Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tim Hudak: Bye bye FIT and secret sweetheart Samsung deal


On Tuesday, at the Ontario Power Summit in Toronto, Tim Hudak, Ontario Progressive Conservative leader promised an Ontario Progressive Conservative government will end the “sweetheart Samsung deal.” He said also that he will end the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program. The Tory leader said the FIT program is unsustainable and is unnecessarily driving up the cost of energy for families and businesses in Ontario.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Cancelling the Samsung deal should go some way towards relieving the ever-upward pressure on Ontario residents’ hydro bills—welcome relief for families who are hard-pressed to pay their bills now, and will give small businesses some relief as well, leaving money in their hands to hire and invest more in our province.

Unfortunately, we cannot believe a thing Dalton McGuinty’s provincial government says on this file. For example, the Liberals claim 800 Green jobs were created in Sarnia, while only eight people work at the solar farm there, and one is a security guard, while another cuts the grass. In fact, the entire Liberal estimate for the thousands of new jogs their Green Energy plan will create is bogus as it ignores/underestimates, intentionally, the jobs that will be lost in the legacy industries.

McGuinty’s Green Energy plan has been pretty much a mess since its inception: signing some deals that are 20 times the going rate for power, offering farmers contracts with no capacity to hook them up to the grid and cancelling offshore wind projects to protect Liberal Cabinet ministers from the ire of their constituents.

Here, in his words, are some of the concerns that prompted Tim Hudak’s decision:

“The Samsung deal is the largest deal signed by far during McGuinty’s eight years in office. There was no competitive bidding process. There were no lobbyists registered. There was no transparency or opportunity for Ontario companies to come to the table. And to make matters even worse, we still don’t know the details of the deal and the government refuses to tell you or Ontario families just what they have committed us to.”

Moreover, Liberal Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli, MPP (Ottawa West--Nepean) said his government doesn’t know how much it would cost to get out of the Samsung deal. If you believe this, then you must also believe Dalton McGuinty’s government has been grossly incompetent for signing a $20-billion deal without an exit clause. Or perhaps this is Chiarelli way of signaling there isn’t even a signed contract.

Most Ontarians will agree with Mr. Hudak that renewable energy should be a part of Ontario’s supply mix, but a fundamentally different approach needs to be taken to integrate these new programs into our system. Surely we can develop an approach that ensures competitive procurement, contract-transparency and affordability for those who pay the bills.

And, since even Dalton McGuinty says the largest contributing factor to rising hydro prices over the next several years will be his FIT and Samsung projects, let’s get rid of them as soon as we can.

Should the Tories win the October 6 provincial election and carry through with Mr. Hudak’s promise, Ontario will be playing catch-up with a number of countries cutting back on solar subsidies throughout Europe—mainly due to their high costs to consumers and technical problems integrating these sources into existing infrastructures. Spain, Germany, Holland, Denmark and Italy have already cut back on such subsidies.

Time for similar action in Ontario



© 2011 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

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