Comment

Heresy

Posted: May 20, 2016 at 8:53 am   /   by   /   comments (5)

To be sure, the $7 billion the Ontario government wants to spend in its latest plan to tackle climate change is a mere drop in the bucket.

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk last year tabulated the cost of the Ontario Liberals’ energy policies. She calculated that between 2006 and 2014, Ontarians paid $37 billion more for electricity than they should have. And, if left unchecked, we were likely to spend an additional $133 billion for electricity by 2032.

Lysyk didn’t know that Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals were just warming up. In the aboutto- be-unleashed plan cooked up by Wynne, her Environment Minister, Glen Murray, and the folks they listen to, 12 per cent of us will be driving electric cars by 2025 (0.16 per cent of us are driving them now), and new homes will be heated by electricity. It will be the law.

Nevermind that the electricity powering these cars and fossil-fuel free homes will continue to be generated by natural gas. After all, we continue to build massive gas-fired electricity generating facilities in Napanee and Sarnia. It is the press release that matters—not the facts.

Automakers and large homebuilders already have their hands out. They know how this works. They have already signalled that accomplishing these goals will be a monumental challenge for them, and they are willing give it a shot, if, of course, it’s Wynne and Ontario taxpayers footing the bill.

Pop-up businesses are emerging out of thin air to get in the way of the money—to snag contracts doing any number of silly and useless things. Few, if any, will achieve anything that measurably affects the Earth’s climate. But that misses the point altogether.

To be clear, none of this is about sympathy for the planet. If it was, we wouldn’t use the legal might of the Ontario government to exterminate endangered turtles and bats that get in the way. We wouldn’t actively work to minimize the importance of their loss. We wouldn’t sanction the swatting of 300,000 of birds out of the sky each year. We wouldn’t industrialize raw and rugged land for useless, intermittent and expensive energy generation. And we wouldn’t work to bankrupt conservancy and nature groups and their donors seeking only to do what governments have failed to do.

If it was about the planet we would care about such things. We would care about nature.

Instead Ontario’s climate change policies are exclusively about appealing to the faithful. They are about exploiting the vulnerable. Those who have been psychologically badgered and beaten over the past decades with the catechism that they are the cause of the end of days—and only through repentance and rejection of self-indulgent lifestyles can they fix the Earth’s weather. Only through sacrifice can they achieve salvation. It is a seductive, effective and proven message.

There is a generation coming of age that knows only this religion. It is all that is taught in Ontario schools. Countering views are held only by deniers, oil companies and other bad people. Blasphemers.

The righteous are now able to look forward with optimism and satisfaction. Their day is nearly here.

“There may be some disruption, for sure, but you can’t really address climate change and not do things differently,” said Keith Brooks of Environmental Defence, rejoicing in the Ontario government’s climate change plan to The Globe and Mail this week. “There may be losers, but there are going to be a lot of winners too.”

That is how these folks see the world. Winners and losers. Faithful and deniers. There is no middle ground. No room for discussion or debate. You are in, or you are out. And the truly evil bit is that Environmental Defence, Kathleen Wynne and Glen Murray will decide who will win and who will lose

Leave aside the fact that humans have a persistent track record of doing the most odious things in defence of righteous conviction, let us look more narrowly at the road ahead.

When the state decides it will choose who wins and who loses in its economy—it is always the individual who is most vulnerable. Big business and investors are far too agile. They will transform instantly into whatever shape makes them the most money. Besides, they’ve invested heavily into 90 Liberal fundraising events over the past two years to ensure the cash continues to flow their way.

Small businesses and consumers don’t have that same flexibility.

The Hydro One bill for one Wellington business in February was $8,440—$625 of that bill was for electricity. The biggest item, about $4,000, was the global adjustment. This line captures the subsidies that business pays energy producers to generate intermittent power we don’t need, it contains the subsidies Ontario pays neighbouring jurisdictions to take the excess electricity we don’t need, and it includes the subsidies we give manufacturers because their electricity is too expensive for them to be competitive.

The choice for this Wellington business is to continue to pay more and more—or cease existing. In or out. That is what winning and losing means in this context. For homeowners, it likely means thousands of dollars more each year to stay warm and keep the lights on. In or out.

Faith is a powerful force. It isn’t affected or diminished by logic, arithmetic or the pain of those it sacrifices. It is propelled by its own highly crafted mythology and intolerance of reasoned debate. A new dark age is gripping Ontario. How will we respond?

rick@wellingtontimes.ca

 

Comments (5)

  • May 22, 2016 at 8:06 am C. Keen

    Your editorial (“Heresy”) is a graphic summary of the mismanagement of many aspects of life in Ontario, first by McGuinty, and now by Kathleen Wynne. As with the ill-conceived “Green” Energy Plan, Wynne is proposing massive changes in the way Ontarians will live their lives with little thought given to the implications of these plans. Once again, like the “Green” Energy Plan, this has come “out of the blue” instead of being proposed as part of an election campaign and open for public debate.

    Like the “Green” Energy Plan it will be imposed on us in such a way that resistance will be all but impossible. Once again it will be rural Ontario that shoulders the burden of these “plans”. All we can hope is that the people of the GTA finally come to their senses at the next election and kick Wynne and her cronies to the curb.

  • May 22, 2016 at 3:29 am R Budd

    Important points presented here. Thank you. One of the ironies of the original Green Energy Act and the resultant Long Term Energy Plan was it didn’t produce emissions reduction. By 2032 wind/solar triples but natural gas increased dramatically because the only thing being replaced was nuclear.
    Had we stuck with the previous plan with two new reactor buils where the demand is (GTA)at Darlington we would see emissions reduction and none of the destructive landscape and public interest impacts you pointed out.
    But then what would the Liberals have to make them the omnipotent power brokers they have become? I think the new climate action plan will be just as disingenuous regarding the environment, but oh so empowering to them and their clique.

  • May 21, 2016 at 5:07 pm Greg Schmalz

    I hope everyone who voted Liberal is in shock.
    Absolute power corrupts and nice polite Ontarians will continue to be abused.
    No matter what your age, your future prosperity and that of your children is disappearing before your eyes.
    We need an “Arab uprising” of our own.
    Feel despair? Helpless? What could people like me possibly do?
    Get angry and talk to your friends about what we can do to cripple this government that had no mandate to harm us. Cut off their cash flow.
    Withholding all payments on electric bills, gst payments, real estate taxes, income tax etc. for 3 months coupled with civil disobedience rallies.
    Or just do nothing.

    • May 26, 2016 at 7:08 am lynda

      That’s it in a nutshell. Being polite and politically correct gains one nothing but more frustration. Shouting gets no reaction either (unless of course you’re part of a minority and the government sucks up to you to get votes). Ra Ra Rallies are a waste of time and rarely make a ripple on the pond. Greg is right…money talks, but a real anti-government movement needs a charismatic, determined leader to coalesce the victims and make it work. I doubt we could find one of those animals in this country…Canadians are taught from birth not to rock the boat, and we don’t, although we seem to be swayed by ‘nice hair’ and ‘parades’. I’m sure Justin and Kathleen will be photographed together holding hands at the next one. Hopefully they will remember to dress for the occasion.

  • May 21, 2016 at 9:37 am Elizabeth Barry

    How can there be a “reply” to this account of this betrayal? I just hope I die before I run out of money.

Comments are closed.