(February 22, 2015) MPP Shafiq Oaadri, Chair, of the Standing Committee on Justice Policy presented the “Liberal” member’s perspective to the Legislature on “The Cancellation and Relocation of the Gas Plants and Document Retention Issues” several days ago.
The report (from the Liberal members) of which 93 of the 132 pages represented the views of the Liberal members was derided by the Opposition Parties who had participated in the “Committee” hearings. The NDP focused on the scandal related to the deleted e-mail cover-up and the “privatization” of the electricity sector. Neither opposition party made reference to the “Recommendations” contained in the report!
The four recommendations related to “Energy Planning” and the six for “Integrating Energy Plans with Municipal Plans” were basically lifted from the December 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) crafted by Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy, which he labeled “Achieving Balance”!
To emphasize the foregoing here is the Committee’s first recommendation under the caption: “Energy Planning” from the report to the Legislature:
Communities across Ontario should be engaged in energy planning, which can no longer be left exclusively to provincial agencies and proponents. Regional energy plans should be mandatory and cover the whole province.
And here quotes from Minister Chiarelli’s plan, “Achieving Balance” of over a year ago:
The government and its energy agencies will reach out to local communities early and often. Regional Advisory Committees will be created across Ontario to ensure that representatives of municipalities, First Nation and Métis communities and local businesses can participate in the planning of their regions’ energy needs and …
Regional electricity needs will be integrated into applicable municipal plans and the government will enhance regional energy plans, which could include the consideration of social, environmental and economic development objectives. The government has recently launched programs to support the development of Municipal and Aboriginal Community Energy Plans.
As one will note fewer words are contained in the “Recommendation” but the inferred meaning can be construed as “identical” in terms of Premier Wynne and her MPPs desire to continue with Minister Chiarelli’s “Achieving Balance” plan.
After reading the recommendations this writer is inclined to agree with the opinions expressed by the opposition parties that the report submitted to the Legislature is nothing more than a “whitewash” or as expressed by NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh, “a cover-up of a cover-up”!
Had the Liberal members of the “Committee” actually developed some new recommendations, Minister Chiarelli might have had to come up with a new “Long-Term Energy Plan” which might demonstrate the only achievement of his plan has been to increase electricity rates more than his predecessor.
Parker Gallant is a retired bank executive and a former director of Energy Probe Research Foundation. As with all independent bloggers on this site, Parker’s views do not necessarily reflect those of Energy Probe.
My take on this report is that any “balance” achieved in the foreseeable future will remain weighted against Ontario’s electricity consumers/ ratepayers – individuals paying residential rates, in particular.