LETTERS: A “lunatic leftist fringe” response to “head explosion” energy cost reduction letter

Reader takes on the thankless task of refutation

To the Expositor:

A response to the letter “Reducing electrical energy costs in Ontario” by Shane Desjardins, August 8.

As a member of the “lunatic leftist fringe” who’s head exploded on the reading of this absurdly misinformed letter, ‘Reducing electrical energy costs in Ontario,’ I cannot let this stand, but must take on the thankless task of refutation. Yes, both NDP and Conservative voters agreed on the previous Ontario Liberal government’s grave mistake of deviously embarking on the partial privatization of Ontario Hydro, or whatever it’s now called, for the sake of short-term monetary gain at the expense of the Ontario tax payer’s long-term pain. However, that is where we part company.

Doug Ford’s superficial approach, to fire the CEO and board of directors of Hydro One, has done nothing to rectify the issue of high hydro rates. In fact, this only has made matters worse, due to the exorbitant and contractually protected multi-million dollar “Golden Parachute.”

It takes little research to realize there has never been an example of privatization by a government that actually benefited its citizens. Ironically, the one good thing the Liberals did, which Doug Ford’s new Conservative government immediately and rashly cancelled, was to support the development of alternative energy, through the Green Energy Act (despite your completely erroneous opinions on the evils of renewable energy strategies). Whatever money Ford thought might be saved by delaying the necessary and eventual transition away from fossil-fuels, this is being cancelled out by the cost of complying with renewable energy contracts already in place and the continuing costs from denying the reality of human-caused climate change.

The world has become increasingly overwhelmed by extreme weather and “acts of man” while the Internet continues to be inundated with mountains of scientific evidence, laying blame for the uniqueness of this global situation at the feet of corporate mankind, primarily agriculture and fossil-fuel. The last time the Arctic was this warm was 120,000 years ago. Meanwhile, politicians and think-tanks, primarily supported by the fossil-fuel industry over the past 30 years, continue to spend billions perpetuating their denial of reality, desperately attempting to sustain their criminally obscene profits at the expense of the planet and all species of life on it.

If one wishes to find the source of high hydro rates, beyond a corrupt and incompetent bureaucracy where the “right hand does not know what the left hand is doing,” one does not have to look far. It is the ridiculously expensive Ontario nuclear power plant program. Some years ago, I worked as a script editor for Leighton & Kidd Consulting Engineers, on an “interactive laser disc and work book operator training module” for all thermo power plants in Ontario, including the Bruce, Pickering and Darlington Nuclear Power Stations. I had the opportunity to visit all of these plants and was shocked by the cavalier attitude of high ranking executives and engineers, who happily and candidly regaled me and my team with endless stories on the wasted millions of taxpayers’ money and the dangerous accidents they were able to keep secret. Ontario taxpayers, to this day, are continually lied to about how ludicrously and fraudulently expensive the nuclear power program has been: from the initial construction, the ongoing maintenance and the retro-fit. On top of that, the only solution to the escalating problem with the massive and toxic accumulation of radioactive nuclear waste is to bury it underground near the Great Lakes.

Yes, thanks to Liberal Dalton McGuinty, 15 years ago the province shut down Ontario’s various extremely polluting coal burning plants. But now, they’ve been replaced with over 30 natural gas burning plants, that present a different set of problems:

Compared with coal, burning natural gas results in roughly half the amount of CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity. Yet even half the CO2, when spread over hundreds of power plants, is too much to achieve such goals as a CO2-emission reduction of 80 percent by 2050 or 100 percent by the end of this century, in order to avoid more than 2° Celsius of global warming, more acidic oceans, inexorable sea level rise and extreme weather, among other unpleasant impacts predicted by scientists.  Under the terms of the ‘Clean Power Plan’, the most advanced natural gas burning power plants can still emit 771 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity produced. So, is natural gas a bridge to a cleaner energy future or a slightly longer route to climate catastrophe?

It was not that long ago that Ontario was proud to be on the right side of history in regards to cutting back on its carbon and methane footprint.

Shane Desjardins regards your reliance on biased information from the Fraser Institute, one only has to check Wikipedia to note this notable “Libertarian think-tank” established by Chicago School of Economics neo-Liberal architect Milton Friedman and the other Libertarian stooge of the fossil-fuel industry, Canadian economist Michael Walker, continue to be heavily funded by oil giants like ExxonMobil and billionaires like Charles and David Koch and Peter Munk. These happen to be exactly the same cabal, who over the past 30 years, have been spending billions on promoting climate change denial in the media to perpetuate, as long as possible, their ill-gotten gains. For the record, despite your confidence in the study by Bruce Pardy, ‘Cancelling Contracts: The Power of Governments to Unilaterally Alter Agreements,’ Doug Ford did not consider enacting legislation to avoid the financial blowback from firing the CEO and board at Hydro One. He paid them.

Yours truly,

Derek Stephen McPhail

Providence Bay