The battle in Plympton-Wyoming

Electricity bills threaten Welland curling club

Soaring electricity costs threaten Welland Curling Club 8

By Allan Benner, The Tribune

Facing monthly electricity bills as high as $6,100, Welland Curling Club board members are wondering how much longer they will be able to keep the doors open.
“We’ve definitely seen large increases in our energy costs,” said Welland Curling Club board member Matt Botden.
The club has already taken advantage of government grants to retrofit the facility with energy-efficient lighting and other initiatives designed to reduce electricity usage, but Botden said the cost of electricity bills is still climbing substantially.
“We’ve actually seen our usage go down while our costs keep going up,” he said. “We’re trying to keep the ice frozen, you can’t do anything about it.”
Welland MPP Cindy Forster used the Welland Curling Club as an example of the affect soaring electricity prices are having on communities Tuesday. During question period in the provincial legislature she said the facility is at risk of closing.
Electricity rates in Ontario published by the Ontario Energy Board are currently as high as 12.9 cents per kilowatt hour during on-peak hours, up from 4.3 cents in 2003.
The club’s ice-maker Randy Beaulieu said the complex equipment that keeps the ice frozen essentially runs continuously for eight months of the year, from September to April. Despite the cold winter this year, Beaulieu said he can’t simply open the doors.
“We have heaters out there too, so opening the doors would defeat the purpose. There’s a balance between the air temperature and ice temperature and all sorts of variables,” Beaulieu explained. Altering that balance would reduce the quality of the ice surface, he added.
Although people can take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours in their homes, Botden said the club doesn’t have that option.
“When the compressor comes on to keep the ice frozen, you can’t say, ‘No, wait a little while,'” Botden said. “In that part of things, we’re definitely stuck.”
And passing the increased costs on to its 300 members might do more harm than good.

Read the full article here.

Opposition Day at Queen’s Park

Several items of interest at Queen’s Park today. Here from the Queen’s Park Update:

The House will convene at 9:00 a.m. to begin second reading debate on Bill 153,
Complying with International Trade Obligations Act, 2013. Energy Minister Bob
Chiarelli
ʼs (Ottawa West—Nepean) bill would, if passed, end the Minister of Energyʼs
domestic content requirements under the province’s Feed-in Tariff Program.
The afternoon is scheduled for opposition day debate. PC Finance critic Vic Fedeli
(Nipissing) will put forward a motion calling on the Premier to not introduce or raise any
taxes, including – but not limited to – the gas tax, payroll taxes and corporate tax rates.
The motion will be debated and voted on.

We believe PC Energy Critic Lisa MacLeod will be speaking on the Green Energy Act.

You can watch the Legislature live at http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/go2.jsp?Page=/webcast/webcast_main&locale=en&menuItem=dandp_webcast

What do subways, Oakville gas plant, Trillium Foundation have in common?


Invitation To Cocktail Party Royalty Free Stock Photo - 15264345
The internecine world of Toronto-based Liberal politics
After looking at postings on several websites the question that came to mind was, what do Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter, the TransCanada Oakville gas plant move and Trillium Foundationhave in common?
Scarborough Guildwood residents in Toronto will recall that MPP Hunter was on Sarah Thompson’s “Transit Town Hall” pushing for LRTs and “revenue tools” but flip-flopped to support Scarborough subways when selected as the Liberal candidate for the riding.  Her flip-flop was successful and she captured the riding in August 2013.  But, election campaigns cost money: to help her out, one of her friends and supporters, Michael Barrack, a partner with the legal firm Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP, is throwing a fundraiseron March 4, 2014 at his South Rosedale home. Tickets are $750. This is not the first fundraiser that Mr. Barrack has thrown for Ms. Hunter; he held one at the National Club in July last year, according to Christina Blizzard of the Toronto Sun. 
Mr. Barrack was also the chief counsel/negotiator on behalf of TransCanada during negotiations with the Ontario Government over the gas plant move from Oakville (THAT cost Ontario’s ratepayers a minimum of $675 million, according to the Auditor General’s report).  A Toronto Star article September 27, 2012 about the TransCanada negotiations and particularly how then Energy Minister, Brad Duguid was castigated when he suggested a deal on the cancellation could be worked out, provides insight to Mr. Barrack’s powers of observation:  “TCE responds angrily—we already have a deal,go talk to your bosses.” Also, “TCE’s lawyer, Michael Barrack, describes how his clients ‘blew a gasket’ when it appeared Duguid had not been briefed on an agreement struck with the premier.”
 
