Ramping up the Rhetoric

The pro-wind environmental not-for profits (ENGO) and related charities have had a rough time of late, what with the Fraser Institute Report, the Don Dewees, University of Toronto report; “Renewable Energy just too costly”, a wind turbine fire in Goderich, removing an eagles nest, etc., etc.

The foregoing, coupled with the recently announced price increases on our electricity bills come May 1st and the ongoing inquiry on the gas plant moves, simply underscores the mess the Liberals have created in Ontario’s electricity sector. The mess can be laid at the doorstep of the ENGOs who sold the Liberals on the concepts of renewable energy’s ability to save us all from “global warming”. The ENGOs were supported by the extensive group of lobbyists acting for the 400 plus foreign and local corporate members of CanWEA lining up to take the generous FIT subsidies created by the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA).

In light of all this recent bad news the ENGOs have ramped up their efforts to stave off their failing green energy push though what appears to be an orchestrated effort to sway public opinion as the lemmings turn away from the cliff.  The Financial Post today has a letter from John Bennett, Executive Director of the Sierra Club kind of agreeing with Don Dewees (a former Director of the Sierra Club) but once again blaming nuclear cost overruns (Author’s note: caused by political interference) and also stating that “There are several thousand people doing jobs in green energy”. Just a few days ago Bob Chiarelli, the Minister of Energy told the Power Conference that green energy had “created 31,000 jobs”. So which is it?  Neither the Minister nor Mr. Bennett can point to the jobs created nor do they acknowledge how many jobs have been lost because of high electricity prices.

Another, previously unheard of individual, the Reverend Bob Oliphant, President and CEO of the Asthma Society of Canada, (ASC) has taken to writing letters to various rural newspapers using a “Dr.” designation when in reality he has a doctorate in religious studies. Twisting the truth by using false “medical” designations is not new as Gideon Forman of the Canadian Association of Physicians (CAPE) has also allowed the “Dr.” designation to be used in his role as the Executive Director. Recently Forman has ramped up his rhetoric by posting about the wonders of offshore wind which perhaps is meant to frame himself with even more qualifications?

Another group “Friends of Wind”; an offshoot of CanWEA; also ramped up their efforts as they are obviously concerned that the NDP may eventually support the Ontario Conservatives to place a moratorium on wind development.  Friends of Wind’s website recently encouraged their followers to write their MPP in order to defeat MPP Lisa Thompson’s Bill 39.  They were successful as the NDP, led by Peter Tabuns, MPP for Toronto Danforth (still acts like he is the Executive Director of Greenpeace), joined with the Liberals in the Legislature to defeat the Thompson Bill.  NDP MPP Tabuns apparently feels its bad when the Liberals move gas plants and cost taxpayers money but it is OK to continue his support of the Liberals and the GEA which is draining billions from those same pockets. Hypocrisy thy name is NDP!

Friends of Wind is also supported by the County Sustainability Group of Prince Edward County (PEC) which appears to consist of a few members led by Don Chisholm who wrote a laudatory diatribe about the reputed founder of the Friends of Wind, Jutta Splettstoesser.  Jutta is a director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) and a past CanWEA award winner. The County Sustainability Group are supporting the erection of industrial wind turbines in PEC; joining Gilead Power and the Ministry of the Environment to place those IWTs in an important bird area. Neither of these groups disclose where their money comes from or how many members they have, but this writer suspects the latter could be counted using only my remaining digits. I’m not sure about the former!

Also on the attack was David Suzuki (we are all maggots) who posted an article in Huffington Post that claims no health effects from IWTs and cites faulty and discredited studies produced by pro-wind advocates like the recent Simon Chapman report out of Austraila. He also credits the Canadian Medical Association for their report on deaths (21,000 premature) and illnesses (92,000 emergency room visits plus 620,000 visits to a doctor’s office) caused by air pollution and cites a study from the Pembina Institute claiming $300 million in health costs caused by electricity production in Alberta from burning coal.  Two of the organizations behind that report were (surprise) the ASC and CAPE.  The Oak Foundation of Geneva, Switzerland, provided the bulk of the funding for the Pembina report. NB: The Oak Foundation provided US$404K in 2012 to Pembina for “environmentally responsible tar sands development”.  The computer modeling used in the CMA and Pembina reports appears to be one developed by DSS Management Consultants (DSS).

DSS/RWDI Air Inc. brought us the 2005 DSS study for the Ministry of Energy that is the document Liberal MPPs cite continuously, but has no reference to wind or solar as a means to generate clean energy and had this caveat buried in the report.

“In actual fact, it is impossible to identify which specific deaths that occur over a given period of time are actually attributable to air pollution. Air pollution is a contributory factor in a multitude of deaths and is almost never the overriding or irrefutable single cause of death.”

Just as Suzuki cited the Chapman report which concluded that wind turbine sickness is spread by word of mouth so does OSEA and Environmental Defence. The Chapman report has been dumped on by many in the medical profession (Chapman is a sociologist) because it lacks the credibility of actual research with the people who claim health problems due to living in proximity to IWTs. That omission hasn’t stopped the ENGOs or CanWEA from making sure it gets more media attention then it deserves. When you are having a bad day I guess you want to lash out and blame others and that is exactly what we are seeing.

On the economic side it is disheartening to see John Spears of the Toronto Star picking up where Tyler Hamilton left off (former “greenie” TorStar writer) by citing statistics that claim the price of electricity is rising because of nuclear and gas costs. The Navigant report he mentions in his recent article reported that in 2012 only 17% of the Global Adjustment (GA) cost (about $1.1 billion) was caused by renewable energy (wind, solar and biomass). He fails to note non-hydro renewables only produced 3.9% (consumer cost of $300 million) of the 151.8 terawatts generated in the Province for a GA cost that is 4 times the cost of other production. Surprisingly the article was carried in the business section.

With that kind of biased reporting from the Star and the push-back from the ENGOs we will have trouble waking up Premier Wynne and her minions or convincing Andrea Horwath that Tabuns doesn’t give a damn about the little guy!

In the Liberal and NDP minds it appears rhetoric trumps economic and common sense.

Parker Gallant,

April 19, 2013



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