I wonder how Council feels about this?!?!?
I wonder how Council feels about this?!?!?
This article was sent by a reader and I forgot to share it! Thanks thedodge!
It appears to me that McDinky is funding this to prove he has support!!
Financial Post Staff August 17, 2010 – 7:36 pm
How a tiny group of vested interests — the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association — holds sway By Parker Gallant
In the political power corridors where the Ontario government’s green energy regime is legislated, regulated, discussed, manipulated, twisted, turned and imposed on the people, one group keeps cropping up: the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA). Among other things, the OSEA claims prime responsibility for the Ontario Green Energy Act, the 2009 legislation that introduced massive subsidies to green energy and triggered multibillion-dollar spending on wind and solar power and new transmission infrastructure. OSEA’s political clout scored another victory last Friday when the Ontario government reversed itself on a plan — announced July 2 — to cut the massive subsidy price paid for small-scale solar electricity to 58¢ for each kilowatt hour from 80¢. The cut, to be imposed on 16,000 solar project applicants, would have saved $1-billion. But now, under lobbying from OSEA, Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid has reversed himself. The new price would be 64¢ but the old price of 80¢ would be paid on all projects for which applications had been received as of Aug. 13. Not only would the $1-billion savings be lost, new costs would be added since — mysteriously — the number of solar project applications had jumped to 19,000 from 16,000 since July 2. It was a tribute to the influence of OSEA, whose slogan is “Power to the People” — even if that power is priced at 80¢ a kWh. As somebody once joked, at that price you could shine a light on a solar power panel and make money. Any group that powerful deserves attention. I tracked OSEA down recently at the Ontario Energy Board, the provincial regulator charged with overseeing Ontario’s multibillion-dollar electricity system. OSEA had submitted a request to the OEB to act as an intervenor at the board’s regulatory proceedings. In this case, the OEB had established a consultation process to discuss transmission facilities to connect renewable power to the grid. The grid plan was imposed on Hydro One, the province’s transmission giant, by former energy minister George Smitherman in a directive last September. The directive, issued under new Green Energy Act powers, told Hydro One to spend $2.3-billion to connect the province’s new heavily subsidized solar and wind energy generators to the provincial power system. Even though a directive exists to expand the grid, the OEB is going through the motions, as regulator, of reviewing the plan. As part of that review, it will accept interventions from various groups, including OSEA, which applied to the regulator for “intervenor status” at the hearings, which means it wanted to receive government funding for its participation in the review. Why would OSEA get government funding to lobby on behalf of its interests? OSEA claims to speak for Ontario ratepayers. This didn’t sit well with me since I am a ratepayer who is not a member of OSEA. As an association, the OSEA website claims 1,500 members. I contacted OSEA’s executive director, Kristopher Stevens, to ask him if he would advise OEB that OSEA does not represent this particular ratepayer. He refused and instead emailed me suggesting I was against all that OSEA stood for. “If you read the line quoted in [our] submission it refers to the consumer’s [sic] interests that demanded the GEA [Green Energy Act]. As you have indicated you are not part of this group. We do not claim to speak for you and others who do not endorse the vision of a sustainable energy economy.” Mr. Stevens added that, “It is OK if you don’t like OSEA, its constituency or the valuable work we do with local people to help them make a better Ontario … the individual consumers, faith-based groups, First Nations communities, farmers, coops, educational institutions, local entrepreneurs and other Ontarian’s [sic] seeking a better way forward for the province.” I submitted a request to the OEB for the right to act as an intervenor so as to formally dispute OSEA’s right to claim “cost eligibility.” My grounds were: OSEA already gets massive funding from numerous government entities, it is effectively a lobbyist although not registered as a lobbyist, it didn’t represent ratepayers and it brought no expertise on the matter. The OEB turned me down and left OSEA’s status as is. The OEB’s ruling even deigned to suggest it was benevolent in allowing me to even present my position as I was a mere outsider unfamiliar with the Board’s rules. So if I can’t represent myself as a ratepayer, what is OSEA claiming as my representative? What does OSEA stand for? Who are the principals? How much influence do they have and where do they get their money? According to Mr. Stevens, OSEA stands for “a sustainable energy economy where every Ontarian is a conserver and generator of clean, green, sustainable energy contributing to the province’s economic, environmental and social development.” He didn’t mention that its biggest source of funding appears to be the Ontario government. Mr. Stevens, OSEA’s executive director, provided a bit of his personal history and career path in a 2008 interview with Workopolis, the online job search outfit. “I was looking around and said there is a ton of money and opportunity here and it is the right thing to do anyways.” So