Where’s George? Reaching into Ontarians wallets!

The “Where’s George” websitewas initially established to track American currency, however we Ontarians should set one up to follow the activities of our former Minister of Health and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, George Smitherman.
The former Energy Minister, George Smitherman is still trying to reach into our pockets in spiteof “Following his unplanned retirement from politicsas lamented on his website. He also posted his submissionto the Ontario Power Authority in respect to their current review of the FIT and MicroFIT programs under the new Minister of Energy, Chris Bentley. The submission is a double spaced 22 page ramble that uses the word “transparency” 16 times, mentions health only in the context of “clean air” and completely ignores other noise relatedhealth issues that have moved from merely anecdotal to scientific and peer reviewed. The submission includes two pie charts relating to FIT and MicroFIT applications and their respective percentage of generation. The submission by his company is full of one-sided hype expounding on the virtues of renewable energy while ignoring the economic impact to Ontarians. Much like the press releases emanating from former and current Liberal Energy Ministers it hyperboles its way with the usual words about “creating 50,000 jobs in three years”, “leading jurisdiction for renewable energy jobs and investment in North America”, “vibrant”, “incent proponents, large and small, to develop projects by offering an attractive price” etc.
Smitherman sincerely wants the largesse to continue particularly now that he has been appointed to the
Advisory Board of Inerjys Ventures, a “$1 billion renewable energy strategic investment fund and global leader in green finance.”

The OPA submission by Mr. Smitherman makes no mention of the foregoing however the Board Advisory appointment was recent (January 9,2011) and the submission to the OPA was completed on December 14, 2011 almost a month ago. I’m confident that if a conflict of interest in this matter existed Mr. Smitherman would have declared that in his submission.
Mr. Smitherman did dutifully register with the Ontario Lobbyist Registry back in June 2011 just about the time he was contracted by the Municipality of Greenstone. Greenstone want to benefit from the exploitation of the “Ring of Fire” by securing the building of a chromite processor on the outskirts of Nakina and Aroland First Nation and they hired Mr. Smitherman as their saviour believing he will convince Cliff Resources to build the refinery in their Municipality. Cliff Resources have noted that over the projected 30 year life of the contract it would cost them an extra $1 billion in electricity costs and are looking to either Manitoba or Quebec for the establishment of the processing unit. So the man most responsible for high electricity prices, that has driven jobs out of the province (Xstrada moved their refining operation to Quebec because of electricity prices) now has the task of trying to convince Cliff Resources to refine the chromite in Ontario. As the expression goes, it would appear that George has been “hoisted by his own petard”!
Smitherman however is noted as a fighter and to that end he intends to do what he can to win the battle for Greenstone. The Lobbyist Registry indicates that when he filed his company’s application last June he completed the “G.1. Government Funding” section and entered the following;
Is your client funded in whole or in part by any government?
If so, then list the government agencies:
— Province of Ontario – standard transfer funds (information pending), 0;
— Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation – Aviation Service Business Park expansion, 692,700;
— Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation – Beardmore Multipurpose Building, 655,000;
— Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation – High Hill Breakwater Development, 400,000;”
The funding that Greenstone will receive is not necessarily going to be used to pay Smitherman, however one wonders if somehow he helped the municipality chop through the red tape that is often in the way. His biocertainly makes him out to be a “walk on water” type with claims like these; “During his time in Cabinet, he was responsible for the allocation of more than $250 billion Canadian Dollars.” and “His tenure brought significantly improved access to doctors and nurses. Ontario’s Family Health Team model, which serves more than 3 million Ontarians, was pioneered during this period.”
As one would expect the cornerstone of his lobbying efforts to convince Cliff Resources to process their ore in Ontario is predicated on the Provincial Government spending lots of ratepayers money. His proposal includes a new gas generating plant at either Exton or Geraldton, a hydro development (Little Jackfish) and a major expansion of transmission lines and the grid by Hydro One. There is no costs mentioned in the proposal but the list of who will pay includes; Hydro One, OPG, the Federal Government, Provincial Infrastructure Investments, and ratepayers. Perhaps Mr. Smitherman still doesn’t understand that all of the foregoing are either funded by taxpayers or ratepayers or perhaps he just doesn’t care. At the end of the day it is difficult to see how all this spending will somehow reduce the cost of electricity for Cliff Resources and entice them to build their refinery in Ontario but maybe Smitherman has another plan that he will launch at a later date.
I think most Ontarians are familiar with Mr. Smithermans ability to spend our money but perhaps were unaware that he continues to believe that he still has access to our wallets.
Parker Gallant,
January 11, 2012   


The Energy Numbers Guy

Paraphrasing the bio of one of The Furious One’s colleagues, “I played a major role in shaping some truly horrific energy policy and then cashed in by going to the private sector”.


Sierra Club got US$484,000 from the Oak Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) and $50,000 from Tides Canada in 2010 and $700,000 in 2009. They also got $135,000 From Tides US so no wonder Bennett is worried

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