Why wasn’t MMG Limited’s Mining Rights Cancelled by Industry Minister Champagne?

Back on November 2, 2022, François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry announced: “the Government of Canada has ordered the divestiture of the following investments by foreign investors in Canadian critical mineral companies:

  •  Sinomine (Hong Kong) Rare Metals Resources Co., Limited is required to divest itself of its investment in Power Metals Corp.
  • Chengze Lithium International Limited is required to divest itself of its investment in Lithium Chile Inc.
  • Zangge Mining Investment (Chengdu) Co., Ltd. is required to divest itself of its investment in Ultra Lithium Inc.”

The divestitures Minister Champagne ordered were all China controlled companies. For some reason however, another Chinese controlled company; MMG Limited, wasn’t included in the order despite the fact their mining rights include both copper and zinc. Copper is considered a “critical mineral” associated with the manufacture of EV batteries and zinc appears to be an upcoming “critical mineral” based on some recent news and patents filed! Zinc based batteries reputedly offer improved intrinsic safety over lithium-ion batteries aligned with a high energy storage capability.

Hmm; was the omission of MMG Limited intentional or simply missed?

One should note the Trudeau government was certainly aware of MMG’s longstanding mining rights as pointed out in a September 19, 2021 article about the Strathmere Group. The article said: “suddenly back on August 13, 2019 Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport announced a project: “$21.5 million to complete preparatory work necessary for the first phase of construction of the Grays Bay Road and Port Project. The proposed 230-kilometre all-season road would be the first road to connect Nunavut to the rest of Canada.“ 

That project, co-incidentally, was seen as the means to cash in on the opening of the Arctic, something China had attempted to accomplish back in 2011 via a Chinese company with mining rights (MMG Limited) and whose principal shareholder was the Chinese government.  At that time MMG backed away from further plans as the cost of the roads and port made it too costly! As noted in an article in the Walrus on January 4, 2021, “The vast mineral deposits of zinc and copper near Izok Lake, in the Northwest Territories, lay glittering but ultimately untouchable“ until Garneau’s pledge. Shortly after the pledge by Garneau, Mr. G. Gao, CEO of MMG in a press release said; “On behalf of MMG, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Canadian government for their support and funding,”.

The Walrus article went on stating: “CHINA’S GROWING INTEREST in the Canadian Arctic, one of the least defended regions on earth, has been a calculated move. In 2013, de­spite not being one of the eight Arctic nations, China gained official observer status at the Arctic Council, an intergov­ernmental forum, and later declared it­self a “near­-Arctic state”—a phrase that seems to ignore the 5,000 kilometres between its northern­most point and the Arc­tic Circle.

It seems ironic Garneau’s Bill C-48 designed to halt Canadian fossil fuel exports from Canada’s west coast was passed just two months earlier before he turned around and catered to Chinese interests in obtaining critical minerals associated with EV battery manufacturing by China. With Champagne announcing the required divesture of critical mineral mining rights by those three Chinese companies one should wonder; why wasn’t MMG Limited included?  Don’t these ministers talk, or do they simply take orders from above?

MMG’s website states: “MMG’s major shareholder is China Minmetals Corporation (CMC). Founded in 1950, CMC is one of China’s major multinational state-owned enterprises. CMC’s subsidiary China Minmetals H.K. (Holdings) Limited (Minmetals HK) currently owns approximately 67.68% of the total shares of MMG, with the remaining 32.32% owned by public shareholders including global resources and investment funds.”   

MMG’s Press Release after Garneau made the announcement had this to say: 

The Izok Corridor Project includes the Izok and High Lake deposits located in Nunavut in the Canadian arctic within a geological formation known as the Slave Geological Province. Izok is a zinc/copper deposit with a Mineral Resource of 15 million tonnes at 13% zinc and 2.3% copper. The High Lake deposit, located north of Izok, has a Mineral Resource of 14 million tonnes at 3.8% zinc and 2.5% copper. The Izok Corridor Project offers the potential for significant socio-economic contributions to the Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Canadian economies.

The press release went on to note: “Project development requires construction of a 325-kilometre all-weather road, as well as a deep-water port on the Arctic Ocean to facilitate transportation of metal concentrates to overseas markets. MMG also holds several other base metal deposits and exploration tenements in this highly prospective region.

It seems obvious MMG will not finance either the road or the port and will not exploit their mining rights unless they are complete and paid for by Canadian taxpayers.  On the question of costs to complete the road and the port it is extremely difficult, nay impossible, to find factual estimates. A 2021 Government Environmental Scan however did state: “Steady growth is expected on the Territories’ construction sector as a number of new  projects are expected to begin shortly. For instance, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association is proceeding with its Grays Bay Road and Port project in Nunavut following a nearly two-year delay as a result of COVID-19 and rising construction costs. The estimated $550M project includes a 227-km all-weather road and a deep-sea port at Grays Bay on Coronation Gulf.“ One should note the Government of Canada’s “scan” suggests their estimated cost covered only 227-km of the 325-km “all-weather road” touted by MMG and it wasn’t specific on the individual costs of either the road or the port! No matter, though if all the costs are paid by the Federal and Territorial governments it will be the Canadian taxpayers who are paying for both!

If the foregoing costs of the road and the port fall on the backs of Canadian taxpayers, we should view it as the Trudeau government simply handing out our tax dollars to China so that can mine our resources, ship them to China for processing and use them to manufacture EV batteries. This may well happen despite the billions of dollars the Federal and Provincial (Ontario and Quebec) have promised to auto makers and future battery manufacturers.

When the foregoing happens, we taxpayers can sit back and repeat what our PM Trudeau said: “There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime“. The last few words of his comment might be altered to; “to turn their economy around on a few billion of Canadian taxpayer dollars

IWT Support Combined with Deforestation Alarmism by Eco-Warriors is Hypocritical

The numerous eco-warriors in Canada and elsewhere around the world continue their push to end the use of fossil fuels despite the damage now being felt in most European countries. Europe’s climbing energy poverty rate was where 36 million European people in 2020 were unable to keep their homes adequately warm during the winter. We should have no doubt winter 2023 will undoubtedly increase those numbers considerably!

