Vote Green. Pass It On.

This is great…poor Howard….I wish I could have been there….

Posted in Electricity,Party Comparison by rkorus on October 2, 2007

From Ben Polley:

Check out today’s National Post. A 17 year old who is working on our
local Guelph campaign took on Howard Hampton head-to-head yesterday in
TO and got some good licks in. The Post must have loved it! This kid
is a star and a future Premier in the waiting. You have to meet him
to know…or just read this article.

Howard Hampton schooled on energy policy by teenager

— James Cowan, National Post 

A Sunday afternoon discussion with teenage environmentalists turned into a testy debate for Howard Hampton after the NDP leader was derided over his energy plan.

Billed as a “roundtable discussion,” the carefully coordinated event took place on the roof of a downtown co-op, with the building’s rooftop garden and Lake Ontario as a backdrop.

Mr. Hampton opened the event by reiterating his party’s promise not to build new nuclear plants if elected, a point he had emphasized during an earlier rally in Ottawa.

But the NDP leader was forced to drop his message of the day by Nick Annejohn, a 17-year-old high school student. The Guelph resident said it was “a terrible contradiction” that the NDP want to both cut electricity rates and promote energy conservation.

“It’s absurd to propose to further subsidize electricity, which will encourage increased consumption, which means your promise to close the coal plants will be impossible and just as empty as [Dalton] McGuinty’s promise in 2003,” Mr. Annejohn said.

Mr. McGuinty, the Liberal leader, promised during the last election to close the province’s coal-fired plants by 2007, but now contends it will take until 2014.
The NDP want to shutter the Nanticoke Generating Station, Ontario’s largest coal plant, by 2011. However, they have also proposed giving businesses a discount on electricity if the companies promise to stay in the province and meet other restrictions.

Mr. Hampton argued yesterday that lower electricity costs will allow companies to invest more money in energy saving technology. “If industries, businesses and even household consumers are paying these gargantuan bills, they have no money to invest in energy efficiency,” he said. “Simply driving up hydro rates will mean you have seniors on a pension who can’t pay their bill, people on a fixed income who can’t pay their bills and you’ll have hundreds of thousands of people out of work.”

But Mr. Annejohn said the NDP leader’s position defied “simple economics.”
“If electricity is cheaper, companies will use more electricity, they will automate more and they will not need to hire as many people,” he said. “If companies pay they real cost for electricity, then there will be more employment and less energy consumption.”

Mr. Annejohn later told reporters he is active supporter of the Green Party, which has proposed increasing energy rates over three years until they reflect market values.

Power rates are currently adjusted every six months to roughly reflect the cost of electricity while smoothing out any sharp hikes or drops in pricing.

After the meeting, Mr. Hampton said he welcomed the debate with Mr. Annejohn.
“Any time you get into a discussion with young people about climate change and the environment and issues like energy consumption, you’re going to get a lot of ideas,” the NDP leader said, adding, “And that’s good.”


Even the most conservative corporate interests come around when they finally understand that this will effect the bottom line more than just about anything.

Posted in Climate Change,Federal Politics,Kyoto,Right Wing Nutjobs by rkorus on October 2, 2007

Even the Canadian Council of Chief Executives is calling for absolute emission reductions AND endorses “environment taxes” e.g., our carbon tax…

Climate change top issue, CEOs declare

From Monday’s Globe and Mail

OTTAWA Canada’s top chief executive officers have reached an “unprecedented consensus” on the need to combat global warming and their obligation to do more to help.

Monday morning, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives is releasing a declaration calling climate change “the most pressing and daunting issue” today, and acknowledging the need for “aggressive” action including “absolute” emission cuts. It’s the clearest signal ever sent by a broad coalition of Canadian businesses that they embrace the fight against climate change and accept the need for emission cut targets.

Even more significant: the CEOs acknowledge a necessary part of the battle will be government intervention to raise energy prices as a means of influencing consumption. “We share the goal of slowing, stopping and reversing the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions over the shortest period of time that is reasonably achievable,” the 150 CEOs announce in a declaration obtained by The Globe and Mail.

They say they’re confident that technology investment – spurred by incentives – could help Canada become a leader in trimming emissions output. But the CEOs acknowledge that governments must step in with an emissions trading market or even something most of them don’t welcome: environment taxes.

They say even without government intervention in markets, consumer preferences are shifting toward more environmentally friendly alternatives, but market forces alone are unlikely enough to meet the challenge of climate change.”

The declaration is an attempt by the CEO group, whose companies generate more than $800-billion in revenue a year, to secure a greater role in the national debate on tackling climate change.

“It’s meant to go on the offensive in a positive way as opposed to being in a defensive position where I think the industry has been for the past [few] years,” said Thomas d’Aquino, Council of Chief Executives president.

