society. Enter Solar Bonds from SolarShare in Ontario. The investment side is solid. A $1,000 bond has a return of five per cent for five years. The kicker? That money is invested in getting solar energy projects up and running in Ontario.
I was saddened to read that Jeff Damen, a father of two and employee of a wind developer in rural Ontario, reported having a shotgun pulled on him while conducting field work on a project site in West Grey. While I am not known for expressing opinions remotely sympathetic to that of the wind industry or its employees, and certainly oppose the development of the project in question, guns and threats of violence have no place in any debate in our province.
On Thursday Ontario politicians have the chance to halt industrial wind turbines in the province. Wind energy is the opposite of green technology. Conservation -- Reduce, Re-use, Recycle -- is green, a frugal approach that makes sense. Wind energy -- Unreliable, Inefficient, Expensive -- is anti-green, a wasteful approach that makes no sense.
The McGuinty version of fiscal austerity includes green-jobs boondoggles. Ontarians must overpay twice for energy: once in the form of huge overpayments to uncompetitive solar and wind producers, and then again in the form of subsidies to companies that manufacture the components for solar and wind.
Dalton McGuinty's Green Energy Act has failed to provide the thousands of high value jobs he has spent the last two years claiming it would and Canada's reputation as a free trader is being challenged by important members of the global community. But sadly, it's Ontarians who will clean up the mess.
The Green Energy Act is an issue that has been festering in rural Ontario communities for years. The Liberals are campaigning in defence of their Green Energy Act, while the opposition has centred around three key issues: health and environmental impacts, process issues around decision making and the economics of the feed-in-tariff program.
Why are we shouting at Dalton McGuinty for our hydro bills being slightly higher when his overall objective is to create valuable jobs here in Ontario? All the while, this policy is reducing our share of the planet's destruction. People need to be better educated as to what, exactly, as it stake here.