LETTER TO EDITOR April 7, 2016
People do have a veto; it’s called a vote
The recent spate of news this week confirms the sorry state of politics in this province.
First, we have a report from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) that Ontario has sufficient electricity generating capacity for at least the next 10 years. This has now been followed by the announcement that the IESO will award contracts for an additional 600 MW of wind, 250 megawatts of solar, up to 50 megawatts of hydroelectricity and up to 30 megawatts of bioenergy in 2017.
In defending this announcement, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli claimed that adding additional capacity will save money by putting downward pressure on electricity prices. He apparently believes that squandering less money than he has in the past is the same as saving money.
Chiarelli also stated that the next round of contracts will put the emphasis on “community support”; something we’ve heard before. He probably missed Deputy Premier Deb Matthew’s recent comment on wind project approvals when she said “we are not prepared to give people a veto.”
Then we have the series of embarrassing revelations that Premier Kathleen Wynne has had a quota system for fundraising for all the cabinet ministers, and ministers who missed their target were taken behind the political woodshed for a sound thrashing. This in turn has led to ministers hosting private fundraising dinners with corporations operating in sectors they regulate.
Access to Wynne’s cabinet ministers in exchange for “donations” has been going on for years, but it’s amazing how quickly she sprinted into action when such an embarrassing detail was exposed to the light of day. This week, just days after raising $2.5 million at a $1,600-a-plate fundraising dinner, Wynne announced she has banned the private and very lucrative tete-a-tetes with ministers and corporations who paid for the privilege of such meetings.
Wynne and the ministers have been quick to claim that there were no promises made in exchange for money. Perhaps not, but as others have pointed out, all the wind developers who were awarded new energy contracts last month had made substantial donations to the governing Liberal party’s coffers.
Ontario is now on the other side of Alice’s looking glass. A dark realm presided over by the Red Queen and a gaggle of her courtiers and court jesters for the benefit of the wealthy who can afford to spend more on a single dinner plate than most of us spend in a month.
Matthews was wrong when she said the people don’t have a veto. We do; it’s called a vote on election day.
Published in The Observer: http://www.theobserver.ca/2016/04/07/people-do-have-a-veto-its-called-a-vote