A key goal in this public embrace of the battle against global warming is to forestall measures from current or future governments that would unduly penalize the Canadian economy.

Both Ottawa’s minority Parliament and provinces are divided over what sort of policies are best to reduce greenhouse gas output.

“Unless we pull together and get a degree of consensus in the country … Canada will continue to be mired in this highly destructive, non-productive debate that eventually will lead to – I don’t know – maybe Draconian regulations that make no sense whatsoever,” Mr. d’Aquino said.

However, there is still plenty of time to influence the direction of Canada’s climate-change abatement strategy because the Harper government is still in the process of assembling it.

After announcing that Canada could not meet the heavy emissions reduction obligations under the 1997 Kyoto treaty, the minority Harper government is trying to chart a new course to reduce greenhouse gas output over a longer period.

Once considered a global-warming skeptic, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appears more resolved to act now.

He told global leaders earlier this month that the “growing menace of climate change is one of the most important public policy challenges of our time.”

Is the author freaking kidding me? What a bunch of crap. No one in their right mind can actually think that Stephen Harper has any intention whatsoever of doing a damn thing about climate change. 

The CEO task force that drew up the declaration, co-chaired by Alcan Inc.’s Richard Evans and Suncor Energy Inc.’s Rick George, also sounds the alarm about the lack of a coherent national strategy to combat climate change, saying it’s undermined by conflict between the provinces and Ottawa.

Finally, the CEO group cautions, if real gains are to be achieved on climate change, any long-term plan must include all countries that are major emitters.

Sometimes the media can be just absolutely infuriating

Posted in School Funding,The Absurd by rkorus on October 2, 2007

They endorse the Green Party position, but refuse to mention the Green Party, so since they have limited themselves to only pick between big red or big blue, they go with big red, even though they admit it is discriminatory.

This is just stupid, and is providing disinformation to the public. The Star should be ashamed of themselves. 

A better plan for public schools – comment – A better plan for public schools

September 29, 2007

Over the past 12 years, Ontario Progressive Conservatives under the leadership of Mike Harris, Ernie Eves and John Tory have proven to be no huge fans of public education in this province.

Under former premier Harris, and to a lesser extent under Eves, the Conservatives fought endless battles with public schools by shortchanging them of money, waging war on teachers, imposing disruptive new academic programs and encouraging private schools.

Now, John Tory, in his first election as Conservative leader, has plunged Ontario into a divisive debate over public education by promising to extend government funding to all faith-based schools in the province, not just Roman Catholic schools.

Tory has framed his proposal, which might cost as much as $500 million, as a matter of fairness. How, he asks, can Jewish, Muslim, evangelical Christian and other religious schools be denied public support that Catholic schools have received since Confederation?

In one sense, he’s right. Ontario’s public education system, which funds only secular and Catholic schools, is unfair.

But it would be even more unfair to inflict additional damage on our public schools by draining money and resources away from them just as they are getting back on their feet after the years of cuts and turmoil that started in the 1990s under Harris. In effect, Tory’s push to address the historic inequity would help the estimated 53,000 students who have chosen to attend private religious schools only at the expense of the 2.1 million students in Ontario’s publicly funded schools.

And Ontario’s increasingly diverse society would not be well served in the long run by encouraging children to go to school only with others who share their own religious beliefs.

That’s why Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty and NDP Leader Howard Hampton are right to shoot down Tory’s proposal. Both convincingly argue Ontario should focus on strengthening the current public education system rather than spreading its resources even thinner by extending funding to non-Catholic religious schools.

Government funding of Catholic schools has its roots in a historical compromise. Under the terms of Confederation in 1867, educational rights of Roman Catholics in Ontario and Protestants in Quebec were given constitutional protection in the British North America Act.

For years, though, the Ontario government cut off funding for Catholic schools after Grade 10, maintaining its constitutional responsibilities applied only to earlier grades. In June 1984, then Conservative premier Bill Davis announced his intention to extend full funding to all grades, a move that upset many long-time Tory voters.

Since then, other religious groups have found support in a 1985 provincial commission that recommended independent schools receive some public funding under certain conditions, although the government quickly shelved that report. In 1999, the UN Human Rights Committee upheld a complaint that Canada was violating human rights by allowing Ontario to fund only Roman Catholic schools.

Ontario is the only province that fully funds Catholic schools and gives no money to other faith-based schools. Other provinces fall generally into two categories: those that fund no faith-based schools at all, and those that give partial or full funding to faith-based schools.

As imperfect as Ontario’s current public system is, it meets the needs of the vast majority of children, whatever their faith or cultural background. However, Tory’s proposal does highlight a critical issue Ontario will have to grapple with sooner or later.

