Happy Family Day: what Liberal government subsidies have cost Ontario families
On this, Family Day for 2015, let’s look at the enormity of the subsidies being given to various groups and agencies, to support Ontario’s political agenda.
The job of delivering subsidies does not belong just to the Ministry of Energy, but also the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, the Ministry of Research and Innovation, and the Ministry of Economic Development Employment and Infrastructure. Premier Wynne wrote “Mandate letters” September 25, 2014 to those ministries.
To Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development Employment and Infrastructure: “Developing strategies for key-growth sectors, such as advanced manufacturing and automotive, agri-food, cleantech”. And, “ensure that public infrastructure investments encourage the adoption of approaches that maximize the value of our infrastructure dollars and minimize the long-term cost of maintaining infrastructure assets — including ensuring resiliency to the impact of climate change.”
To the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray: “You will also work with industry, stakeholders and the public to achieve compliance with environmental standards and you will establish a new long-term climate change strategy.”
To the Minister of Research and Innovation Dr. Reza Moridi: “You will focus on sectors with a strong culture of innovation, such as life sciences, advanced manufacturing, cleantech…”
To the Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli: “Continuing to help Ontarians by addressing the challenges they face from increasing electricity costs. You will continue to look for savings and efficiencies that will help keep electricity costs affordable for residential consumers.”
Minister Chiarelli has the toughest challenge and so far has failed miserably to achieve any “savings and efficiencies.” He instead informed us rates will rise 33% in the next three years. Keeping electricity costs affordable will be impossible as the Premier’s letter also instructs him to: “Continuing to lead our government’s commitment to renewable energy, with the aim of having 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy online by 2025. You will continue to monitor progress toward targets for wind, solar, bioenergy and hydroelectricity as part of Ontario energy reporting.”
As noted in previous articles, the money handed out to create our current electricity system has benefited a few, via lucrative 20-year contracts while driving our electricity prices ever higher. Those agencies, charities and cadre of “Ontario’s Network of Entrepreneurs” have proven adept at using taxpayer and ratepayer dollars.
What the Liberal Ministers tell us about spending our tax and ratepayer dollars
The Results-based Plan Briefing Book issued by the Ministry of Research and Innovation and the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment for the 2012-1013 year is 39 pages of interesting content.
For example, the statement on the Strategic Jobs and Investment Fund: “The Fund provides flexible strategic investment support for business so that Ontario can successfully compete against other jurisdictions to attract investments in leading edge priority sectors including clean/green technologies” and, “The Strategic Jobs and Investment Fund announced support of $40 million ($29 million in grants and $11 million in loans) to support total industry investment of over $500 million and more than 800 highly skilled jobs.” In other words, Minister Moridi suggests each job created cost $625,000?
Then there is the charity sinkhole that is MaRS Discovery District, the favourite child of the Liberal government: “Open for Business entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with MaRS to send social policy ‘problems’ to the Solutions Lab.”
Another MaRS tribute was announced by Chris Bentley when Minister of Energy: “In partnership with MaRS, the government is developing a comprehensive plan for the Clean Energy Institute.” Now called the “Advanced Energy Centre” it initially received $500K from the Energy Ministry. The three partners of the centre are Capgemini (holding a lucrative multi-million dollar contract from Hydro One for customer service), Siemens (benefiting from major Ontario wind turbine contracts) and OPG. It is unclear how much this “Advanced Energy Centre” is currently costing ratepayers.
The following claim from the Briefing Book sums up how the two Ministries view their contribution to the Province. They don’t mention the Province’s fall into “have not” status and fail to give taxpayers the true results and how the $1.3 billion spent has benefited the province’s job market or tax revenues.
“The Ontario Research Fund supports research that can be developed into innovative goods and services to boost Ontario’s economy. To date nearly 38,000 highly qualified personnel have been trained, $1.3 billion in investments has leveraged an additional $2.87 billion, and 625 industrial and institutional partnerships have been created.”
(The report does make another claim which indicates they can’t even proof-read what they publish: “Ontario announced renewal funding for $100 million over five years beginning in 2013/14 for the Ontario Bran Institute (OBI).”)
A quick trip through the Results-based Plan Briefing Book 2013-14 for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change completed in June 2013 finds this laughable claim: “Issuing renewable energy approvals to ensure human health and the environment are protected while Ontario increases renewable energy capacity to create green jobs and improve air quality.”
Finally, from the Ministry of Energy’s Results -based Plan Briefing Book 2011-2012, issued when Brad Duguid was the Minister, they brag about the jobs created due to the FIT program, and reference CS Wind: “In the same month, CS Wind chose to locate its wind tower manufacturing plant in Windsor, which will bring 300 new full-time jobs and up to 400 construction and indirect service jobs.” Fast forward to November 6, 2014 and according to an article in the Windsor Star CS Wind “has had almost 100 government work orders issued against it since starting production in 2012.” So these are the type of jobs that our Liberal government have been creating, aside from those at MaRS Discovery District. We shouldn’t be impressed.
The Ontario Clean Technology Alliance – a “collective of regional and municipal economic development organizations across Ontario” list seven (they missed several) funds that the Ontario Liberals have created along with others available from federal benefactors. It is a most intriguing list and of course includes the Feed-in Tariff Program.
If Premier Wynne resumed her former role as Education Minister, she could give report cards on the ministers’ achievements. Minister Chiarelli will deserve an “F” for failing to keep electricity costs affordable.
It is worth noting Canada represents 1.8% of global GHG emissions. Ontario electricity generation represents about 3% of Canadian emissions, and therefore all of the emissions associated with Ontario’s energy generation account for less than a 1/2% (.50) share of Canada’s total emissions. Nevertheless, Ontario’s government thinks burdening Ontario with expensive renewable energy, invasive industrial wind turbines, and the highest electricity rates in Canada will save the planet! This rush to wind power generation has done nothing more than create economic hardship for taxpayers, ratepayers, their children and grandchildren.
The contribution to GHG reduction is mostly symbolic, but the costs to Ontario’s electricity customers and their families are real … and enormous.
February 16, 2015
The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.