Those eco-warriors are sold on the concept that wind and solar generation coupled with EV (electric vehicles) are the magic formula for full electrification. At the same time as they advocate for full electrification of transportation, they ludicrously reject the need to mine for the materials used in the manufacturing of EV batteries, solar panels and IWT (industrial wind turbines). In the latter case they frequently exhibit their “hypocrisy” as those 300-foot blades evident on most IWT are made from composites that are not recycled such as fibreglass and balsa wood. “Balsa wood’s characteristics as a light and soft, yet highly resistant wood – strong and light at the same time – make it perfect for the manufacture of cladding for cruisers, skis, bridges… and especially for wind turbine propellers.“ It seems ironic the advocates of IWT; ie: those same eco-warriors such as WWF Canada and Greenpeace, are frequently the ones demanding retention of the Amazon rain forests in South America where those balsa trees grow. The WWF declared: “there’s no way we can slow climate change without stopping the destruction of our forests, and the Amazon is our planet’s biggest rainforest.“ Greenpeace Canada went well beyond that sending a petition in October 2020 to the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly stating: “prioritize the Amazon rainforest! Canada needs to immediately halt the Canada-Mercosur free trade negotiations and speak up for Amazon protection.”

Many of the IWT in Canada and around the world are reaching their end of life and being retired or refurbished. Disposal of the old blades is having a negative impact as they are not recyclable and are piling up in landfills as the following picture shows and presumably includes balsa wood from the Amazon rainforests.

As noted above much of the balsa wood used in the fabrication of those IWT blades emanates in Amazonian Indigenous communities and makes its way to China, Denmark, etc. Those countries then manufacture those IWT blades that find their way to countries around the world whose politicians have bought the eco-warrior’s objectives to create electricity (unreliable and intermittent) from IWT.  At this juncture it is interesting to point out, Sir James Blyth of Scotland was the first to generate electricity from a wind-powered generator back in 1887.  Blyth’s invention never really caught on until recently when the eco-warriors started shouting about “global warming” sic “climate change” in recent times.

We should all ask the question of those eco-warriors and our politicians supporting their demands: 

How is this saving the world from climate change and how will it achieve your “net-zero” targets when you knowingly ignore the effects those IWT have including the generation of electricity that is both intermittent and unreliable?

The foxes are truly running the henhouse and from all appearances and actions are clearly hypocrites!

Battery Storage Would Cost Ontario Billions to Replace Natural Gas Generation on December 20, 2022

Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith should think seriously about December 20th and contemplate; if we were without natural gas generation, how would the province have avoided blackouts?  What would we need to have in place to provide the 124,792 MWh (what 4.1 million average Ontario households consume daily) our gas plants supplied on that December day?

More wind, more solar?  If he picked those two intermittent and unreliable sources, we would need a multiple of at least five times current capacity. Even then, if they only generated five times the 232 MWh, they did at Hour 3, we would have experienced a blackout in the middle of the night during a low demand hour. Natural gas generators at that hour produced 4,003 MWh (26.8% of demand).

Throughout the day grid connected wind generated about 21,000 MWh and solar 547 MWh. At peak demand, Hour 18 ending at 6 PM, wind generation neared its peak for the day generating 1,341 MWh (6.8% of demand) whereas our gas plants generated 6,033 MWh or 30.4% of peak demand. Because demand was relatively high and wind failed to generate less than an average of 900 MW per hour the market price (HOEP) averaged $82.88/MWh over the day so the 39,000 MW we sold to our neighbours in NY, Michigan and Quebec generated a reasonable price compared to days when the wind is blowing hard and the sun is shining.

If Smith said hydro, it would be sensible, however Ontario has pretty well exhausted its hydro sources near population centers so that’s not an option. We would need to open up the northern reaches of the province and spend billions of tax dollars to build roads, transmission systems and the hydro plants themselves to get the power to where its needed. Not feasible for well over a decade!

Nuclear would be a good and logical source, however the only possible new nuclear we might get in the next 10 years is a 300 MW capacity SMR (small modular reactor) now in the planning stage by OPG.

What’s left then for him to contemplate is either hydrogen or storage. The former is still in early test stages and unlikely to be scaled up for a decade or more. Despite the foregoing the push for it by many European countries is on as they view it as the solution to achieving “net-zero”.  The big concern about hydrogen is associated with possible leaks as a recent article noted: “Scientists have warned that hydrogen could be a significant “indirect” contributor to the greenhouse effect when it leaks through infrastructure and interacts with methane in the atmosphere.

One should wonder does Minister Smith have a belief “storage” is the option and if so, how much will be needed?  In the near term he seems to have somewhat recognized the fallibility of our electricity system as his Ministerial Directive of October 6, 2022 directs IESO to secure a minimum of 1,500 MW of storage generation and a maximum of 1,500 MW of natural gas generation.  On the former he had already directed IESO to negotiate a 250 MW battery storage contract with Oneida on August 27, 2022 despite the need for a cost/benefit study as noted in a earlier article.

Minister Smith had also asked IESO to prepare a plan to allow Ontario’s electricity system to be fully “decarbonized” by 2050 and in their response titled: “The Pathways to Decarbonization” they included 2,507 MW of storage capacity in 2035.

The full costs of that capacity will be in excess of $2.4 billion based on a recent well researched article suggesting battery costs are a minimum of US$700K (CA$950K) per MW of capacity. Battery storage capacity results in about only 80% of it as being available when it’s needed on the grid, but, it can deliver the rated capacity for three hours.  That means 2,507 MW of battery storage at a capital cost of $2.4 billion could deliver approximately 6,000 MWh before having to reload.

Now, if we consider the generation provided by Ontario’s natural gas plants on December 20, 2022, one notes we would need twenty-one times more battery storage to generate the almost 125,000 MWh they delivered. The capital cost would be astronomical and amount to about $50 billion. Repaid over the 10-year lifespan of the batteries (including a profit margin of 10%), it would result in adding $5.5 billion of annual costs to ratepayer bills. 

What the IESO chart suggests is natural gas capacity coupled with; “New Capacity Online by 2035” in the form of; Demand Response, Solar, Wind and new Nuclear, we will not need additional storage.  Let’s hope their forecast is accurate despite the “Disclosure” on Page 2 stating:

The information, statements and conclusions in this report are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results or circumstances to differ materially from the report’s findings. The IESO provides no guarantee, representation, or warranty, express or implied, with respect to any statement or information in this report and disclaims any liability in connection with it.”

The 2035 scenario depicted by IESO also contained the following suggesting they had some faith in part of their report: “New large hydroelectric and nuclear facilities were not selected due to lead times that extended beyond the horizon of this scenario. As firm imports from Québec would require resource development in that province, they proved to be costly and were also not selected. Finally, with 2,500 MW of battery energy-storage systems included in the base supply mix, the value of additional storage diminished, hindering its selection.

Hmm, kind of makes one wonder if the “Pathways” report is delivering what Minister Smith has in mind?