Our demographics have changed dramatically since the 1867 Confederation compromise that guaranteed publicly funded education for Ontario’s Catholic minority. In the coming years, as other religious minorities in Ontario gain numbers and Catholics represent a smaller percentage of the population, the argument in favour of continued funding of Catholic schools will lose more and more relevancy.

But the path Tory has suggested to address this issue is wrong.

Instead, this province needs to start a process that will eventually eliminate funding for all faith-based schools, including Catholic schools, in favour of investing its limited resources in a single secular school system. In fact, whichever party forms the government on Oct. 10 should strike a blue-ribbon commission to start this inevitable, if politically sensitive, discussion with the people of Ontario.

Changing the system, when the times comes, won’t be easy.

First, taking away long-held rights is harder than granting them in the first place. It requires a constitutional amendment, which both Newfoundland and Quebec got in the 1990s. It needs the approval of the Ontario Legislature, and the authorization of the House of Commons and the Senate. Approval of other provinces is not required.

Second, any government plan that is developed must phase out funding for Catholic schools in a way that does not disrupt the current system nor the lives of the nearly 625,000 students now in the publicly funded Catholic schools.

Third, on a practical level, few politicians want to risk angering the 35 per cent of Ontarians who are Catholic by suggesting such a proposal.

For all these reasons, Ontario is not yet ready to revisit the historical deal on which it was founded – either by extending funding to all faith-based schools, or by eliminating it for every religious school.

For now, our current system, as flawed as it is, is the best alternative, given that after years of neglect by Conservative governments, we need a period of stability so the next government can build on McGuinty’s record since 2003 of rebuilding the public system.

But as Ontario becomes increasingly diverse, the day is coming when the status quo will no longer be workable. At that time, Ontarians should be ready with a single secular public education system that will welcome all students, whatever their beliefs, and will play its critical role in helping Ontario become a province known for understanding, cohesiveness, inclusiveness – and true fairness.

More shocking news from Bush and Harper

Posted in Climate Change,Kyoto,Right Wing Nutjobs,The Absurd by rkorus on October 2, 2007

Bush’s green plan ‘disappointing’ – News – Bush’s green plan ‘disappointing’

Lacks any new domestic initiatives to curb greenhouse gases, environmentalists say

September 29, 2007

Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON–U.S. President George W. Bush has called for an international fund to develop technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions, part of a White House bid to reshape the global environmental debate following the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol.

Bush, however, offered no new domestic initiatives in a speech to the world’s biggest polluters meeting here and appears to have only further isolated his government from the approach favoured by most of the rest of the world.

Bush will not endorse mandatory emission cuts and his speech yesterday was panned by many European delegates, environmentalists and even onetime allies.

“Our guiding principle is clear,” Bush said. “We must lead the world to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and we must do it in a way that does not undermine economic growth or prevent nations from delivering greater prosperity for their people.”

That has essentially been the Bush policy since he decided early in his first term that he would not commit the U.S. to the United Nations-brokered Kyoto Protocol.

“I’m interested in … effective policies,” said Bush, who used most of his speech to recite a litany of existing U.S. policies. “I want to get the job done. We’ve identified a problem, let’s go solve it together.”

Environment Minister John Baird, who represented Canada at the two-day meeting of major polluters, said he sensed a new focus and urgency to the matter on the part of a Bush administration that has been roundly accused of dragging its feet on the issue. “Our emissions are up 33 per cent above Kyoto levels and the U.S. is only up 18 per cent, so I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere by lecturing or passing judgment,” he said.

Most thought Bush’s late conversion to the climate-change debate undermined any message he sought to deliver.

Samuel Thernstrom, the communications director at the White House council on environmental quality during the first Bush term, said the president missed a chance to offer a bold new initiative.

“You were left looking for a little more here, something that would make other countries sit up and take notice and say something is happening here,” said Thernstrom, now a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

“He has disappointed before. I can’t say he hasn’t done it again.”

Philip Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust, said Bush had an opportunity here to take some decisive action, but his lack of action had turned it into a “sideshow.”

“Despite a few hopeful signs that he had changed his mind, the president stuck with the shrinking group of climate change dead-enders who are still fighting against a new, binding treaty.”

Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley), the NDP environment critic, was meeting with congressional leaders while Baird was at the U.S. meeting and he said he came away even more convinced that the Bush conference was merely an attempt by the U.S. president to appear to be doing something.

“One can be forgiven for being cynical about this,” he said. “Why Stephen Harper is giving cover to a discredited administration is beyond me. He is using Canada’s good name to try to lend some legitimacy to a process which has none.”

