Letter to the Editor – NDP Provincial candidate Elaine MacDonald on Energy – August 19, 2011

Dear Editor,

Mid-August is bringing the political doldrums to the provincial campaign. On one hand, we see  Mark MacDonald caught between defending the Liberal record and trying to carve out a brave new path. It’s a little like trying to straddle two horses mid-stream, with comically predictable and chilly results. The use of social media is the only novel part of that campaign’s message. But what else can one do when people want change and you’re campaigning for the status quo?

Even more worthy of comment is the PC strategy of dressing up social calls by visiting MPPs as campaign announcements.  Sometimes it’s Lisa Macleod and sometimes it’s Steve Clarke but the scenario never varies: the local candidate stand solemnly beside the visiting spokesperson who reiterates the message that the premier is a tax man and green energy is bad for you. What neither the visiting MPP or the local hopeful shares is that change in the direction they are leading would result in a leaner, meaner Ontario in a costly nuclear future.

The NDP takes the long view on power and energy and offers real change. Yes, we offer relief in the short term, with immediate relief in hydro and home heating, and yes, we support green energy, but our commitment goes is deeper and farther. Our commitment to green energy isn’t a temporary stopgap measure before a renewal of nuclear development, as it is in the Liberal plan, nor is it the expensive and wasteful cancellation of the Samsung deal and an immediate ramping up of nuclear development. Our commitment is to conservation coupled with green energy development as the new source of energy is for the immediate future and the longterm too. Ontario governments since the 60’s – all of them, Conservative, Liberal and NDP have urged the populace to conserve and but none has made available the financial resources to do so. Andrea Horwath has pledged that an NDP government will. We will institute a rebate program that will make up to $5,000.00 available and allow families to cut $700.00 from heating bills.

More importantly in the long term and on the larger scale, we will open up green energy development to Ontario’s own public generating utility, Ontario Power Generation. Currently, all green energy contracts are awarded to private sector developers. We believe that energy, which is absolutely essential to our economic security and prosperity is best owned and managed by the people of the province. It takes a lot of moxie and a short memory to pretend that the wildly escalating cost of energy is the result of the Samsung deal, the Feed-In-Tariff program or green energy. One irrefutable factor was the fragmentation of the former Ontario Hydro into five separate entities, as a prelude to privatization and de-regulation of the whole system in the late 1990s by the Conservatives. Hard on the heels of the Enron fiasco, that initiative showed definitively that in a competitive generation market, the cards are stacked against any movement to efficiency and conservation. After all, who wants to sell less product?

The other steady inexorable driver of escalating cost in electricity in Ontario has been our enthusiastic embrace of nuclear power. Simply put, we can’t afford it now and we never could in the past, as our debt retirement charges continue to remind us. We can’t afford the construction and we can’t even envision a viable system for disposal or storage of the waste. If you’re still paying the bill long after you’ve parked the car, you know you should never have driven it off the lot. Presently, 50% of our power comes from nuclear. We’ll maintain that current balance but as the plants obsolesce, we’ll maintain and augment supply as necessary through an aggressive program of conservation and renewable energy.

Elaine MacDonald – Cornwall Ontario 

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

Best Western Cornwall










  1. Articulate and thoughtful. Electable?

  2. Elaine
    The production of energy is simplistic and has not changed in many years. It still follows the basic laws of thermodynamics.
    It poses the question, is our problem really the generation of electricity or is a combination of poor hydro electric practices and the distribution network?

    Look around the city and the surrounding townships. The lines are old not in the best shape, they are in some cases over grown with poles leaning creating stress on the lines. This is not uncommon through most of Ontario. If hydro infrastructure is maintained so poorly should we not first enact that entity to upgrade? It would make more sense to do that before providing them an additional supply of energy to charge customers more money for poor services. No matter how many people add to the grid if the grid is week energy will not flow

    Currently Bruce Power, a nuclear facility has the ability to compensate Toronto for all the problematic brown outs, or tentative brown outs. The problem being there is no distribution system for delivering the energy to Toronto.

    France, has 59 reactors generate 80 percent of its electricity, and has safely recycled nuclear fuel for decades. They turned to nuclear power in the 1970s to limit their dependence on foreign energy. And, from the beginning, they made recycling used fuel central to their program.
    Upon its removal from French reactors, used fuel is packed in containers and safely shipped via train and road to a facility in La Hague. There, the energy producing uranium and plutonium are removed and separated from the other waste and made into new fuel that can be used again. The entire process adds about 6 percent in costs for the French.

    Even George W wanted all these facilities moved to the US citing they could better manage the process….

  3. There are 20 transmission projects that are expected across Ontario over the next three years. The projects will supply electricity in all parts of the province. About $2.3 Billion will be spent by Hydro One on transmission and distribution projects over the next three years.

  4. Thanx willie
    That is a much needed boost to the system. It then comes down to, how will hydro still be able to pay $0.80 to people supplying the grid while maintaining an affordable rate to their clients following the upgrades?

  5. What program will be taken out? I assume because a rebate is given back to the consumer after a purchase, that money will have to be taken out of the general revenue that the taxpayer paid into, leaving less money for programs. So unless more tax is taken in from taxpayers, a program is removed or gets less pie, a defict exists to pay for these things.
    Talking about 5,000 dollars per household is alot of money as there are over 4. 5 million households in Ontario, even if only a million take advantage of it.

    Not sure why you had to throw in Enron except to scare people in some way because I do not see that there is a connection other than a year.

  6. It may be similiar to the last renovation incentive.
    No money was given as a rebate but people were allowed to claim the expenses on their taxes. I think it was called the Home Reno Tax. Mc Guinty truly devasted a lot of the elderly with the program due to a lack of transparency and promotions

  7. Good post Furtz,

    These are issues I would like to see all of our local councillors discuss. Not the unchangable options such as global warming and green energy nonsense. Eventually we will learn though it is plausible it is not possible.

    Your post kind of explains why

Leave a Reply