The Lourie Butts Team Returns and Strives to Be “Resilient”

The recent announcement about Gerald Butts, former principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, being a member of a newly created “Task Force for a Resilient Recovery”, garnered lots of media attention.  Missing from most of the MSM writeups however was a key fact; Bruce Lourie, President of the Ivey Foundation helped to organize the “Task Force”! Surprisingly the CBC noted this whereas most other media outlets missed that, focusing instead, on Gerald Butts’s return to Ottawa!

Butts and Lourie were the team that brought Ontarians the GEA (Green Energy Act), responsible for doubling electricity prices in the Province and driving away businesses to other jurisdictions offering cheaper energy prices.  Butts worked on the inside of the Ontario Liberal Party as Premier McGuinty’s principal advisor while Lourie “initiated the campaign to shut down coal-fired power plants ” in the province and “helped shepherd the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, one of the world’s largest conservation efforts, as well as the establishment of the Ontario Greenbelt,“. Lourie was also appointed by McGuinty as; a director of the OPA (merged with IESO), the Trillium Foundation and the Premier’s  “Climate Change Advisory Board”. Eight years ago, I had occasion to write several articles related to Lourie and cobbled together a spider web showing the myriad of environmental groups he claimed he established and others where he exerted influence.  A link to the article and the “spider web” can be found here!

Changing the Narrative:   It is interesting to note the “Task Force” (in the announcement from the Smart Prosperity Institute,* formerly Sustainable Prosperity), claim they are “a new and independent group of finance, policy and sustainability leaders”.  Also interesting is the fact they label themselves a “Task Force”!  It seems to be characteristic of the “climate change” advocates to name themselves a “commission”, eg: Ecofiscal Commission) or in this case, “task force”.  The former is normally used to signify a group appointed by government and the latter is frequently used by the armed forces such as NATO.

The use of the adjective “resilient” also seems to have replaced the word “sustainable”; perhaps a signal the Covid-19 pandemic and lock-down scared the renewable energy eco-warriors into thinking they may be flogging a dead horse?

The other word in the announcement catching the eye is “new”!  While the “organizations” name is new, many of the members have been around for years pushing the same agenda. One of those is Stewart Elgie, Executive Chair of the Smart Prosperity Institute.  Elgie is a member of the Ecofiscal Commission, Founding Executive Director of the Canadian Boreal Foundation and founder of Ecojustice, claimed as “Canada’s largest environmental law charity”!  To top that off he is a Professor, Law and Economics at the University of Ottawa.  Obviously being an eco-warrior can be a rewarding career!

Another striving, in a seeming effort to confuse the public, is Lourie and others will change the names of their environmental (see above name change of Sustainable Prosperity) or charitable organization(s) to avoid researchable data.  In Lourie’s case they are structures he claims he founded, such as the charity, CEGN (Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network) now called, Environment Funders Canada.

It appears the Butts/Lourie connection and the relationship with Justin Trudeau also goes back in time, including a 2003 canoe trip.  As noted in a 2003 article about the trip: “He (referencing Justin Trudeau) joined Herb Norwegian, Suza’ Tseto, Ed Stuzik, Gerald Butts, Bruce Lourie, and several CPAWS conservationists for the seven-day trip down the South Nahanni.”

As if to confirm the Butts/Lourie relationship a May 28, 2020 Butts tweet stated:

“@gmbutts Finally, the work we are doing under @brucelourie’s excellent leadership is a volunteer, non-partisan contribution to Canadian public policy debate. it is received in that spirit by sensible people of all political stripes who care about #ClimateChange.”

From this readers perspective it appears, Gerald Butts’s tweet is an admission Bruce Lourie is superior to him in respect to salability on the issue of “climate change”! He suggests only “sensible people” believe in the diatribe dispensed by him and the other members of the “task force”, ie; if you don’t agree you are “insensible”!**

Butts also pushes the envelope in his linkedin post suggesting he was “Principal Secretary to the Premier” from “Nov 1999—Aug 2008”!   The records show Dalton McGuinty officially became Premier, October 23, 2003!  The foregoing suggests someone’s records are incorrect and we should surmise it is none other than Gerald Butts!  Perhaps the claim infers, from his perspective, he considers himself “resilient” even when he stretches the truth!

The opinion of most logical thinkers and scientists is; “manmade” climate change is insignificant compared to the natural forces affecting temperature changes and no matter how effective or ineffective Canada is in reducing emissions it will have minimal effect as we emit only 1.6% of all global emissions!

Mankind has been “resilient” for centuries and there is no reason Canadians should toss away our current and future economic abilities due to the preaching’s of the cabal of eco-warriors!

Let’s stay sensible and resilient for the right reasons not for the ones Butts and Lourie pronounce!

*The bulk of funders of the Smart Prosperity Institute are Federal and Provincial Ministries using taxpayer dollars as well as several charitable foundations, such as Tides Canada who support “global warming” theories.

**Oxford defines insensible as “unconscious, numb, without feeling”.

Have the Tides Finally Turned?

As we descend deeper into the pandemic caused by Covid-19 one wonders how it’s affecting those eco-charities pushing the “climate emergency and the reputed damage caused by fossil fuels. They claim; we must eliminate carbon emissions by 2050 or the world will face a disaster.

The coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world at present has meant the “climate emergency” eco-charities have been screaming about for the past several decades, has been relegated to the back pages of both the MSM and the virtual internet community.  It is now a “back of mind” issue for almost all Canadians today, as the impact of a real emergency has taken hold.

One wonders if the decades, of this reputed emergency have passed and signifies we have wizened up to what many perceive as an unprecedented “Ponzi scheme?”  Only time will tell!

Tides Canada, a charity with US links

One of the larger and more aggressive charities to have pushed the “climate emergency” agenda in Canada is Tides Canada, an outgrowth of a US charity founded in 1976.  The US charity in 2018 had revenue of $548 million and handed out (granted) 54% or only $296 million of it.  The Canadian arm of Tides is two charities; Tides Canada Foundation and Tides Canada Initiatives Foundation. Tides Canada was founded in the year 2000 according to their website.

A review of their latest CRA filings for the two charities show collective revenues of $35.884 million versus collective revenues of $7.416 million in the prior year.  So, revenues were up by $28.468 million however, $7 million of that was simply a donation from Tides Canada Foundation to Tides Canada Initiatives Foundation. The actual increase in revenue was therefore up $21.458 million or 289.3%.  From examination of the $7 million transferred it appears a lot of it was destined for First Nations grants which raises the question; were those grants connected with the rail blockades aimed at stopping the Coastal Gaslink pipeline?

If one discounts the inter-foundation transfer and looks at where the $28.468 million actually came from you discover, $5.431 million or 18.8% came from Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments,  $7.404 million (25,6%) came from outside Canada, 25.3% or $7.298 million came from other charities and only $3.445 million or 11.9% were actual donations from parties who received charitable receipts.

Reviewing Tide’s donations, the two foundations paid out $12.7 million in grants including those paid to First Nations. The usual cabal of eco-charities (focused on the elimination of the Canadian oil and gas sector) received grants from Tides and included; Environmental Defence, the Sierra Club, the David Suzuki Foundation, Pembina, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, etc. etc. Total grant payouts represented 43.9% of the $28.868 million of adjusted gross revenues. To this writer, that suggests an inefficient charity with well paid staff.  Along those lines an examination of the CRA compensation report for the top 10 employed by the foundations suggests an average salary of about $118K each.

Eco-warrior concerns

The pandemic seems to be causing angst elsewhere amongst the proponents of the “climate emergency” with one article suggesting that “EU carbon market prices are plummeting as a result of the economic shutdown.” The article noted as of March 25th the price had dropped by 40% and a Polish representative called for scrapping it altogether even though it generated €2.2 billion in auctioning revenues last year for Poland.  If there are low levels of emissions, which is the current situation with business shut down, companies who normally emit them don’t have to buy carbon credits.  A recent article in January 2020 stated “The European carbon market – the world’s largest by volume and value – rose in worth by 30% to €169 billion.”  Many of those European country’s governments will suffer severe revenue shortages as those invisible emissions decline.  As a result, it may cause them to either increase other forms of taxation or reduce spending. As an aside, the emissions reductions may also negatively affect agricultural production and drive food costs higher due to reduced crop yields.

In the US an emerging concern has been amplified by AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) with them saying on March 19ththe global pandemic is putting $43 billion of wind industry investments and payments at risk.”  As explained in the Power Magazine article the biggest concern is not about the people affected by Covid-19 it’s about the delays that will occur in erecting industrial wind turbines.  The delay will result in “expiring tax credits” so AWEA have appealed to Congress.

AWEA in its appeal to Congress said that developers of wind energy projects have been moving forward “based on what appeared the safe assumption that their projects would qualify for the federal production or investment tax credits”.  With those tax credits expiring, delays in completing those projects could push them past deadlines to qualify for the credits.”