Daniel Weiss, director of climate strategy for the liberal Centre for American Progress, said Bush was proposing nothing but a grab bag of small strategies dependent on waving “a magic technology wand.”

With MMP I am hoping for the best, but expecting the worst

Posted in MMP Referendum by rkorus on October 2, 2007

I don’t think it has much chance of passing unfortunately. When you have the Liberals and Conservatives united against something, they’re generally going to get their way. 

Province divided, undecided over electoral reform vote: Poll – Ontario Election – Province divided, undecided over electoral reform vote: Poll

September 29, 2007

Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
Ontarians are divided and confused when it comes to the Oct. 10 referendum on electoral reform, a new poll suggests.

While more than a quarter of respondents say they support reforming the way MPPs are elected, more than a third want the system to remain the same, the poll says. Another third are undecided.

An Environics poll of 504 people conducted Sept. 21-25 found 28 per cent will choose the proposed new mixed member proportional representation system (MMP) in the referendum.

But 37 per cent plan to stick with the existing first-past-the-post system and 35 per cent are undecided as to how they will vote.

The poll, which is accurate to within 4.4 percentage points 19 times out of 20, found 47 per cent are not familiar with MMP compared with 50 per cent who are familiar with it.

According to the rules set out by the Liberal government, the referendum requires a 60 per cent “super majority” to pass and must be favoured by at least half the ballots cast in 64 of Ontario’s 107 ridings.

Under the proposed system, if passed, 90 MPPs would be elected in the traditional manner, while another 39 MPPs would come from lists of candidates provided by the parties. If a party elects fewer MPPs than its share of the popular vote indicates, candidates from its list are chosen by the party to compensate for the difference.

The Environics poll also forecast a tight race in the election.

Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals are at 39 per cent, compared with 34 per cent for Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory and 20 per cent for NDP Leader Howard Hampton. Green Party Leader Frank de Jong is at 7 per cent and 21 per cent of voters are undecided.

Although a minority Liberal government may loom, McGuinty said he has no plans to quit as leader regardless of the election outcome.

What a ridiculous “street racing” law

Posted in Street Racing,Toronto by rkorus on October 2, 2007

Street racers warned: ‘Get bus pass out’ – GTA – Street racers warned: ‘Get bus pass out’

Impound lots being cleared to make room as tough law goes into effect tomorrow, OPP says

September 29, 2007

Staff Reporter
The new street-racing law goes into effect tomorrow, and OPP Sgt. Cam Woolley predicts “shock and awe” over the tough new provincial legislation.

If a driver is caught going 50 kilometres over the speed limit, police will impound the vehicle for seven days, issue a minimum $2,000 fine and suspend the driver’s licence for seven days.

Safety officials are upbeat about the new law.

“This is going to be a good day for safety,” said Brian Patterson, president of the Ontario Safety League.

What a difference a day will make. Today, a driver caught going 160 km/h in a 100 km/h zone will receive a summons to appear in court and be on their way. At a minute past midnight, that same offence will get the car impounded immediately “and you better get your bus pass out,” Patterson said.

Woolley said police have been looking for “an immediate consequence” for some time. Police say they are hamstrung by court delays and plea bargains for reduced fines.

“With this law, you will lose your car upfront,” Woolley said. “That will have a tremendous effect.”

OPP Supt. Bill Grodzinski said he expects to see teenage street racers as well as “your 50-year-old businessmen in suits driving really expensive vehicles, sometimes with their families in them” to be affected by the law.

The new law was ushered in after several fatal street-racing crashes this summer.

Then why is it called a street racing law when it is going after people that ae obviously not street racing?

OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino points out that the new law applies to unsafe lane changes, cutting off another vehicle, tailgating and not driving to suit the conditions, such as going over the speed limit in a snowstorm.

Infractions also include “stunt” driving, such as popping wheelies or doing “doughnuts.”

There is no right of appeal in the case of a suspension or impoundment, police say.

Motorists who have no intention of street racing could be snared if they aren’t paying attention to their speed as they come off the highway.

“If a motorist is coming off the 400-series highway at 100 kilometres an hour and hits an 80 zone and then goes through a small town with a 50 zone, they will be 50 over the limit and will get their car impounded,” Woolley said.

Patterson expects at least 300 vehicles to be impounded on Thanksgiving weekend, based on previous statistics for safety enforcement.

Police won’t allow hitch-hiking on major highways, so they will escort a person to a safe place where they can call for a ride.

Impound lots are being cleared to make room for an upswing in business, Woolley said.

About 2,500 motorists were charged last year after being caught going 50 kilometres over the limit and the numbers are close to 5,000 when other infractions covered under this law are factored in, he said.