The Trillium connection
Before the deal with TransCanada was announced by Chris Bentley on September 24, 2012, another event had taken place that indirectly involved Michael Barrack.  The announcement from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) on Friday May 4, 2012 stated: “Andrea Cohen Barrack has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). The Foundation, an agency of the Ontario government [our emphasis] is one of Canada’s leading grantmaking organizations.  
Perhaps Ms. Cohen and Mr. Barrack connected when she was the Executive Director of Unison Health & Community Services and he was a Director, according to the 2008/2009 annual report.  That report indicated government support ($5 million plus) came from the Toronto Central LHIN/Ministry of Health.  Ms. Cohen just managed to make the “Sunshine” list ($101,525) for her last year at Unison;  I am sure she got a nice jump in income with her move to OTF, as the last CEO earned $219,500 in 2011.
A party for the Party
Mr. Barrack appears to be a very good negotiator, so I’m sure Mitzie Hunter will clear out whatever debts remain from her Scarborough/Guildwood campaign. Perhaps there will be enough left over as a result of Mr. Barrack’s persuasive powers for her to donate the excess to build a subway.
©Parker Gallant
February 25, 2014
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.

The fascinating world of Toronto-based Liberal politics

Gas plants, subways and the Trillium Foundation: what do they have in common?

The internecine world of Toronto-based Liberal politics

 

After looking at postings on several websites the question that came to mind was, what do Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter, the TransCanada Oakville gas plant move and Trillium Foundation have in common?

 

Scarborough Guildwood residents in Toronto will recall that MPP Hunter was on Sarah Thompson’s “Transit Town Hall” pushing for LRTs and “revenue tools” but flip-flopped to support Scarborough subways when selected as the Liberal candidate for the riding.  Her flip-flop was successful and she captured the riding in August 2013.  But, election campaigns cost money: to help her out, one of her friends and supporters, Michael Barrack, a partner with the legal firm Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP, is throwing a fundraiser on March 4, 2014 at his South Rosedale home. Tickets are $750. This is not the first fundraiser that Mr. Barrack has thrown for Ms. Hunter; he held one at the National Club in July last year, according to Christina Blizzard of the Toronto Sun.

 

Mr. Barrack was also the chief counsel/negotiator on behalf of TransCanada during negotiations with the Ontario Government over the gas plant move from Oakville (THAT cost Ontario’s ratepayers a minimum of $675 million, according to the Auditor General’s report).  A Toronto Star article September 27, 2012 about the TransCanada negotiations and particularly how then Energy Minister, Brad Duguid was castigated when he suggested a deal on the cancellation could be worked out, provides insight to Mr. Barrack’s powers of observation:  “TCE responds angrily—we already have a deal,go talk to your bosses.” Also, “TCE’s lawyer, Michael Barrack, describes how his clients ‘blew a gasket’ when it appeared Duguid had not been briefed on an agreement struck with the premier.”

 

The Trillium connection

Before the deal with TransCanada was announced by Chris Bentley on September 24, 2012, another event had taken place that indirectly involved Michael Barrack.  The announcement from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) on Friday May 4, 2012 stated: “Andrea Cohen Barrack has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). The Foundation, an agency of the Ontario government [our emphasis] is one of Canada’s leading grantmaking organizations.

Perhaps Ms. Cohen and Mr. Barrack connected when she was the Executive Director of Unison Health & Community Services and he was a Director, according to the 2008/2009 annual report.  That report indicated government support ($5 million plus) came from the Toronto Central LHIN/Ministry of Health.  Ms. Cohen just managed to make the “Sunshine” list ($101,525) for her last year at Unison;  I am sure she got a nice jump in income with her move to OTF, as the last CEO earned $219,500 in 2011.

A party for the Party

Mr. Barrack appears to be a very good negotiator, so I’m sure Mitzie Hunter will clear out whatever debts remain from her Scarborough/Guildwood campaign. Perhaps there will be enough left over as a result of Mr. Barrack’s persuasive powers for her to donate the excess to build a subway.

©Parker Gallant

February 25, 2014

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.