he went on to do his masters degree in environment studies at York University, he told Workopolis. “Within six months I was working at the Ontario Power Authority on their communication team. A year after that I am at OSEA as their communications director and last (month) I was promoted to executive director.” In this career path, Mr. Stevens followed in the footsteps of Brent Kopperson, another York University graduate and veteran of the power policy network that appears to have an iron grip on the energy policies of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government. Mr. Kopperson is a founding director of OSEA. Among other things, Mr. Kopperson is a co-founder of the Green Energy Act Alliance and a former director of the World Wind Association. He is, in other words, a wind-energy enthusiast who has played an active role in promoting wind power. OSEA claims responsibility for the creation of the basic Ontario green energy subsidy program and the Green Energy Act by working through the Green Energy Act Alliance (GEAA). Along with OSEA, the driving forces behind GEAA were a group of people who can be found today running not-for-profit or charitable organizations that accept the generosity of the Ontario taxpayers and ratepayers through grants and sponsorships from numerous ministries, Crown corporations, provincial and municipal funds, local electricity companies and each other. OSEA has received over $1.5-million from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (which distributes Ontario lottery winnings), approximately $200,000 from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (a City of Toronto fund) and money from the OPA, Ministry of Energy, Natural Resources, Environment, Aboriginal Affairs, Hydro One and many local hydro distributors. OSEA’s website also claims direct funding support from the Community Power Fund or CPF (which OSEA’s website claims it created). In other words, taxpayers are funding OSEA and providing some of the “ton of money” Mr. Stevens prophetically saw in the green energy industry. I have filed freedom-of-information requests with four government ministries and three Crown corps — although I suspect it will be months before information surfaces, if any. It is clear, though, that taxpayers are involuntarily funding OSEA to lobby the government to take actions that will cost taxpayers even more money. No financial information on OSEA is available. I presumed OSEA would claim penury circumstances when it filed its “cost eligibility” request to the OEB and would be required to provide financial information. The response from the OEB indicated that “no documents were filed by OSEA in support of its request for cost eligibility.” Further research on the OEB’s website shows OSEA has been claiming “cost eligibility” for some time. For example, it received funds to intervene in the OPA’s Integrated Power System Plan (IPSP) filed in 2007 (as directed by former Ontario energy minister Dwight Duncan). For the IPSP review, OSEA and the Pembina Institute, a national green think tank, jointly filed claims for “cost eligibility” of approximately $168,000. OSEA held its 1st Annual Community Power Conference last year. Sponsors included the Ontario Power Authority (through which the Energy Minister controls the Ontario electricity system), Ontario Aboriginal Affairs, Hydro One, Ontario Natural Resources, Toronto Hydro, Tourism Toronto and even Orangeville Hydro. The Ontario Trillium Foundation supplied OSEA with $127,300 for the conference. Private-sector sponsors are hard to find and seem limited to those profiting from this sector: law firms, equipment importers, unions, etc. The first conference attracted 450 delegates over two days with the principal guest speaker being George Smitherman, then the energy minister and now a front-runner in the race for Mayor of Toronto. The Honorary Chair of that first conference was David Suzuki — his foundation has also obtained grants from the Trillium lottery cash machine. Mr. Smitherman is listed again for the second conference coming up this November in Toronto, even though he is no longer involved in electricity issues. Is OSEA being used as a platform for Mr. Smitherman’s move to city politics? OSEA certainly loves George Smitherman. Mr. Stevens presented Mr. Smitherman with the first-ever OSEA Community Leader Award at the 2009 conference. When the World Wind Energy Conference was held in Kingston, Ont., in 2008, the Ontario Environment Minister, John Gerretsen, contributed $100,000 of Ontario tax dollars to it. Mr. Smitherman was one of the keynote speakers at that conference. No mention was made of the fact that Mr. Kopperson, a founding director of OSEA, was a director of the World Wind Energy Association. Consistent with the above cosy relationship, Mr. Smitherman turned up as the winner of the World Wind Energy Award 2009 on Jeju Island, Korea. For this, Mr. Smitherman was heartily congratulated by OSEA. As if to reinforce the connections, Mr. Smitherman, when he was energy minister, honoured Mr. Kopperson “in recognition of [his] participation in the creation of the Green Energy Act.” So that’s how Ontario electricity policymaking works. It’s a small world. It should have been no surprise, then, to see OSEA succeed in its effort to lobby the current Energy Minister, Brad Duguid, to reverse his solar power price policy six weeks after he announced it. My question, as an innocent outsider and Ontario electricity ratepayer, is this: For how long will the province’s taxpayers/ratepayers allow this relatively tiny group of vested interests to hold such sway over government policy?