An important article about forest spraying

Posted in A Toxic World,Pesticides by rkorus on October 2, 2007

This is from David Ortin

In 1990 I wrote a Green Web Bulletin (#6) called “Opposing Forest Spraying”, giving a basic overview of forest spraying in Nova Scotia and its relationship to industrial forestry and how to fight it. (It was published in the journal Capitalism, Nature, Socialism: A Journal of Socialist Ecology, 2 (1), February, 1991.) See

This article is now being made available on the internet in the hope that it can be helpful for people who are today taking up forest spraying issues, and who may need an overview of what is at stake.

It is necessary for all of us who care about our ecology to oppose the destructiveness of industrial forestry AND to cast aside organizing illusions. There is a theoretical or ideological side to the anti-spraying struggle and a resistance side, as the “Opposing Forest Spraying” article points out.

Where I live in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, and in other areas of the province, there has been an upsurge in opposition to the use of forestry biocides in 2007 by rural people who live in areas targeted for forest spraying. New voices have come forward to take up the fight, usually out of personal necessity, in order to try and stop herbicides being dumped on woodlands in the vicinity of where they live. But public opposition to forest spraying goes back in this province to the late 1970s. We are talking about 25-30 years of rural opposition, and the experience which goes along with this, plus opposition to the spraying of Christmas trees, blueberry fields, power lines, and roadside spraying.

After moving to Nova Scotia from the West Coast in 1979 with my family, I became involved in organizing around uranium mining/exploration and forest issues, although then living in Halifax and later Truro. Our own family’s direct personal involvement in forest spraying dates back to 1984 when we moved to our rural place in Saltsprings, Pictou County, and then found out, completely out of the blue, that there was an imminent forest spraying planned right alongside of us by the Scott pulp and paper company. With the help of our new neighbours, and after much scrambling, we were able to stop this spraying. Some twenty years later, on August 15th 2005, a helicopter with spraying booms suddenly appeared fairly close to our residence and started spraying herbicides – forest poisons – into the environment. Nobody had told us about the spray site, which is on land to one side of us, under so-called forest management with Neenah Paper, formerly Kimberly Clark and before that Scott Paper. So the forest spraying issue is a persistent one for many of us and not only of theoretical interest.

The article “Opposing Forest Spraying” is somewhat dated, but while the names of two of the three multi-national pulp and paper companies in the province may have changed (and Irving, based in New Brunswick, has now entered the province as the new kid on the block, having acquired large forest holdings in Nova Scotia which it clearcuts and sprays), the picture of industrial forestry remains, generally accurate for today. (Some mainstream environmentalists have lent their voices to praising Stora-Enso in 2007 for stopping herbicide spraying in 1997. However they seem to have forgotten that a Btk forest insecticide spraying program against the black-headed budworm was conducted in the summer of 2005 on crown lands in Cape Breton under lease to Stora-Enso by government agencies.) As my article notes, because all spraying is being done “legally,” stopping the spraying will be done illegally, at the actual spray sites, through people being prepared to put their bodies on the line. Past experience in Nova Scotia shows that no government agency is going to protect human and non-human environments from pesticide contamination. If anything is going to be done, people in their own communities will have to do it themselves. All political parties within the province, including the New Democratic Party, have in the past supported forest spraying.

What has changed since 1990, is accessibility to critical information on biocides is now much more easily available to citizens via the internet. This means that those who oppose forest spraying can more rapidly get on top of the critical information and have access to the experience of other anti-spray activists. This, plus the general rise in environmental consciousness within Canadian society around the dangers of biocide use, and the in-your-face evident destructiveness of industrial forestry which can be seen everywhere, means it is much more difficult for the forest spraying fraternity to claim any moral high ground — not that they do not still try to sing the forestry job creation blues. However, on the environmental side it remains folly today, as in 1990, to believe that having the right “facts” about the herbicides or insecticides being sprayed on forests and their potential impacts on people or ecosystems will determine the outcome of any particular spraying situation. Entering “dialogue” with the sprayers and their government accomplices — the “talk and spray” ongoing scenario — remains a mug’s game. However, if we educate ourselves and then others, AND are prepared to fight on our own terms, spraying issues can becomes levers for a paradigm change.

In particular, as my article notes, forestry spraying struggles can show the following:

• Humans must adjust to Nature and we must stop trying to make the forests of the world “adjust” to demands of unlimited economic growth. From such a perspective, it is we who must come into harmony with non-sprayed natural forest ecosystems, and not the forests that must adjust to us. Commercial pulpwood forestry spokespersons argue that growing trees is essentially an agricultural activity that produces “fibre.” A plantation of softwoods is analogous to a sprayed field of corn. To the view that a living forest needs to be turned into pulpwood producing woodlots, we counterpose a Land Ethic, inspired by Aldo Leopold: “We must, in our actions, make sure that we uphold the welfare of mammals, birds, fish, insects and other animals; uphold the well being of soils and waters; and uphold the interests of the diverse varieties of trees and other plants in our forests. The extraction of trees, whether for pulp, sawlogs or Christmas trees, must uphold such a land ethic.”
From a Land Ethic perspective, all forest spraying should be banned.

• The demands of the pulp and paper industry on the forests are open-ended, that is, the demands are for continual expansion, given the commitment to growth (grow or go under) of any pulp and paper company. The three pulp and paper multinationals in Nova Scotia, with the assistance of government grants, have “modernized” and improved their daily productive capacities and hence their demand for more “fibre” from the woodlands. Thus, there has been more pulp mill pollution, more clearcutting and pesticide use, more destruction of hardwoods and wildlife habitats, more groundwater contamination, and more plantation forestry, favoring a narrow range of softwood pulp species. Bringing the growth ethic of the pulp and paper companies out in the open for discussion raises the same basic growth values for the societies in which the companies operate, and shows how their values are incompatible with an ecologically sustainable society, given a finite world.

• Chemical use in forestry reduces labour costs. This makes “sense” from a capitalist corporate viewpoint, but the human costs, e.g., possible pesticide-related cancers or other illness, and ecological costs, e.g. killing of “non-target” wildlife or contamination of groundwater, are not born by the pulp and paper company — hence the need to move beyond “private property” considerations. Ecological rights must override private, corporate, state, or crown property rights. Landowners do not have the right to do whatever they want, when their activities impact on other humans and non-human species. Land cannot be “owned.”

• The alliance of the state apparatus at the provincial and federal levels — departments of the environment, forestry, agriculture, and health — with large scale industry like the pulp and paper companies and the chemical industry: The view that it is necessary to use chemicals in forestry and of their “safety” is shared by these various groups. I have attended many community meetings in Nova Scotia organized to air concerns about some local spraying situation. All the government officials, whatever the department, sing the same tune. The lead role is normally assumed by the provincial Department of Environment If they appear at all, politicians on such occasions shift and squirm on their seats. However, when the chips are down, the politicians will not publicly oppose the pulpwood orientation of forest policy or the use of pesticides which is part of this orientation. Hence, your political representative does not “represent” you; people must rely on their own activities to bring changes in forestry policy and eliminate pesticide spraying.

• The international nature of the pulp and paper companies and their role in destroying indigenous forests around the world.

For the Earth,
David Orton

As if we needed more evidence that new nuclear is a huge mistake

Posted in Nuclear by rkorus on October 2, 2007

Sep 26, 2007

New Report Says Nuclear Not Needed in Ontario

Cutting right through debates about who can build and refurbish nuclear power plants faster, a new report finally shows that nukes are not needed to meet base load power demand in Ontario.

The Basics on Base Load, a solutions paper by the Pembina Institute shows that any combination of variable and dispatchable power plants (such as renewable energy) can be used to meet base load as long as together they provide a reliable continuous power supply for all parts of the Province.

Saying we need nuclear plants to meet base load demand in Ontario is like saying you need a mainframe computer to access the internet,” says Keith Stewart of WWF-Canada.  “It may have been the case in the past, but the next generation energy system will be leaner, greener and a lot more flexible.

The report follows the groundbreaking “Renewable is Doable” study by the Pembina Institute and WWF-Canada and finally answers the question: How is it Doable?  The report presents a suite of policy and technological tools to make energy efficiency, renewable energy and co-generation and waste-heat recycling the primary source of energy to meet base load demand in Ontario.

“We looked at other jurisdictions, we looked at Ontario’s potential, and our report shows this can be done,” says Roger Peters, Senior Technical and Policy Advisor with the Pembina Institute and primary author of the report. “More conservation and efficiency, a distributed mix of smaller renewable power sources, a smart grid network, and power storage technologies could provide a more robust and less costly method of meeting base load in Ontario.”

Electoral candidates meanwhile have been claiming that nuclear energy is needed to meet base load demand to keep the lights on and run Ontario’s industry.

 “Don’t let people tell you we can’t keep the lights on without nuclear,” says Shawn-Patrick Stensil of Greenpeace Canada.  “We have the know-how and clean energy potential to build a modern energy system founded on renewable energy.”

Base load power demand results from continuously running uses of electricity such as refrigerators, freezers, industrial motors, and other uses that do not have defined peaks in use. The Ontario Power Authority’s  (OPA) 20 year electricity plan identifies a base load gap of 85 TWh to be met with nuclear power.

