Energy policy pretty much cost Ontario's last premier his job, what with the rural NIMBYs hating wind turbines and and the suburban NIMBYs objecting to building gas peaker power plants where they live, instead of far away where somebody else lives.
Now a Provincial election has been called, and leader Tim Hudak is going all Scott Walker on Ontario, planning to fire 100,000 public sector workers, smash the unions and scrap green energy programs. He will give the keys to the NIMBYs, saying:
If people can have a say about a hot dog stand going in for a Canada Day celebration, shouldn't they have a say about massive industrial wind turbines in their backyard?"
If elected, the government will not proceed with any wind or solar project that has not already been approved, and approved but not connected to the grid, they would be "evaluated on a case-by-case basis." He continues:
"We need to end these expensive subsidies for the wind and solar projects that are driving our rates higher and higher still," said Conservative leader Tim Hudak. "It doesn't make any sense to add more expensive power we don't need."
Instead, he would build more nuclear plants, as if they get built without subsidy. He plans to rely on natural gas, hydro-electric power and nuclear. His policy can pretty much be summed up in this editorial cartoon:
Meanwhile, Andrea Horwath of the NDP, the party I have voted for all my life, promises to cut taxes on energy, even though these are proven to be one of the most effective ways of getting people to cut consumption.
"People are shocked when they open their electricity bills," Horwath said in Thunder Bay. "Instead of making life affordable, the Liberals decided to add an unfair tax on top of the highest electricity rates in the country," she said. "We're going to take it off and make life affordable for families."
To her credit, the NDP would continue phasing out coal, retain the feed-in tarriffs, freeze transit fares, provide home energy retrofit subsidies and invest in cycling infrastructure. "We will take money being spent on nuclear mega-schemes and invest it in comprehensive energy efficiency programs that put money into household budgets."
Kathleen Wynne, Dalton McGuinty's successor, sticks to her green guns.
"Are we going to back away from clean, renewable energy?" Wynne asked at a campaign stop in Vaughan, north of Toronto. "No, we're not going to do that."
Wynne and her predecessor weaned Ontario off coal and built enough renewable capacity that it had to export a lot of it at a loss last year. But oh, those wind turbines are so ugly.
It's a quandary that we face in a parliamentary system where you don't actually get to vote for the President or the governor, we in Canada only get to vote for the Member of Provincial Parliament or the Member of Parliament (my two representatives, Jonah Schein and Andrew Cash, shown above); the Premier or the Prime Minister are the leaders of the party that gets the most seats. These guys are smart and progressive and really terrific people who show up at everything and are honest as the day is long.
But for all the bumps along the way, it's the Liberals who have been the leaders in green energy.