June 25, 2009
Famed environmentalist stages energetic home invasions.
So far, not many people have seen Canadian environmentalist Tom Adams‘ clever YouTube video Home Invasion David Suzuki Style. I’m hoping that together, we’re going to change that.
An independent energy and environmental consultant, Adams was for 11 years, until 2007, the highly-respected executive director of Energy Probe, a sister organization of Pollution Probe.
Adams believes so-called "green" energy decisions by governments are best made by paying attention to such old-fashioned ideas as democracy, due process and paying for the real costs of electricity.
This as opposed to turning the energy market into a giant casino where governments arbitrarily decide winners and losers among energy producers and consumers by cabinet decree, after consulting with favoured environmental groups and renewable energy industry lobbyists, who then gush support for the government’s "green" initiatives.
All this while treating taxpayers like mushrooms — covering them with manure and keeping them in the dark.
Which pretty much describes the approach of the Ontario government these days under Premier Dalton McGuinty, sadly illustrative of governments in general.
If you go to youtube.com and type in Home Invasion David Suzuki Style in the search engine, up will pop the mild-mannered Adams, warning about the potential abuse of state power when it comes to all things "green."
For months, Ontarians have been subjected to patronizing, tiresome television commercials — paid for with their taxes — featuring Suzuki lecturing clueless citizens (apparently the government’s view) on conservation.
Suzuki has been shown doing everything from conspiring with children in a tree house on how to correct the energy-wasting habits of their parents, to showing up in the basement of some guy with the mental acuity of Homer Simpson, delighted to learn how much more beer he can buy with the energy savings from getting rid of his old beer fridge.
Adams zeroes in one ad called "Habitat" — see it at powerwise.ca/features/videos — in which Suzuki sneaks into someone’s home and caulks the windows — dripping the stuff on the floor — while describing the sleeping homeowner as an energy-wasting species known as the "common draft dodger." Awakened by Suzuki, the groggy homeowner emerges from his bedroom and the two stare vacantly at each other, before Suzuki takes off, stopping briefly on the guy’s lawn to deliver more advice, whereupon the homeowner appears at the door and Suzuki scoots away.
Adams points out the problem with this ad — apparently the government’s idea of humour — is that the joke is on us.
That’s because in the original version of McGuinty’s Green Energy Act — applauded by the Suzuki Foundation and other environmental groups as "world class" — Suzuki, or anyone designated by a government bureaucrat, could, in fact, under the "Inspection, Enforcement and Penalties" section of the law, conduct surprise search and seizure raids on anyone’s home or business.
This to check out activities deemed suspicious by the government related to energy or water use.
In the case of a house raid, the government, uh, generously stipulated a search warrant would have to be obtained, presumably before grilling groggy homeowners at midnight about their electricity and water bills.
NOT A PEEP
Adams says the Suzuki Foundation and other environmental groups didn’t raise a peep of protest about these draconian, privacy-violating measures, while praising the act.
Yesterday, a spokesman for the foundation told me it didn’t focus on this aspect of the law because it knew early on McGuinty wasn’t going to go through with these "Big Brother" provisions.
OK. Two questions for McGuinty.
What efforts did his government make to inform ordinary citizens it was planning these draconian measures and how many knew as fast as the Suzuki Foundation that it was dropping them?
Adams concludes the good news is McGuinty was ultimately embarrassed into dropping the search and seizure provisions, but the bad news is what he left in the law is worse,
How bad? Type "Green Energy Act Paradox" into youtube’s search engine.
He’ll tell you.