The Pembina report outlines steps to reduce this gap to 48.5 TWh simply by pursuing the full potential for energy efficiency and conservation that the OPA itself has identified as cost-effective and achievable, as well as with co-generation, waste heat recycling and fuel substitution programs. Then, the report presents a series of renewable energy and smart grid policies and technologies to meet this residual power demand.

 “We are talking about maximizing the full potential of safe, clean energy and energy efficiency first,” says Cherise Burda, Ontario Policy Director with the Pembina Institute. “This is opposite to the OPA plan which maximizes nuclear capacity and then low-balls the potential for conservation and renewable energy accordingly.”


The Basics on Base Load is available for download at All Renewable is Doable publications are available at


Pembina Institute
Roger Peters, Senior Technical and Policy Advisor: 819-483-6288 ext 22
Cherise Burda, Ontario Policy Director: 416-644-1016 ext 1

Keith Stewart, Climate Change Campaign Manager, WWF-Canada
Tel: 416-489-4567 ext 7257
Cel: 416-985-5936

Greenpeace Canada
Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada

A must read on what’s really going on with Ontario power generation

Posted in Electricity,Liberal Lies,Party Comparison,The Absurd by rkorus on October 2, 2007

This is the article that Josie was writing about in the previous posts. 

Parties unplug debate on privatized power system – Ontario Election – Parties unplug debate on privatized power system

September 27, 2007

There has been no debate about public ownership and control of Ontario’s electricity system during the current election campaign. There should be. The 20-year, $60-billion Liberal power plan announced Aug. 30 costs more than all the new spending on health care and education combined.

The Ontario Electricity Coalition, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union and CUPE National stopped the sale of Hydro One in court in 2002. Then opposition leader Dalton McGuinty went on the record on Sept. 5, 2003, promising public power and an end to deregulation. Most Ontarians thought the issue of electricity privatization had gone away.

Far from it.

Throughout most of Ontario’s history, the electricity system has been almost entirely publicly owned, controlled and regulated. But cost overruns at Ontario Hydro’s nuclear power stations – actually no worse than on privately-owned nuclear power elsewhere – opened the door for the Harris Conservatives to ram through a plan to deregulate and privatize Ontario’s power system.

When the Conservatives introduced legislation for a “competitive electricity market” in November 1998, there was a huge public relations campaign promising lower rates. At the time, the Ontario Electricity Coalition asked: “How can private, deregulated electricity be cheaper when you add in profits to generators, profits to distributors, profits to retailers, dividends to investors and commissions to commodities brokers?” The answer, of course, is that it’s impossible.

The promise of lower rates in a deregulated electricity market proved to be a fraud all around the world. Electricity markets tripled rates in Alberta; in Montana they went up five times; in California, 10 times, and here in Ontario the retail market had to be closed by Ernie Eves in just six months because of outrage over skyrocketing rates.

After the 2003 election, the Liberals created the Ontario Power Authority and put Jan Carr in as CEO, a well-known proponent of electricity deregulation. Carr is on record as saying, “The OPA is only a transitional entity until a mature, competitive, electricity market can be installed.”

In a speech to the Empire Club on Aug. 9, 2004, Energy Minister Dwight Duncan declared, “All new generation will be private.”

Duncan’s declaration is significant because most of the public generating system has to be replaced over the next 20 years. That means creeping privatization as public generation is replaced with private. Legislation also forbids publicly owned Ontario Power Generation Corp. from generating green power such as wind and solar, which means that private green power will end up helping to dismantle the public power system.

Tucked inside the 4,000-page Integrated Power System Plan unveiled Aug. 30 are proposals that will increase private electricity generation and continue Ontario’s experiment with electricity deregulation.

The plan calls for the “evolution of Ontario’s electricity sector towards a workably competitive market …” that “will lead to increased competition among suppliers and lower costs.”

This is exactly the same promise made by the Harris Conservatives, that a competitive electricity market will lead to lower prices.

The Ontario Electricity Coalition has good reason to call the Liberal power plan privatization and deregulation by “stealth.”

Private producers are building new natural gas plants. So-called “smart meters” have been installed but not yet turned on. Small and medium businesses are going to get creamed when they are activated: Power will go from 5.5 cents a kw/h to 9.3 cents a kw/h, a 70 per cent increase during the 10 hours a day when they need it most.

How many people know that, after the election, electricity market rate protection for cash-strapped universities, schools, hospitals and municipalities will be eliminated?

How many people know that the Liberals have failed to protect our municipal electrical utilities from the impact of Conservative legislation to force them into debt and eventual privatization?

Ontario with its industrial base has much to fear from electricity deregulation. A volatile, deregulated electricity market is the last thing industry needs.

The debate on deregulated electricity markets in the U.S. is over. Twenty-five states are in the process of closing electricity markets and re-regulating rates.

