Strengthen investments in renewable energy and in energy efficiency and conservation through creating new clean energy jobs and increasing prosperity through new technologies.
This “declaration” went on to state: “energy security is best achieved through investment in the cleanest available energy and through ending our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Needless to say, Ontario ratepayers are well aware this particular “declaration” had already started to unfold prior to the signing of the joint letter in Washington on June 2, 2009. Gerald Butts, one of the signatures on the joint declaration as the CEO of the WWF-Canada (World Wildlife Fund) was instrumental in the creation of the GEGEA (Green Energy and Green Economy Act) in Ontario. The Act received third reading and royal ascent on May 14, 2009 almost a month before the “joint declaration” was signed. An excellent article by Terence Corcoran of the Financial Post from five years ago noted: “Prior to the 2007 election, Butts was a McGuinty insider. After the election, he became McGuinty’s principal adviser. As one of his biographical notes describes it, Butts “was intimately involved in all of the government’s significant environmental initiatives, from the Greenbelt and Boreal Conservation plan to the coal phase-out and toxic reduction strategy.”
What followed was spelled out in the Ontario Auditor General’s press release of December 2015 disclosing the cost of renewable contracts under the GEGEA was $37 billion to the end of 2014 and would cost another $133 billion up to the end of the contracts. To add fuel to the fire Ontario’s Liberal Party, under Kathleen Wynne, on January 1, 2017 launched their “cap & trade” program joining Quebec and BC. The foregoing may have occurred because PM Justin Trudeau had announced in early October 2016, he would impose a price on carbon beginning in 2018 if any provinces didn’t have one. At that time Gerald Butts was his Principal Secretary and his puppet master. Again, as we in Ontario know, when the Ford government was elected, he cancelled Wynne’s “cap & trade” program!
In early 2017 the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change was issued and recommended a carbon tax starting at $10/ton on January 1, 2018 increasing by $10 each year to a maximum of $50 per ton. The Framework only loosely focused on achieving “net-zero” targeting only “new buildings”. Suddenly on December 11, 2020 with the country in a Covid-19 lockdown Trudeau and his new Environment Minister, Jonathon Wilkinson announced the carbon tax would be expanded to $170 ton to wean us all off of “fossil fuels”. The pretext was it was being done so Canada could meet its Paris Agreement targets.
The impact of raising the tax to that level was spelled out in a Fraser Institute report which noted: “In this study, we present an analysis using a large empirical model of the Canadian economy that indicates that the tax will have substantial negative impacts, including a 1.8% decline in Gross Domestic Product and the net loss of about 184,000 jobs, even after taking account of jobs created by new government spending and household rebates of the carbon charges. The drop in GDP works out to about $1,540 in current dollars per employed person.” The report forecasted the carbon tax of $170/ton would create additional debt of $22 billion and noted almost 50% of the job losses (78.000) would be in Ontario.
To top things off when Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland tabled her budget on April 19, 2021 it was full of spending plans aimed at supporting renewable energy and ending fossil fuel use. The budget contained $17 billion in spending plans and tax relief measures including $5 billion for the “Net Zero Accelerator” additional to the $3 billion previously committed! The $8 billion seems aimed at large emitting companies like those in the steel and cement business. Another $4.4 billion was earmarked to “retrofit” residential buildings. Also included were generous tax breaks (50% for 10 years) for companies manufacturing electric vehicles, (NB: They and the Ontario government handed Ford $590 million of our tax dollars a year ago for EV manufacturing at their Oakville plant), solar panels and presumably the world’s largest wind turbine blades at 107 metres long to a Quebec company who just received $25 million!
The Trudeau led government also on June 29, 2021 announced they were speeding up the goal to have every light duty vehicle sold by 2035 to be “zero emissions” vehicles rather than 2040. The Minister of Transport, Alghabra has already handed out $600 million of our tax dollars as rebates to those purchasing EV and now wants more!
It seems pretty clear the Strathmere Group, with the leadership of Gerald Butts in respect to this particular declaration, will brag they have been successful at achieving it. It was done with great pain to taxpayers, ratepayers, Canadian families and our business community with an emphasis on small and medium sized companies who due to the financial effects of escalating costs lost their competitiveness or moved to a more welcoming community.
What they actually accomplished was neither the creation of “clean energy jobs” or increased “prosperity”!