Parker Gallant is a retired Canadian banker who looked at his Ontario electricity bill and didn’t like what he was seeing. Read more:
Kinda says it all!!!
We traveled up the Bruce Peninsula. Gods Country at its best. Not many proud farmers left. Barns almost completely demolished by nature and neglect. Pockets of human dignity still can be found. One of these places is in Mar.
Corner Gas in Bruce County. Food as good you can only dream of. The center of it all is Rene. We had a heavenly Lasagna, all home made. You feel at home and
at peace. This is where community meets, this is where the real stories get told this is where you can count on honesty and trust.
After Rene recognized me she began telling me the story of her encounter with the Tobacco Undercover Enforcement Agents.
A young women dressed up with a lot of make up and visibly pregnant asked for cigarettes. She was asked for her ID and then received the cigarettes. She triumphantly left the store and seconds later an officer appeared with a batch and charged Rene with selling cigarettes to a minor.
Rene was in tears and explained that they must have misread the ID.
The inspector true to his mandate did not show any mercy and charged her with a penalty of over 300 Dollars. Rene begged with him that she was hardly making a living and that this is real hard for her. The inspector did as inspector do, show no mercy.
Rene spent money to be defended in court. It would have made no difference paying the fine or defending her right. We will always lose.
When I drive by schools I see hundreds of under aged smokers enjoying their cigarettes. Where are those who want to protect us. Inspectors pick and choose as they wish.
STOP them now and make them accountable first.
Rene is only one story of many.
Go visit Rene on your way up to Tobermory she is the best
Reposted by Bruce
Check out the MInutes of Council for the TSBP August 13, 2007 , where Wake Up Stan declared his conflict!!
2. For the purposes of this Act, a member has an indirect pecuniary interest in any matter in which the council or local board, as the case may be, is concerned, if,
(a) the member or his or her nominee,
(i) is a shareholder in, or a director or senior officer of, a corporation that does not offer its securities to the public,
(ii) has a controlling interest in or is a director or senior officer of, a corporation that offers its securities to the public, or
(iii) is a member of a body,
that has a pecuniary interest in the matter; or
(b) the member is a partner of a person or is in the employment of a person or body that has a pecuniary interest in the matter. R.S.O. 1990, c. M.50, s. 2.
Interest of certain persons deemed that of member
3. For the purposes of this Act, the pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, of a parent or the spouse or any child of the member shall, if known to the member, be deemed to be also the pecuniary interest of the member. R.S.O. 1990, c. M.50, s. 3; 1999, c. 6, s. 41 (2); 2005, c. 5, s. 45 (3).
Where s. 5 does not apply
4. Section 5 does not apply to a pecuniary interest in any matter that a member may have,
(a) as a user of any public utility service supplied to the member by the municipality or local board in like manner and subject to the like conditions as are applicable in the case of persons who are not members;
(b) by reason of the member being entitled to receive on terms common to other persons any service or commodity or any subsidy, loan or other such benefit offered by the municipality or local board;
(c) by reason of the member purchasing or owning a debenture of the municipality or local board;
(d) by reason of the member having made a deposit with the municipality or local board, the whole or part of which is or may be returnable to the member in like manner as such a deposit is or may be returnable to all other electors;
(e) by reason of having an interest in any property affected by a work under the Drainage Act or by a work under a regulation made under Part XII of the Municipal Act, 2001 or Part IX of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, as the case may be, relating to local improvements;
(f) by reason of having an interest in farm lands that are exempted from taxation for certain expenditures under the Assessment Act;
(g) by reason of the member being eligible for election or appointment to fill a vacancy, office or position in the council or local board when the council or local board is empowered or required by any general or special Act to fill such vacancy, office or position;
(h) by reason only of the member being a director or senior officer of a corporation incorporated for the purpose of carrying on business for and on behalf of the municipality or local board or by reason only of the member being a member of a board, commission, or other body as an appointee of a council or local board;
(i) in respect of an allowance for attendance at meetings, or any other allowance, honorarium, remuneration, salary or benefit to which the member may be entitled by reason of being a member or as a member of a volunteer fire brigade, as the case may be;
(j) by reason of the member having a pecuniary interest which is an interest in common with electors generally; or
(k) by reason only of an interest of the member which is so remote or insignificant in its nature that it cannot reasonably be regarded as likely to influence the member. R.S.O. 1990, c. M.50, s. 4; 2002, c. 17, Sched. F, Table; 2006, c. 32, Sched. C, s. 33 (1).
By Norman Levine
Throughout the world, the second quarter was not kind to equity investors. The number of major markets with positive returns could be counted on one hand, with a few fingers left over. As worries about government finances took stage front and centre, stock markets began to rethink their previous assumptions that economies in the developed world would have a ‘V-shaped’ recovery and that vigorous government stimulus programs would rescue their economies. Richard Nixon once said, “We are all Keynesians now”, and many governments have embraced his philosophy of applying large amounts of stimulus in an attempt to restart growth and reduce unemployment (They all have chosen, in the past, to ignore the second part of his philosophy which was to reduce spending when times were good).
It didn’t work for Nixon and it isn’t working now. Unfortunately, Lord Keynes’ philosophy makes for good headlines for populist politicians aiming to look like they are doing something in the eyes of their voters, but it makes for lousy economics. As we pointed out in our commentary last quarter, there is a cost to throwing huge amounts of money around and, after seeing that all that cash has yet to generate much economic activity, governments are now starting to realize that the piper must be paid. The United States is a major exception, as President Obama (very much a populist politician) is still extremely interested in renewing his massive stimulus program despite having little evidence that much in the way of long-term results were accomplished with the first round.
In a recent Forbes article, economist Michael Pento states that the cause of the Great Depression in the 1930s and the recent Great Recession, which began in 2007, was one and the same: an overleveraged economy. The private sector and individuals in the United States are going through a necessary and painful deleveraging, resulting in slower economic activity now in return for stronger economic activity once the process is complete. The U.S. government, however, is going in the opposite direction, with gross national debt to GDP of 90% for the first time since World War II. We hope this massive amount of public debt does not crowd-out the private sector, just when its growth is needed the most.
The problems in Greece have multiplied, even though the European Union is in the process of throwing hundreds of billions of euros at the country. Greek workers refuse to change their indolent behaviour and expectations and are resorting to general strikes and refusing to let cruise ships dock at their ports, thereby destroying its tourism industry and denying the country its main source of revenue. The government has responded by raising taxes ( a doubtful measure as few pay them and so more of nothing is still nothing).
Greece, however, is not alone anymore as the economic problems in the “PIIGS” (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) continue to deteriorate and spread to other countries. Spain, too, is experiencing general strikes. Fiscal prudence is now becoming the order of the day. European governments are all pledging (to various degrees) to cut spending in order to reign in their debt. The recent UK budget is a good start. Unfortunately, they are also mostly pledging to raise taxes (once again making for good headlines but lousy economics) when cutting taxes to put more money in the hands of consumers and businesses would be a wiser course to take if economic stimulation is their goal. Here, Canada stands out as a beacon, and the results speak for themselves. Keep in mind, though, that Canada is not an economic island and we cannot help but be somewhat affected by what other countries choose to do.
Where does this leave us from an investment prospective? As indicated above, we feel the financial crisis is far from over. This will keep pressure on governments (especially the European Central Bank and the Fed in the U.S.) not to raise interest rates. The shift from stimulation to debt reduction is deflationary. Falling energy prices, high unemployment and lower commodity prices due to a slowdown in China’s economy, will limit inflation.
By Norman Levine
Reactionary government policies will create uncertainty in all markets. In response, market volatility will remain high and equity markets will have no clear direction, resulting in a wide trading range. While the economic and political outlook remains uncertain, corporate balance sheets and earnings are strong. Companies are hoarding cash. This bodes well for dividend increases and share buybacks, which should limit downside risk in equity prices.
For now, we aim to generate stable income from high quality investments. Bonds look attractive, as interest rates are likely to remain low and the yield curve is expected to continue to flatten. Quality stocks will provide secure and increasing dividend income. It is our intention to remain defensive at this time and intend to become more aggressive as the economic outlook improves.
I thought I would share this!
Didn’t Stan Hoath declare a conflick when Rhonda was hireed as a Clerk because he was related to her??????
If so then wouldn’t he have a c0nflict now????