An article written by Allison Jones of the Canadian Press and dated December 26, 2022 reputedly confirmed Minister Smith’s directive to IESO to obtain the additional 1,500 MW of natural gas generation along with the “2,500 megawatts of clean technology such as energy storage”. The article went on to claim, “Smith said in an interview that it’s the largest active procurement for energy storage in North America.“ Another quote in the article came from Katherine Sparkes, IESO’s director of innovation who apparently said: 

As we look to the future and think about gas phase-out and electrification, one of the great challenges facing all energy systems in North America and around the world is: How do you address the increasing amounts of variable, renewable energy? resources and just make better use of your grid resources,” she said.

“Hybrids, storage-generator pairings, give you the ability to deal with the variability of renewable energy, meaning storing electricity when the sun isn’t shining or the wind not blowing, and then using it when you need it.” 

We ratepayers should all be troubled if the foregoing is a quote from IESO’s director of innovation! In that position she should know if the sun isn’t shining, or the wind isn’t blowing there is no energy that can be stored! 

On the other hand, if it’s a misquote by the author of the article, its what we have come to expect from the MSM reporters who seem to frequently fail to do any fact checking. The latter is evident in other parts of the article where obtuse comments are made and accepted with one of them suggesting their company will “make power plants obsolete” using EV and another suggesting “the provincial and federal governments need to fund and install bidirectional chargers in order to fully take advantage of electric vehicles.” No indication was in the article as to what sources of energy would be used to power up those EV batteries nor does the author question those making the statements.

It is readily apparent the author of the article failed to either question those interviewed or to seek other views that might challenge their claims.  Unfortunately, investigative journalism is no longer within the purview of those associated with the mainstream media.

Conclusion

Natural gas is a fossil fuel that benefits mankind in many ways and the cold December day we Ontario residents recently experienced clearly demonstrated how it is needed until something better comes along. It is self-evident the “something better” is clearly not battery storage.

Let’s turn up the heat on our Ministry of Energy and the many reporters in the media who message us with the propaganda perpetrated by those who want us to freeze in the dark!

Affordable Housing in Ontario and the Sky is Falling According to Eco-Warriors

According to the eco-warriors using 7,400 acres (0.37%) of the 2 million acres of the Greenbelt land for the creation of “affordable housing” is something that should never be allowed so about 200 of them joined together to sign a letter making their views known. While they have expressed some legitimate concerns with Bill 23 and its negative effects on “conservation authorities” they have failed to recognize the unaffordable nature of housing affecting so many Ontario families.  The CBC reported that a request by the leader of the Ontario Green Party has gone to the Government of Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner asking for an investigation as to whether the plan has broken ethics rules. Those 7,400 acres could easily accommodate well over 74,000 homes or more in local municipalities and somewhat contain climbing house prices in the province but that goes against the wishes of those out to save the planet from “climate change” or what used to be referred to by them as “global warming”! 

Many of those same eco-warriors back in the days of the McGuinty/Wynne led government(s) pushed for the creation of the Greenbelt. They were rewarded by the allocation of those 2 million acres as protected land even though large portions of it were close to communities where housing needs were growing. At the same time the “charitable” Greenbelt Foundation was created and supplied with Ontario taxpayer dollars which continues to this day. 

The Greenbelt Foundation is a registered charity and their March 31, 2021 report indicates 89.4% ($4.079 million) of their gross revenue came from the Province ($3.828 million) and the Federal government ($251K). Only $12K came via receipted charitable donations despite their spending $479K on advertising and promotion and $1,677K on compensation.

Somewhat related to the foregoing pushback by the eco-warriors saw the Minister of Energy Todd Smith, recently receive a response from IESO (independent electricity system operator) in respect to his prior directive(s) to request a plan on how the province could achieve a full “decarbonization” of the electricity system.  The minister had issued those directives even though the current electricity system in Ontario is already slightly over 92% emissions free.

The IESO responded with their December 15, 2022 Pathways to Decarbonization a 39 page report that predicts by 2050 Ontario’s capacity will be 88,000 MW (megawatts) versus what the report claims is now 42,000 MW.  We assume the latter includes all DER (distributed energy resources) such as about 2,200 MW of solar, 600 MW of IWT (industrial wind turbines) small hydro, combined heat and power plants, battery storage, electric vehicles, and consumers who reduce electricity use on demand.

The ”Pathways” to get to that 88,000 MW include some interesting turnarounds by the Premier Ford led government who killed the GEA (Green Energy Act) enacted by former Premier McGuinty but now appears determined to make life for Ontarians much worse and more expensive.  The plan put forward by IESO will mean by 2050 Ontario will be reputedly powered by the generation sources in the following chart!

IESO’s estimate of the costs are as low as $375 billion to a high of $425 billion including substantial expenditures on transmission systems.  The report estimates electricity costs would rise to $200/$215/MWh. It is important to note IESO don’t hypothesize on the individual costs of the additional 68,793 MW by source such as the 15,000 MW of hydrogen or nuclear, but they do suggest the province had better start working soon as timelines for new transmission lines and the additional 17,800 MW of nuclear will be a long-drawn-out process. We should also be pretty sure their estimate on the cost of those 15,000 MW of hydrogen is more like a guess rather then a fact based estimate.

It is also interesting IESO includes an addition of 6,000 MW of solar capacity and 17,600 MW of IWT (industrial wind turbines) capacity as part of the “decarbonization” process as both are intermittent and frequently unreliable.  IWT also have the bad habit of causing harm to humans as well as decimating birds and bats.  It is likely those new planned IWT will receive considerable pushback by many municipalities throughout the province.  The latter is a factor as municipalities now have the power to deny access.  One should wonder if the Ford government will legislate; the power to deny access for IWT, is no longer an option for municipalities in their move to decarbonize the electricity sector?

Looking further at the planned addition of IWT and solar throughout the province will also mean the loss of considerable land for both farming and nature as both energy sources require either (or both) land clearing and/or farmland reductions. 

Based on estimates of what land will be required for the additional wind and solar generation should make the eco-warriors very upset.  Land required per MW of IWT varies from 2 acres/MW to 40 acres/MW of capacity so the 17,600 MW would need 35,200 acres on the low side to as much as 704,000 acres on the high side.  The additional 6,000 MW of solar could require as little as 5 acres/MW on the low side or up to 10 acres/MW on the high side meaning as little as 30,000 acres or as much as 60,000 acres.  What the foregoing suggests is both the additional IWT and solar could easily be accommodated on the Greenbelt’s 2 million acres. 

We should wonder how those 200 eco-warriors, who signed the letter to stop “affordable housing” on the Greenbelt, would feel, if the foregoing is the eventual conclusion as to where those wind turbines and solar panels in IESO’s “decarbonization” plan are destined for?

Wouldn’t that make the Greenbelt even greener with all those carbon free generating sources?

