Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray has ultimate responsibility for handing out renewable energy approvals (REAs) because his Wynne-government colleague Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli demands more renewable energy (principally wind and solar) be added to Ontario’s electricity grid. Mr. Murray gleefully approves projects because the Wynne government is convinced wind and solar power will halt global warming and save the planet.
Check out the interview with Murray posted on YouTube Dec. 2014 at the UN Conference in Lima, Peru. It’s 11-plus minutes of his bragging about the benefits of a “cap and trade” market, wind and solar power generation, and how Ontario will have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2015.
He even says Ontarians will save money on energy bills due to retrofitting high-rise buildings in his riding! The questions were soft, allowing Murray to blame the federal Government; claim Ontario is working on producing “net zero” electric vehicles and electrifying all the “diesel” railroads; claim that industry has told them Ontario needs a “carbon market”; that Ontario copied Germany’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) program; that we plan to “phase out” gas plants used to back up our energy generators; that Ontario has an “aggressive “conservation program”; and that the world (or perhaps just Ontario) is “dangerously close to a point of no return”.
He obviously hasn’t a clue about generation by source as he stated nuclear provides 40/50% of Ontario’s power — it’s actually north of 59% for 2013, and over 62% in 2014. Wind on the other hand came in at 3.4% and 4% respectively, considerably less than we were forced to export which was 18.3 terawatts (TWh) in 2013 and 19.1 TWh in 2014
A recent article about the steel industry and the upcoming “cap and trade” market notes, from a spokesperson: “What the steel industry wants … is a level playing field. If other provinces and jurisdictions in the U.S. and overseas don’t impose similar cap and trade systems or carbon taxes, then Ontario producers will be at a disadvantage.”
The article also noted: “Also, with steel production and global business — like cement — it’s opportune for corporations to switch production to plants they operate elsewhere where there are no carbon caps or taxes.” It is likely that more jobs in that sector will disappear and the steel for those 80 high rise buildings in Murray’s Toronto riding that he mentions in his interview, will come from another country, meaning lost jobs in Ontario.
In respect to the forest industry, MP John Rafferty recently noted “40,700 jobs in Ontario” have been lost in the forest industry and while Rafferty wasn’t pointing the finger at the Ontario Liberals, the Ontario “pre-budget consultations Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs heard from a presenter who had this to say: “We also can’t compete with other local communities, like the town of Fort Frances, because of hydro. If you go feet away, from one residence to another you go from a $550 hydro bill to a $140 hydro bill because of the way that energy has been planned and developed here in Ontario.” So 40,700 jobs lost perhaps because hydro prices “feet away” are almost 400% lower in a border state!
I got a big kick out of Murray’s use of the term “net zero” in his interview. I thought “net zero” was the mantra for Ministers Chiarelli and Sandals on settling labour contracts with power workers and teachers!
In a recent Tweet Minister Murray claimed: Glen Murray @Glen4ONTAug 31 I do not own a car. I own a bicycle. It is a state of mind. It is freedom. My fuel costs are “0”. I ride year round.”
How did he travel to Peru? Or to Califonia to speak at the State Senate earlier this year? According to Premier Wynne’s speech to the “Climate Summit of the Americas,” Murray has “been travelling a lot” but she didn’t say it was by “bicycle.”
In her speech Wynne also thanked those in attendance who had fought for those things the OLP hold dear in respect to climate change; she actually used the word “cajole” which Webster’s defines as “to deceive with soothing words of false promises”. Is that an admission on her part or simply a bad choice of a word for her speech?
So Murray, the MPP from Toronto Centre, is busy handing out REAs no matter the location in the province to save the world from “a point of no return.” No matter if those same REAs “kill, harm and harass”* species (not OLP members) including birds, bats, and turtles, and lose jobs for forestry and steel workers, among others.
It is time to examine the environmental objectives of the Ontario Liberal government and their impact, and for Minister Murray to climb down off of his bicycle!
© Parker Gallant
September 6, 2015
*The wording in permits issued by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy