McGuinty’s “Chicken or Egg” Clean Energy Strategy—The Lourie Influence
April 12, 2012 was an eventful day in the eyes of the McGuinty government with a press release at 8.45 AM announcing the appointment of fourteen (14) “members of the Ontario Clean Energy Task Force (CETF) and then minutes later at 9.21 AM another release proclaimed the “McGuinty Government Launches Clean Energy Economic Development Strategy” (CEEDS). The second release declared CEEDS would “create even more new jobs in the clean energy sector.” and CETF would “help broaden Ontario’s energy focus by facilitating collaboration within Ontario’s clean energy industry to identify export markets, marketing opportunities and approaches to identify export markets,” and said CETF will include energy experts and “lead cleantech trade missions to support domestic manufacturers by showcasing Ontario’s clean energy solution in key markets”.
All of the rhetoric was intriguing but the appointees to the CETF who will lead those offshore trade missions to “Asia, the Middle East and the United States” was something that is the key to creating exports so it is important to look at the appointees. That is examined in the following chart:
|Ontario’s Clean Energy Task Force respresenting?||Of the 14 Appointed how many are:|
|Bruce Lourie related||9|
|Investors/Developers or Beneficiaries of the Green Energy Act||8|
|Foreign Owned Companies||6|
|Related to GEEA or OSEA (see below)||5|
|On the Ontario Climate Change Advisory Panel||4|
|Tides Canada Related||4|
|Not for Profits, Environmental NGOs and Charities||4|
|Mike Crawley Related||2|
|Canadian Owned Private Companies||2|
|Ontario Taxpayer Owned Companies||1|
|Have a demonstrated expertise in the Export Market||0|
|NB: GEEA is the acronym for Green Energy Act Alliance and OSEA for Ontario Sustainable Energy Association|
Obviously many of those on the list of 14 show up in several of the categories yet in the writer’s humble opinion none of them have demonstrated an ability to generate exports or domestic jobs that reputedly flow from the billions of ratepayer dollars the McGuinty Liberal Party have deigned to throw at the renewable energy marketplace. If one actually examines the entities represented by the government appointments it is impossible to locate even one company that has actually exported anything (beyond taxpayer or ratepayer cash) that would create jobs and tax revenue for the benefit of Ontario. The fact that 9 of the individuals can in some substantial fashion be found related to Bruce Lourie is a testament to his influence. Mr. Lourie’s influence on the energy ministry and the resultant creation of the Green Energy and Economy Act speaks volumes about his ability to successfully lobby for his concepts.
Lourie’s influence goes back a couple of decades when he was a major contributor to a report titled “Degrees of Change: Steps Towards an Ontario Global Warming Strategy” prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in 1991. The report was prepared by the Ontario Global Warming Coalition (before “climate change” became the new buzz word) and presented to the NDP Government of the day led by Premier Bob Rae. Shortly after that event Maurice Strong was appointed as Ontario Hydro’s CEO and busily went about executing some of the recommendations in the report along with his ideas of how Ontario Hydro should be restructured including buying 35,000 acres of forest in Costa Rica.
That many of the recommendations contained in this report were ultimately enacted in one form or another is a testament to the influence that Lourie has exerted on past and present governments.
As can further be seen on the chart, out of the 14 members appointed to the CETF, not one came from any Ontario based company that actually has a manufacturing base in the Province with the exception of Siemens Canada. How these appointees will magically do anything to leverage Ontario’s “clean energy experience” is a complete mystery as the province has not proven to be the panacea of clean energy manufacturing that George Smitherman, when Minster of Energy or the Premier, Dalton McGuinty has promised it would be.
With electricity prices more then 100% higher today then when the Liberals came to power, with 600,000 manufacturing jobs gone (some directly caused by high electricity prices), electricity prices to rise by a further minimum of 46% in the next three years, electricity exports subsidized by Ontarians and the status of a have-not province firmly under the Liberal belt why would any jurisdiction in Asia, the Middle East or the USA believe we actually know what we are doing. Europe is moving away from renewable energy subsidization leaving Ontario shining as a beacon of government handouts and standing out as someone who arrived too late for the party.
That the McGuinty government would first announce who they appointed to the Task Force and later let us know what they would be charged with doing is indicative of how the management of the Liberal Government does everything backwards. As the Auditor General’s report highlighted; the concept and completion of a cost/benefit analysis is a step all Liberal Energy Ministers seems reluctant to undertake. The effects of this lack of proper planning will be felt for decades.
Parker Gallant, June 25, 2012