Ontario’s Ring of Fire or a Few Smoking Embers

If one read a recent article in the Financial Post one would surmise Canada was on the cusp of becoming a super power in the mining and production of critical minerals needed in the manufacturing of EV batteries. The article’s headline claimed Canada had vaulted into second spot behind only China. No doubt, the claim was made at least partially due to the fact the Provincial government has been making noises about the wonders of the 2007 discovery of the “Ring of Fire”!  The initial reports about the discovery indicated minerals available for mining had a value of anywhere from $60 billion to a high of $117 billion and contained a wide variety of what are now considered valuable minerals for manufacturing EV batteries.

Consistent with the foregoing is the billions of dollars being handed out to Ontario auto manufacturers (switching to EV manufacturing), potential battery manufacturers, Quebec bus and battery manufacturers, etc. etc. by federal and provincial governments and even some to the auto worker’s union by Ontario. Our politicians seem to believe handing out tax dollars will somehow eliminate the ICE (internal combustion engine) as they attempt to move the world to the utopia (in their eyes) of  full electrification and achieve “net-zero” emissions while Canada becomes an EV manufacturer.

The handouts were in full bloom recently as both Premier Ford and PM Trudeau appeared at the GM plant in Ingersoll where they had each previously handed out $259 million of our tax dollars. They were there to celebrate the conversion of the CAMI plant to manufacture electric vans and the first rollout of a BrightDrop van.  Needless to say Ford mentioned the “Ring of Fire” during his short presentation.

The Ring of Fire is it a yes or is it a no?

As noted above there have been many articles about the Ring of Fire since it was first announced some 15 years ago but it’s still not clear if, or when, we will ever hear of an actual mine being opened. An article just over a month ago in the Northern Ontario Business site was headlined: “15 years after Ring of Fire discovery, mining timeline no clearer“.  The article went on to describe how field explorations were planned at a site with major nickel minerals along with an environmental assessment, a feasibility study, First Nations consultations, etc. etc. The acting CEO for the Ring of Fire Metals when asked about time frames as to when the nickel mine might open, stated they wanted to do more exploratory work but were awaiting provincial exploration permits. He stated the biggest issue related to knowing when the 200-kilometre north-south road to the Ring of Fire will be built. One issue also mentioned in the article and a key to mining, is the availability of electric generation.  The article suggests the province reputedly has “a strong desire to extend the power distribution network to the James Bay region”. We taxpayers should suspect both the road and the power distribution network will cost billions to complete and “save the planet” from climate change (sarcasm intended)!

The Ring of Fire has been touted by our politicians as a major benefit to Ontario as it is said to contain many of the “key minerals” needed to manufacture EV batteries and as a major component in making the “transportation” sector emissions free in line with the wishes of the UNIPCC and ENGO!

 Critical Minerals

As noted a key component to start the mining process is a road network and back in the Spring of this year Premier Ford announced the “Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations announced on April 14 that they will submit a Terms of Reference for the proposed Northern Road Link Environmental Assessment“ committing $1 billion tax dollars.  Further details were contained in an earlier February 7, 2022 Provincial overview of the “Ring of Fire”!

Another recent article appearing in the Sault Star suggests the U.S. may even fund development in the Ring of Fire to offset the dominance of China in the production of EV batteries.  The U.S. military has reported to have talked to some Canadian mining companies about some critical mining projects related to President Biden’s “commitment to cutting its reliance on China for the metals needed to build defence equipment and expand the electric vehicle (EV) market.“

Based on the foregoing one would assume development of the Ring of Fire is a foregone conclusion that will quickly push forward but we shouldn’t “hold our breath” expecting it will be soon.

Ring of Fire may just be smoking embers for years to come

The Globe and Mail posted an article just days ago with information from a top federal government official stating; “it’s possible no mines will be built in the region, and that there is no guarantee Ottawa will ever come forward with the roughly $1-billion in funding needed for development to proceed.” Jeff Labonté, assistant deputy minister for Natural Resources Canada suggested there is a standoff between the Feds and the Province of Ontario over funding as just one aspect. Labonté went on pointing out other obstacles including lengthy First Nations consultations, various environmental studies that take years etc.

One major incident involves the Neskantaga First Nation who have taken the province to court related to a “lack” of consultation and their continuing “boil-water” advisory which the Trudeau led government promised to fix but hasn’t done yet!  An article from November 25, 2021 in Northern Ontario Business noted Chief Christopher Moonias said the following presumably referencing Premier Ford:  “I live on the Attawapiskat River where the proposed so-called Ring of Fire is. There has not been any consultation. We will not let them cross our river. What a f—— idiot of him to say these things,”.

Another issue in the Globe article states the Marten First Nations applied for a three-and-a-half-year extension, to early 2029 for the environmental assessment, because of the impact of the pandemic. To top things off the Federal Government have failed to commit any funding to building the necessary road(s) into the Ring of Fire and match the $1 billion in funding, the Province of Ontario has committed.

Those Paying no Taxes Control the Politicians

If one looks back a few years to June 2019 the Aroland First Nation signed an MOU with Noront Resources to advance the planning process of the Ring of Fire and were promised 150,000 shares in the company, subject to the TSX approval.  Just eight months later Aroland joined with Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada and the Osgoode Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic in a request to the then Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, to seek a “regional impact assessment” which he granted.  The assessment still has not been issued so one should assume the Federal government will not approve anything until the assessment is finished!

It is ironic the two parties who joined with Aroland are both substantial charities who receive a large portion of their annual revenue from the Federal and Provincial governments while the Aroland First Nation pay no taxes and are presumably dependent on us taxpayers for their well being.

Conclusion

If the Provincial Government under Premier Ford is intent on moving forward with mining development in the “Ring of Fire”, he should take a leaf out of Premiers Smith of Alberta and Moe of Saskatchewan and fight the Federal government on the issue of governance of the province in respect to our natural resources.  Each province’s resources fall under the purview and control of the provinces so if Ford fails to fight that issue the billions of Ontario tax dollars he has handed out for development of the Ring of Fire will be seen as having been totally wasted and we will need to import those minerals from China.                                                               

Without the fight, we taxpayers will look back and see only the smoking embers or, as Johnny Cash, might say; “we fell into a burning Ring of Fire and it burned, burned, burned” our tax dollars!

Electric Vehicles Demonstrate Inept Governments via Grants, Mandates and New Taxes

Developed countries around the world are literally throwing money at trying to electrify the transportation sector (passenger cars and light trucks). Canada is no exception as at both the Federal and Provincial levels many announcements and articles have displayed how they have handed out grants to manufacturers of the vehicles, batteries to power them as well as charging stations. Depending on where you are around the world EV buyers receive a variety of incentives, including direct grants, tax breaks (no sales or VAT taxes), low-cost charging stations, etc. all  with taxpayer dollars.