Most of the pressure to close U.S. electricity markets came from the business community after rates skyrocketed. Manitoba and Quebec don’t have deregulated electricity markets, why do we?

Given the worldwide failures of electricity deregulation and privatization, it’s amazing that the Liberals and Conservatives haven’t changed their electricity policy one bit. Their policies commit us to a deregulated electricity market and a very expensive private power future. Public ownership, control and regulation of electricity are very important both to the economy and now more than ever to the environment. We can’t leave these critical decisions to a profit driven market.

The public needs real debate on this issue during the election.

Response to the NO MMP Campaign

Posted in MMP Referendum by rkorus on October 2, 2007

This was written by Martin Hyde:

The No MMP campaign’s distributing a pamphlet. One side has “MMP
myths and facts” and the other asks some (mis)leading questions. If
you’re interested, here’s my response…

Some answers to the No MMP campaign’s questions

The No MMP Campaign asks:

Do you want 17 fewer local ridings, covering more territory, with
less contact with your local representative?

– Sure. Why not. My local representative has invariably not been
someone I voted for or whose position on issues I agreed with. I
would like to be able to vote for a party whose principles I do agree
with so that if 3% of the rest of the province (over 100,000 people)
feel the same way, we will have someone in the legislature who
actually represents us.

Do you want 39 politicians chosen by other politicians… not you?

– I didn’t choose the politicians standing as candidates in my
riding, either. Under MMP at least I will be able to choose both a
representative from among the appointed candidates on offer in my
riding, and choose a party on the basis of the diverse lists of
candidates put forward by the parties.

Do you want closed door party deal-making, for weeks after elections,
to decide who governs the Province?

– Instead of the closed door deal making that currently occurs within
the winning party to decide whose going to govern the various
ministries despite the fact that these governments invariably win
with less than 50% of the popular vote? Yes, of course. The deal
making under MMP may actually help form governments that address some
of the concerns of the other 50% of the electorate.

Do you want tax dollars paying for 22 more politicians and their
staff at Queen’s Park?

– Well, dictatorships are cheap to run. I’d be willing to pay a
little more (and it would be very little, relatively speaking) for
representation on matters that currently don’t see the light of day.

Do you want a confusing ballot and vote counting system?

– You’re kidding, right? In the new system you vote for the local
candidate you prefer, and you vote for the party you prefer. Two
votes on one ballot: one for the candidate, another for the party.
It’s not complicated. We’re not stupid. Really.

Do you want a weaker, indecisive Ontario?

– Minority governments tend to be weak and indecisive. We get
minority governments under FPTP. The coalition governments formed in
those countries with MMP historically have not had those traits. (And
no, Italy’s system is not MMP.)

Do you want fringe parties holding the balance of power with 2 or 3

– If you mean that the couple of hundred thousand people in Ontario
those 2 or 3 seats would represent would have their concerns factored
into policy decisions, then yes, I want that. Those parties are not
going to be able to make policy decisions, and to imply that they
would be able to is just fear-mongering.

No MMP Claims: MMP will not produce higher voter turnout.
It’s difficult to see how it could result in lower turnout. Only 58%
of our population turned out in the last provincial election.

No MMP mentions a global decline in voter turnout. New Zealand, in
the four elections since bringing in MMP has posted a 5.7% decline in
voter turnout in comparison to the four elections prior to bringing
in MMP. Canada, using FPTP, has seen its voter turnout decline by
8.9% in the last four elections compared to the four preceding ones.
In other words, Canada’s FPTP system has seen voter turnout decline
by almost 33% more than New Zealand’s MMP system.

No MMP Claims: MMP will not increase diversity in the Legislature.
Any party that wants to earn votes will have to create a list with
the broadest and deepest appeal possible. If a party failed to put
women on the list, for example, it would run the risk of alienating
50% of the electorate, and would rightly deserve to lose on the basis
of stupidity, let alone ideals of fairness and equality. MMP has
unquestionably increased the diversity of New Zealand’s parliament.

No MMP Claims: MMP will not bring harmony to the Legislature.
The job of elected politicians is to advocate for the people they
represent. Sometimes this involves compromises. Other times it
involves advocacy. Dictatorships appear harmonious – they brook no
opposition. But that’s not democracy.

No MMP Claims: Our current voting system is not out of step with the
rest of the world.
Citing the four countries in which FPTP is used, and claiming that
they account for 45% of the world’s people living in democracies may
be true, but it’s disingenuous when one of those countries is India,
the second most populous country on Earth. More telling are the many
European and other democracies which use some form of proportional
representation. FPTP was designed for a world that communicated by
riders on horseback. We’ve moved beyond that.

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