Parker Gallant: Canada’s environmental charities audit


Have environmental charities been pillaged, or are they the pillagers?
Since the CBC broke the news that seven charitable organizations (out of 85,000 registered) are to be audited, the environmental charities among them have claimed discrimination, being targeted, intimidated, harassed, concerned, caught up in a “green chill,” and generally caught in a war against the sector. Those are just some of the comments have come from people like John Bennett, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, Tim Gray of Environmental Defence, and Marlo Raynolds, former ED of Pembina Institute (the latter are two of the 7 charities named). 
Listening to these comments one could believe that the audits will decimate the “charities” that are working hard to save the planet. 
Here’s some of the spin the environmentalists put on the audit announcement, and what the media said.  
Tim Gray of Environmental Defence in the Toronto Star:  “…the kind of charity that may have existed in the 19th century, where you are allowed to feed the hungry but not to comment on why they are hungry, said Gray.” 
The Vancouver Observer: “The federal NDP slammed the Conservatives, accusing them of using the CRA audits to intimidate environmental charities.
Warren Kinsella in the Toronto Sun:  Seriously?  If I were legal counsel to an enviro group, I’d sue Flaherty’s Irish ass for linking my client to terrorism.   But that’s me.  The environmental groups, you see are too nice.
John Bennett of the Sierra Club in a CBC interview: “ It certainly suggests there is some special treatment being used.
The Western Star of Corner Brook, Newfoundland:  Do you suppose, even for one fragile moment, that such complaints would lead to an audit of groups that weren’t doing something like opposing oil pipelines that our federal government already supports?”
If your eyes are welling up with tears, try to hold back for a while and reflect on the numbers that follow in our chart, below.  These seven charities (according to the annual statements they filed with the CRA) generated in excess of $50 million in revenues, but only $12 million (23.7%) required the issuance of tax receipts.   The organizations actually received more money from Other Charities than they were able to raise from their fund-raising activities.  They received almost as much money ($16.6 million) from offshore as they raised in Canada from tax-receipted donors, and received $12.7 million (25%) from various government grants and other sources.
 So why all the tears and lament from the media?  It is time some of the media types did some research before believing everything that comes from the mouths of the Tim Gray’s and John Bennett’s of the enviro crowd!  Bennett was out on the hustings during the last Ontario provincial election doing his best to convince municipalities to support the party responsible for the Green Energy Act, so it is easy to understand his concern—the Sierra Club may be next!
Here are the numbers from the CRA filings.
NB: Chart represents the latest filed financial statements with the CRA with differing year-ends.
Now wipe away the tears and hold onto your wallet or purse—those seven charities are fighting hard to keep grabbing your hard earned dollars. 
As a taxpayer what I would like to see the same disclosure in Canada for charities as in the U.S. where the financial information filed is extensive and where you can drill down to see who backs these groups (offshore money and Other Charities), as well as detailed information on the grants that the various municipal, provincial and federal department are handing out. 
If that happened in Canada it would likely bring a tear to my eye!
©Parker Gallant                                                                                                                                          February 24, 2014
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.
CRA AUDITS OF “CHARITABLE ENVIRO GROUPS
Name
     Revenue
      TR1
      OC2
     OutC3
      GG4
David Suzuki Foundation
$9,282
$5,308
$2,013
$273
$1,688
Percentage (%)
57.20%
21.70%
2.90%
18.20%
Environmental Defence
$3,848
$898
$1,179
$687
$1,084
Percentage (%)
23.30%
30.60%
17.90%
28.20%
West Coast Env. Law
$671
$193
$191
$194
$93
Percentage (%)
28.60%
28.40%
29.30%
13.70%
Pembina Institute
$841
$167
$549
$0
$125
Percentage (%)
19.90%
65.30%
0.00%
14.80%
Tides Canada (2)
$29,523
$4,235
$11,842
$7,985
$5,461
Percentage (%)
14.30%
40.10%
27.10%
18.50%
Ecology Action Centre
$1,905
$420
$604
$134
$747
Percentage (%)
22.10%
31.70%
7.00%
$0
Equiterre
$4,656
$833
$218
$137
$3,468
Percentage (%)
17.90%
4.70%
2.90%
74.50%
Totals
$50,726
$12,054
$16,596
$9,410
$12,666
Percentage (%)
23.70%
32.70%
18.60%
25.00%
Notes:
1. Taxable receipts issued
2. Donations from Other Charities
3. Money received from Outside Canada
4. Government Grants plus other revenue

Taxes and turbines at ROMA “bear pit”

Taxes, turbines dominate talks between province and mayors

32

By ,Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
First posted: | Updated:
Kathleen Wynne
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. (JOEL LEMAY/QMI AGENCY)

TORONTO – The Ontario government will take a “moderate” approach to balancing the provincial budget that doesn’t cut spending at the expense of municipalities, Premier Kathleen Wynne says.
“The notion that we can right now as a government step back from supporting communities and supporting investment is just not right,” Wynne told the combined Ontario Good Roads Association and Rural Ontario Municipal Association Annual Conference Wednesday. “Our plan is practical, it’s steady, it’s balanced … it’s not focused on cutting, it’s not focused on slashing because austerity has a cost.”
In the traditional “bear pit” that followed Wynne’s speech, cabinet ministers were pressed on a number of issues of concern to municipalities, including the impact of provincial decisions on property taxes.
Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur said she’s aware that a new Ontario Provincial Police billing model will dramatically shift costs between municipalities, and said she is looking at a phasing-in process or some form of financial mitigation from the province to control the impact on property taxes.
“I’m still trying to charm the minister of finance for him to give me money to help in this mitigation process,” she said.
The issue of rising hydro rates and unpopular wind turbines dominated much of the session.
Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said repeatedly that the provincial government was not prepared to violate any signed deals under the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program to bring renewable energy projects to Ontario.
“We are not going to break contracts,” Chiarelli said, noting that didn’t work out so well with two gas plants.
The government’s decision to relocate gas plants planned for Mississauga and Oakville cost as much as $1.1 billion.
Kevin Eccles, mayor of West Grey in southwestern Ontario, drew laughs when he asked Attorney General John Gerretsen if he could intervene on behalf of unhappy municipalities.
“The FIT contracts that came out a little while ago forced a marriage onto unwilling host municipalities,” he said. “So I’m wondering Mr. Gerretsen, will you put into legislation where we can get a divorce?”
Read the full story here.