Surprisingly despite all the billions of our tax dollars being handed out Canadians are not buying those EV at the same pace as the rest of the world as an article a few days ago noted: “Statistics Canada data show EVs made up one in 14 new vehicles registered in the first half of this year, compared with one in 20 a year earlier.“ The article went on to state China was responsible for 56% of global sales and for Canada to achieve the 60% sales target for 2030 they would have to grow from 55,600 to about 480,000 over six months to hit that target. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact the Canadian Automobile Association lists 80 EV models with an average sales price of $82,000 and, EV lose considerable range in our cold winters?

Two of Canada’s taxpayers smaller handouts

Lion Electric Company: Back onMarch 15, 2021 a joint announcement made by PM Trudeau and Quebec Premier Legault handed Lion Electric $100 million of our tax dollars and labelled it as an “investment”!  The grant they handed out was 54% of the cost ($185 million) of building a “battery assembly plant” in the Laurentians but labelling it as an investment seems a stretch as, if, and when, Lion Electric generate a profit we taxpayers will not be recipients of dividend payments or appreciating shareholdings.  On the latter note it is an interesting exercise to see how the shares have performed since the grant announcement.  Shares in the entity appear to have had an initial value on the NYSE of US$16.31/share on March 1, 2021, and as of November 18,2022 were valued at US$3.01 a drop of 81.54%! Interestingly Lion recently announced their third quarter 2022 results and stated their revenue was up 244% but losses increased by 316%! Quite the investment!

Taiga Motors Corporation: On July 12, 2021, the Mayor of Shawinigan and the Federal and Quebec Governments announced forgivable loans and grants to Taiga which would allow them to manufacture electrically  powered “personal watercraft, snowmobiles, electric motorization systems and battery packs.“ The collective amount was $50 million (40%) towards the $125.17 million cost of the new plant. Car and Driver tested one of the Taiga snowmobile models in March 2022 and while they didn’t disparage it, they suggested you better not stray too far from your base due to their limited miles range (62 miles for the one tested).  The price was also rather startling with the “Nomad” priced at US$19,490 whereas a Ski-Doo or Polaris model would be in the US$10/12,000 range with much higher mileage. Taiga’s initial share price after their launch in April 2021 was $13.25 and it now sits at $4.00 meaning it has dropped 70% and if one looks at their year over year results their losses as of the 9 months ended September 30th were down from $88.8 million to $35.9 million. Can we really trust politicians to create wealth using our tax dollars to electrify our transportation and other sectors?

As noted, the foregoing handouts were small ones, but we Ontarians have been subjected to handouts by the Ford and Trudeau led governments totalling in the billions aimed at the same goal of electrifying the transportation sector (automobiles and light trucks). They handed out $1 billion to Stellantis, $590 million to Ford $518 million to GM and $260 million to Honda meaning $2.368 billion of our tax dollars were committed to ensure we retain some of the jobs we have had for decades in the auto sector. The province and the feds have also been trying to attract battery manufacturers and will supply LG Energy with $1 billion of our tax dollars as well as an unknown amount to Umicore, a Belgian global metals refiner who will build a battery materials facility.

In addition to the foregoing taxpayer grants, the Federal Government also have the ”Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program aimed at handing out $680 million to entice people and companies to build “charging and refueling stations”. They apparently see this as “one of the key barriers to ZEV adoption“ but we taxpayers should suspect its related to the average sale price of those EV as noted above and our concern about them losing range during our cold winter days.

What’s happening elsewhere? 

Norway: A recent article; “Norway Became an EV Paradise, Now It’s Imposing a Weight Tax and Bringing  Back the VAT“ noted upcoming legislation in Norway will rescind most of the favourable benefits that have made it the country with the highest EV sales per capita. The new legislation will remove the many perks granted to EV buyers displayed in a graft posted in an article a few months ago. The VAT in Norway alone will add 25% to the purchase price of an EV and the weight tax another 2/3%.  As that occurs, we would expect, the 78 % EV sales have so far represented in 2022, will fall, as they will cost considerably more than a new ICE vehicle once those new taxes become legislated.

United Kingdom:  It appears the UK has recently become  concerned  the net zero target may well lead to “five fuel taxes: fuel duty, vehicle excise duty, landfill tax, the carbon price floor and the emission trading schemedrying up according to an article in the Financial Times!  As a result of that concern a “tax vacuum” will be created during a time when the country is running significant deficits so, as a start, they plan to charge EV owners with the vehicle excise duty.  Grants being handed out are also on a downward trail as purchase grants for new EV have been reduced from £5,000. to £1,500.

Targeted EV sales in Canada

The 2022 Federal budget expanded the push to electrify the transportation sector in Canada requiring 20% of all vehicles sold in Canada to be EV by 2026, 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2035. In addition, the budget extended the $5,000 per vehicle grant to help achieve those targets. Annual new auto sales in Canada vary between 1.5 million to 2 million so by 2035 at the low end $7.5 billion of our tax dollars will possibly wind up supporting those “mandated” sales. The other issue relates to lost sales taxes etc. from ICE vehicles as outlined in a January 17, 2022 article, published by the CPA (Canadian Professional Accountants), noting: “The federal government collects nearly $6 billion per year in gas and diesel excise taxes, not including the GST or HST on those purchases. Add in provincial fuel taxes and over $16 billion in annual government revenue that will disappear once Canadian drivers are weaned off the gas pump. It’s enough to rip a large hole in public finances.“ It is worth pointing out the CPA article was using 2021 data and the price of both diesel and gasoline have climbed considerably since then meaning the revenue lost added to government grants will increase taxpayer costs to over $30 billion annually.

Conclusion:

Looking only at the Trudeau led government’s plan to electrify the transportation sector in Canada demonstrates their inept ability to govern the country responsibly due to their insane belief Canada’s emissions reduction from the transportation sector will impact the climate. Not a chance!

Hydro One Signals Full Electrification May Be Just Around the Corner?

Hydro One Survey

Hydro One is surveying their customers throughout the province and the “survey questions” suggest they are trying to determine where grid upgrades will be required as the push by our politicians for “full electrification” gains speed.  The survey asks questions such as, are you planning on purchasing an EV or converting your gas or furnace oil heating system to electric in certain time periods. They require the supply of both your e-mail address as well as your area code which presumably will signal them as to where grid upgrades may be required.

When you purchase that EV you will need a 200-amp service electrical panel for the charger meaning the wires and associated transformers bringing electricity to our homes will need upgrading as well as your homes electrical panel and the latter will cost you a few thousand dollars. Upgrades will be required in places where several homes have purchased EV or added electricity demand to the system.

