Approved

We applaud Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown’s promise to scrap the Liberals’ 2009 Green Energy Act if he wins the June, 2018 election. This badly flawed and dictatorial legislation has cost Ontarians a fortune. It is the legal underpinning of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s, and before her premier Dalton McGuinty’s, disastrous and ruinously expensive plunge into green energy. Green energy — primarily wind and solar power — that was never needed to eliminate Ontario’s use of coal-fired electricity, which was actually done with nuclear power and natural gas.

The Green Energy Act, plus the fact the Liberals ignored the advice of their own energy experts, are the reasons Ontarians today are locked into paying for unneeded, expensive, unreliable and inefficient wind and solar power for 20 years. Power Ontario has to buy first, regardless of whether it’s needed, which makes the entire electricity system run less efficiently as a result. Power we don’t need, because Ontario has a massive energy surplus. That means the public has to subsidize electricity being sold at a loss to neighbouring jurisdictions like Michigan and New York, or dumped, with zero compensation, known as curtailment, because there’s no buyer for it, even at cut-rate prices.

In 2015, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk reported Ontarians were paying twice as much for wind power on average as American energy consumers and 3.5 times as much for solar power, a total of $9.2 billion more than necessary over 20 years. Small wonder Brown accurately calls the Green Energy Act the “bad contracts act.” Brown can’t unilaterally break these contracts without incurring huge financial penalties. But he says he will use every legal means available to exit from as many as possible, by taking advantage of cancellation clauses, if this is financially beneficial for the public. Beyond the waste of money this has led to, the Green Energy Act never delivered the jobs the Liberals promised, as reported by former auditor general Jim McCarter in his 2011 report on their renewable energy policies.

The legislation also took away local planning rights in deciding where industrial wind farms would be located. In this, the Green Energy Act was, and is, fundamentally undemocratic. It resulted in rural communities across Ontario having industrial wind farms rammed down their throats, with no ability to impact the outcome. Instead of acting as an impartial mediator in deciding where industrial wind farms would go, the Liberal government often sided with wind developers, many of whom donated money to the Liberal party, against the local community. Simply put, the Green Energy Act was fundamentally flawed and dictatorial legislation, passed by the Liberal government at a time when it seemed far more interested in getting praise from global warming guru Al Gore than doing right by the people of Ontario. Brown is fully justified in scrapping it if he wins in June.

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