It seems as if Hydro One is planning for an upcoming future demand increase which will allow them to tell the OEB and the Ontario Ministry of Energy the costs associated with the “electrification” process.  In other words, they are reviewing cost/benefit attributes of the conversions mandated by our politicians because “fossil fuels”, in the politician’s minds, are evil and cause global warming!

One would have thought those shining lights we elected Federally and Provincially would have done a cost/benefit study before they considered “full electrification” but perhaps that is too much for us voting minions to expect. 

While the Hydro One survey appears directed to just their 1.5 million distribution customers, we should suspect they are also seeking input from all electric distribution companies such as Toronto Hydro, Hydro Ottawa, etc. etc. as electrification will also substantially impact their transmission business.  

It is worth noting the following from Hydro One’s 2021 annual financial statement reflecting their impact on ALL electricity ratepayers in the province due to their transmission monopoly:  “Hydro One Limited, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is Ontario’s largest electricity transmission and distribution provider with approximately 1.5 million valued customers, approximately $30.4 billion in assets as at December 31, 2021, and annual revenues in 2021 of approximately $7.2 billion.“  Net income (before financing charges and taxes) from Hydro One’s transmission business was $942 million and exceeded distribution net income by $248 million or 24.8%.

Hydro One owns and operates over 30,000 KM of transmission lines (98% of all transmission lines) in the province and delivers the power to 43 local distribution companies (LDC) and 88 large, connected companies.  They also operate over 300 transmission stations and 25 cross border connections.

Full electrification will entail billions of dollars of spending for upgrades to those transmission stations and transmission lines should the Provincial and Federal governments continue the push for electrification.

The spending of billions by Hydro One to upgrade Hydro One’s transmission system coupled with the billions spent by the LDC to upgrade their delivery of electricity to your household or business will obviously drive up the cost of each kWh (kilowatt) you consume.  At the same time try to imagine the costs of additional “emission free” generation NB: that will need to be added to the grid. The cost of storage (battery and pumped hydro, etc.) more wind and solar generation and perhaps new nuclear and electricity rates will climb even higher.

 All one has to do is look at the UK and Europe where spiraling inflation has been mainly driven by rising energy costs and taxpayer subsidies have become the norm in an attempt to keep household residents from freezing in the dark and businesses from closing while various countries run up huge annual fiscal deficits.

We should expect the same here in Ontario and the rest of Canada should our politicians continue on the path to save the world from “climate change”!

Hydro One’s survey should signal our politicians where we may be heading but perhaps that is too much common sense for them to appreciate.

NB: The following is from a recent exchange with the Ontario Ministry of Energy with my observation:  NREL, a national laboratory of the US Department of Energy, in their study stated, “Widespread electrification increases 2050 U.S. electricity consumption by 20% and 38% in the medium and high adoption scenarios, respectively and relative to the reference.” For Ontario let’s focus on the “medium scenario!  At the end of 2021 IESO reported total grid connected capacity in Ontario was 38,079 MW. If we assume Pickering Nuclear gets approval to extend its life that reflects the need to add 7,600 MW of NEW capacity (20% of 2021 capacity) or 10,600 MW (28%) should Pickering renewal not receive the green light! Please note the study states “consumption” which means both wind and solar plus storage would need to be at least triple that capacity level!

IESO Creates and Promotes Hybrid Electricity Generation-What could go wrong?

Who knew?

IESO recently claimed by simply combining very old technology mankind would create hybrid electricity generation! 

The foregoing was stated recently by IESO in their September report “Enabling Foundational Hybrid Facility Models in the IESO-Administered Markets ”.  One example cited by IESO in the 46 page report, says combining batteries (invented in 1800 by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta) with electricity generated by wind turbines (created by Professor James Blyth in 1887) is “hybrid” generation.  The following from the report states: “Expiring wind and solar contracts along with declining technology costs for battery storage is expected to drive hybrid facility development over the next decade.”

It appears to be similar to mating horses and donkeys to create mules.  Considering how long batteries and wind generated electricity have been around perhaps IESO should name this new “hybrid” they claim now exists in Ontario?  The words “double-dealing” and or “chicanery” added to wind/battery or solar/battery would be a good descriptive for these hybrids!   

The foregoing implies IWT (industrial wind turbines) and solar with FIT (feed in tariff) contacts brought to us in Ontario by the McGuinty/Wynne governments will be renewed as long as battery storage is added by the owners. One should wonder if the Ontario Minister of Energy, Todd Smith has been played by Mark Carney, Vice Chair of Brookfield? A Brookfield subsidiary recently proposed a $300 million 161 MW (megawatts) battery storage unit that will reputedly contain four hours (644 MWh) of dispatchable energy and those batteries will be charged in the middle of the night and dispatched during the day when demand is high.  The benefit to Brookfield will translate to selling the power when the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy prices) market price is high while downloading it when prices are low. 

What looks to be somewhat confusing about this “hybrid” issue is the Energy Minister’s letter of August 23, 2022 wherein he states:  “I am pleased to see that through the first Medium-Term RFP (MT1 RFP) our government’s approach of competitive procurements has secured supply at a cost about 30 per cent lower than previous contracts.” It one believes he was referencing IWT contracts which are paid $135/MWh that would reduce the price for grid accepted wind to $94.50/MWh without including what we are also paying for “curtailed” generation of $120/MWh! 

Interestingly enough it appears the “30 per cent lower” quote from the Ministry letter is related to comments in the 46 page September 2022 report from IESO titled:  “Enabling Foundational Hybrid Facility Models in the IESO-Administered Markets”! The IESO report has the following two sentences: “Post-market renewal, there will be a locational marginal price (LMP) for the storage injecting resource and another LMP for the storage withdrawing resource. The LMP values may be different for the two (2) resources (e.g., $20/MW for the storage withdrawing resource and $21/MW for the storage injecting resource).”

The question becomes; had IESO negotiated the additional payment(s) with the IWT owners and made the Minister aware of the agreement reached before he penned his letter as it infers; due to the date of his letter proceeding the IESO report by one month?

Despite the foregoing question it seems interesting that the two additional payments added to the 30% reduction would bring the total cost of wind generation to $135.50 ($94.50+$20.00+21.00=$135.50).  The other question is whether the IWT owners can pick and choose when to sell their stored energy and if they will be allowed to choose hours when the HOEP market price is higher than the guaranteed price?

Another very recent announcement from Capital Power in Windsor suggests Ontario’s natural gas fired plants are keen to get in on the “battery” storage action as the September 21, 2022 article in the CBC suggests.  Capital Power is proposing to add a 40 MW battery storage unit particularly as IESO has forecast “demand in southwestern Ontario as a whole is expected to double over five years to about 2,000 megawatts”.  The article highlights a report from Power Advisory which amusingly recommends the City of Windsor ironically investigate “importing power from Michigan” whom the EIA (US Energy Information System) note in 2021 got their largest share (32%) of electricity from coal generation.

One of the principal reasons for the IESO projected demand increase is; “the announcement of the $4.9-billion Stellantis-LG Energy Solution electric vehicle battery plant, a massive facility slated to open in 2024.” The press releases from the Provincial and the Federal Governments don’t disclose how much taxpayers will be providing as the Federal Press Release notes: “Details of this agreement are subject to commercial confidentiality and cannot be disclosed at this time”.  Needless to say we taxpayers should expect government grants will be several hundred million of our tax dollars! Both press releases tout the wonders of converting from manufacturing ICE to EV automobiles in line with PM Trudeau and his minions seeking to achieve his target of “100% zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales by 2035”. The only announcement about grants was from the City of Windsor who have committed $68 million with the help of a $45 million loan from Infrastructure Ontario an Ontario taxpayer owned entity.

As IESO and the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments here in Canada continue the push for batteries to be manufactured in Ontario and to also provide electricity it is interesting to note California has similar targets as those proposed by our various government bodies. Very recently PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) experienced yet another major battery fire at a large battery storage unit (182.5 MW) and that plant has now been shut down indefinitely!  

From the above summary of ongoing events here in Ontario and elsewhere it seems, in the minds of our bureaucrats and politicians charged with running our energy system (whose objectives should be reliable power), their view is:

“everything old is new again”!

Perhaps Voters Should Demand IQ Tests for Anyone Running for Public Office

Numerous events recently have caused yours truly, and hopefully many more, to wonder; are we are being led by elected politicians, federally, provincially and municipally with IQs (intelligent quotients) that would easily qualify them for a place in the “Dumb & Dumber” cast of the movie of the same name!  Those politicians take it upon themselves to direct bureaucrats; responsible for managing public services (entities paid with our tax dollars), to do what they are told. The bureaucrats do as they are told as they are well paid with lots of perks so they don’t “pushback” no matter the stupidity of the directives!

Let’s have a look at a few issues related to mankind’s need for “energy” firmly under control of politicians. Energy, until recently, has caused the world to become a better place; reducing poverty, climate related deaths, increasing lifespans, and damage from weather anomalies i.e.; not “climate change”!

Ottawa is a Great Example of Municipal Idiocy

With municipal elections just around the corner, Ottawa’s Mayoralty Candidates are having “eco-debates”!  The candidates include Bob Chiarelli a former mayor of Ottawa and when he was Ontario Minister of Energy is famous for suggesting the $1 billion cost associated with moving the planned Oakville gas plant was the cost of a Tim Horton’s coffee. It should come as no surprise the debates relate to the city councils approved; “Energy Evolution”, an 86 page document forecast to cost $57.4 billion and will reputedly transition Ottawa to a “net-zero” city by 2050. With a population of about 1.1 million that represents a cost per resident of about $52K or more than $200K for a family of four. An earlier article about Ottawa’s plan to get to “net-zero by 2050” strongly suggests it was written by Pollution Probe a group dedicated to convincing us all to abandon our use of fossil fuels to achieve the COP-26 targets. As if to exacerbate the push to spend those billions of dollars the City of Ottawa contracted Innovative Research Group to conduct a survey* that seems destined to produce favourable results for the Ottawa politicians due to the skewing of the questions. Perhaps Pollution Probe also had a hand in generating those survey questions?  It would be great if those municipal politicians running for mayor or council took the time to look at what has happened in the UK or Germany where energy prices have skyrocketed due to their push to “green” the electricity sector. This winter they plan to control the temperature households set to heat their homes! It seems apparent research isn’t something those seeking reelection or election to the City of Ottawa have bothered to do!

Province of Ontario Demonstrates Provincial Idiocy

From all appearances it seems almost conclusive the Premier Ford led government is simply carrying on with what Ontario experienced under the McGuinty/Wynne led government which brought us an almost tripling of the cost of electricity in the province.  While Ford did cancel the GEA (Green Energy Act), it is obvious they are still committed to eliminating fossil fuels completely which affects reliability and will surely drive-up generation costs. 

Beyond the announcement OPG would be adding a 300MW SMR (small modular reactor) which may be in service in 2028 at the Darlington site we have seen nothing from the current Ontario government aimed at ensuring we have a reliable supply of electricity in the future!  With the approximately 3,000 MW of the Pickering Nuclear plant scheduled to close by 2025 the Ford government (via his Minister of Energy, Todd Smith) is pushing the Pathways to Decarbonization (P2D)” which fearfully, doesn’t seem to project reliability. The latter is concerning, as via a recent directive Minister Smith “asked IESO to evaluate a moratorium on the procurement of new natural gas-fired generating stations in Ontario and to develop an achievable pathway to phase out natural gas generation and achieve zero emissions in the electricity system.”  From all appearances the directive has led to the upcoming (September 19, 2022), Ontario Energy Conference “Navigating to Net Zero” classified as “Ontario’s Energy Transition”!  According to the page describing the conference a key issue is; “Energy customers are demanding clean energy solutions with some urgency” but doesn’t disclose who those “energy customers” are. My (personal) guess would be they are not small/medium sized businesses or households suffering from inflation but may include eco-warrior charities like Environmental Defence, David Suzuki Foundation, etc. etc.  In reality, it appears to be simply Ontario’s politicians complying with the wishes of Prime Minister Trudeau and his Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault; famous for his actions when he was an eco-warrior climbing on the roof of former Alberta Premier, Ralph Klein’s home and scaring his wife as well as his criminal action of climbing the CN Tower!

It is worth noting that IESO had previously been asked by Minister Smith to evaluate the phaseout of natural gas and their report indicated the cost to eliminate it by 2030 would be $27 billion and raise electricity prices by 60%.  Interestingly on the page with the link to the foregoing report IESO note; “Did you know that natural gas provides just 7% of Ontario’s electricity needs, but on the hottest summer days can provide up to 30%?”  This was a clear message from IESO that without natural gas, Ontario would have to increase its generation considerably to ensure reliability and prevent blackouts.

A clear message about vulnerability totally ignored by Minister Smith and the Ford Government!

Only a Few of Many Examples of Federal Idiocy

Looking back to August 19, 2021 and viewing a video of Trudeau announcing one of his handouts before the upcoming election is an interesting exercise! At the press conference in BC he promised to provide funding “to support the training of 1,000 new community-based firefighters and the purchasing of new equipment to continue to fight the impacts of climate change across the country”. A question presented to him asked about inflation and the Bank of Canada possibly loosening inflation controls and his response was: “You’ll forgive me if I don’t think about monetary policy”!  We should also suspect his Minister of Finance and Deputy PM, Chrystia Freeland, is of a like mind so, spending our tax dollars on the “net-zero” pledge requires no thoughts about the consequences on Canada’s future despite the federal deficit having reached $314 billion in the year that had just ended on March 31, 2021.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently visited Canada with the presumed hope Canada might be able to supply some natural gas via LNG shipments but all he got was a promise that maybe, sometime in the future, we might be able to supply Germany with “green hydrogen” generated by IWT (industrial wind turbines) out of Newfoundland. An article out of Germany however about the latter titled“Will rescue come from Canada?”casts serious doubt on that possibility as the following from the article notes (from the Google translation):  “So does this prove the feasibility of LH2 imports from Canada? The technical possibility may be given. However, the profitability is more than questionable. If you look at the whole supply chain: wind energy – electricity – electrolysis – liquefaction – ship transport – distribution – storage – generation in fuel cells – feeding into the grid – then you have to be very skeptical. It would be maddeningly expensive. Maybe then the LH 2 tax will be introduced in Germany and the kilowatt hour will ultimately cost one euro.” This was the best PM Trudeau could offer as the Liberals have stifled the generation of fossil fuels and the pipeline that would have brought them to export terminals.

The Trudeau led government during their reign in Canada have continued their efforts to achieve “net-zero” crippling our natural resource sector, advocating for EV to replace ICE vehicles by subsidizing their purchase and increasing the carbon tax on gasoline and diesel fuels. He and his minions such as Steven Guilbeault, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, despite having some of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world, have refused to allow the building of the infrastructure needed to export our oil and gas resources!

TheBuild(ing) Back Better” advocacy pushed by the WEF (World Economic Forum) has become the recent version of the former communist “Five Year Plans” by the Liberal Government and enshrined in past budgets of the Trudeau government. It appears they haven’t realized Russia abandoned those Five Year Plans many years ago!  Canadians are now experiencing the results of those plans with inflation climbing, record Federal Debt, taxes rising and investment fleeing the country despite Canada’s abundance of resources.  It sure appears “Building Back Better”, by eliminating Canada’s exploitation of our natural resources is cripplingly us and harming those citizen’s who are not members of the elite’s of the Canadian Liberal Party.    

We should all find it fascinating a couple of months ago PM Trudeau was in Nova Scotia for a staged presence once again handing out $255 million of our tax dollars with $125 million destined for wind projects and $130 million for battery storage.  While making the announcement he was standing in a farmer’s field and in the background were several wind turbines that were totally dormant. We should doubt Trudeau actually noticed how those IWT demonstrated their intermittency and unreliability!  

The foregoing event occurred shortly after Trudeau displayed his new haircut patterned after Jim Carrey when Carrey stared in the movie series, Dumb & Dumber.  Now isn’t that ironic in how his new haircut and those dormant wind turbines enunciate how incredibly incompetent our current crop of elected leaders appear!

The time has come for politicians to take off the blinkers and do basic research before accepting what the eco-warriors incorrectly see as the end of the world unless we achieve “net-zero” emissions.

*Full disclosure:  I completed the survey twice using my e-mail address without pushback so eco-warriors from Pollution Probe or others may well have completed it dozens of times.

Conservative Conflicts Begets Confusion

Plato is credited with saying, “Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.

A couple of recent events occurred that when viewed, should strike us all as “strange” but depending on one’s perspective who is telling the truth and who is the “lunatic and fool” may well differ.

Joe Oliver, former Federal Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Finance under the Harper led Federal Conservative Party penned an article in the Financial Post on September 1, 2022 and it castigates the Justin Trudeau led Federal Liberal Party about the damaging consequences of its green policies. 

The opening two sentences of Oliver’s article were words of wisdom and common sense as he stated: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be feeling isolated in his campaign against fossil fuels, especially Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), as leaders around the world reduce their countries’ reliance on inadequate renewable energy and tone down their own rhetoric about lowering GHG emissions. But for political and ideological reasons his government cannot admit to the terribly damaging consequences of its green policies and the urgent need to fundamentally change course.”

When Greg Rickford was the Ontario Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines he appointed Mr. Oliver to the Board of Directors of IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) and a couple of months later he was elected as Chair of the IESO Board of Directors. IESO is responsible for managing Ontario’s power system and defines their responsibilities as: “The IESO is the coordinator and integrator of Ontario’s electricity system. Our system operators monitor the energy needs of the province in real time – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – balancing supply and demand and directing the flow of electricity across Ontario’s transmission lines.”

Ontario’s current Energy Minister, Todd Smith, (appointed June 18, 2021)  and formerly the critic on the “energy” portfolio when the Ontario Conservative Party were in opposition) on August 23, 2022 issued a directive to IESO which contained some surprising instructions to the President.  Needless to say, the directive was also copied to the Hon. Joe Oliver, P.C., Board Chair!

The directive from Minister Smith babbles on about how “Ontario is on track to acquire the electricity generation we need to power our government’s success in driving electrification and strong economic growth, including unprecedented investments that are creating new jobs in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing and green steel.”

Anyone who has followed the news about the foregoing investments in EV and battery manufacturing and green steel will be aware both the Ford led Provincial government and the Trudeau led Federal government joined hands and have handed out billions of our tax dollars to achieve those “unprecedented investments”.  It is also worth noting those “new jobs” are not new as the handouts to the various companies were simply to “retain” the jobs associated with the automotive and steel manufacturers that were already here in the province. 

The concept of a “net-zero” buy-in by Minister Smith seems evident with the push to both declare a moratorium on gas generation and “replacing natural gas with green fuels such as hydrogen and renewable natural gas, or the development of utility-scale carbon capture and storage” as a directive from October 27, 2021 via his “Pathway to Achieve Zero Emissions in Ontario’s Electricity System” suggests.  The above seems to have been confirmed based on his comments in a recent CBC article where he clearly states:

I’ve asked the IESO to speed up that report back to us so that we can get the information from them as to what the results would be for our grid here in Ontario and whether or not we actually need more natural gas,” Smith said Tuesday after question period.

I don’t believe that we do.”

No estimation of the costs of the “Pathway” are noted and no castigation of the Trudeau government by Minister Smith would strongly suggest he is on the same page as Trudeau and those in the Trudeau cabinet such as Steven Guilbeault, the Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. The comment above: “I don’t believe that we do” implies he is obviously conflicted with the Honourable Joe Oliver, Chair of the IESO Board.

As Plato suggests and we Ontarians should wonder; is Oliver “the person that dares to tell the truth” and Smith the one who is calling him “a lunatic and fool” or is it the other way around?