Not surprisingly AWEA have got the Democrats on side as the article goes on to state: “Leaders of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition on Thursday said they will push for tax credits for renewable energy in any stimulus legislation. Democratic Reps. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Doris Matsui of California, and Paul Tonko of New York, co-chairs of the committee, in a statement said, “Our members pushed for these credits in the end-of-year funding package and will continue to fight for them in this round of economic stimulus.”

It is discerning to realize; the eco-warriors, the carbon market traders, the wind and solar renewable energy companies and left leaning politicians continue to gang up on hard working taxpayers and now as the world faces a true emergency they have the gall to ignore the pandemic and instead continue to push their agenda at the expense of the citizens of the free world.

It’s time for the cabal to take off their blinkers and to understand, “the tides have turned”!

This Ponzi scheme must come to an end!

Ontario’s ECO says It’s the end of the world!

Cooked! says the enviro commissioner in her last, histrionic report

The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO), Dianne Saxe, released what appears to be her final “independent”* report on March 27, 2019 — it was full of hyperbole!  A CTV article issued after her news conference at Queens Park about the report carried this quote from her:  “If the world can’t hold together on the Paris Agreement we are toasted, roasted and grilled.”

The Saxe quote immediately reminded me of a very humourous Beyond the Fringe video from 1961 titled “The End of the World”. The cast: Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett are seated, huddled, on the top of a mountain waiting for The End of the World. Needless to say, the “End of the World” didn’t arrive so they agreed to meet “the same time tomorrow” in case it did.

End-of-the-world claims are common these days, it seems: in 2009, Al Gore claimed the Polar Ice Cap would be entirely melted in five to seven years. Turns out to be another wrong prediction, but the humour was missing, much as it is missing from the ECO’s remarks to the media and in her report.

Ms. Saxe’s lead in to the report is titled “FOSSIL FUEL CONSERVATION WOULD FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE WHILE SAVING ONTARIANS BILLIONS” and the report itself is titled: “A Healthy, Happy, Prosperous Ontario 2019 Energy Conservation Progress Report, Why we need more energy conservation”.

We heard very many similar stories in the past about how Ontarians could “save billions!“

If one looks back to an article from October 29, 2004 Dwight Duncan, then Ontario Minister of Energy, was defending the $2.3 billion cost of smart meter installations. In a media report “Duncan wants the meters installed so residents and businesses can save money by using electricity in off-peak hours. He says Italy saved so much money that consumers there did not have to pay for the meters. But he doesn’t know if Ontario electricity users will be that lucky.”

Needless to say, we weren’t that lucky!

Several years later when George Smitherman held the post of Energy Minister he testified April 9, 2009 before the Standing Committee on General Government in respect to the Green Energy and Green Economy Act. One of his offerings to the Committee was the big promise: “We anticipate about 1% per year of additional rate increase associated with the bill’s implementation over the next 15 years. Our estimate of cost increases is based upon the way that we actually amortize costs in the energy sector. The research contracted by the official opposition does not. Their report apportions capital costs without consideration of the life of the asset, or, put another way, they didn’t amortize those costs. Their report counts the costs for conservation programs without providing any benefit for reduced consumption by the consumer.”

The new ECO report is 268 pages reiterating these same messages we ratepayers and taxpayers have been hearing, over and over again, for the past 15 years. Is Ms. Saxe unaware the Ontario voters reduced legislative seats held by Liberal MPPs to seven and the principal reason behind their fall from grace was the energy/electricity file? In searching the report, the words “electricity conservation” garners 175 hits and the word “electricity” generates 799 findings. The word “renewables” provides 66 hits and the word “billion” is used 53 times.

Ms. Saxe sincerely believes the world will come to an end unless Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers freeze in the dark or pay dearly for any energy consumed!

Ontario’s ECO wants Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers to reduce their fossil fuel consumption** while China’s power industry has called for hundreds of new coal power plants to be built by 2030. They have asked the government to allow for the development of between 300 and 500 new coal power plants by 2030 in a move that could single-handedly jeopardize global climate change targets.

That puts a damper on what Ontario might hope to achieve to prevent being “toasted, roasted and grilled”. Perhaps if each of the taxpayers of the province were paid the $207,676.40, the “Sunshine List” disclosed Ms. Saxe was paid in 2018 as the ECO, we would be happy to absorb higher prices for electricity or could buy an expensive EV to reduce our fossil fuel consumption. Until that happens, Ms. Saxe should tone down her expectations!

Ms. Saxe should realize if we are freezing in the dark it is difficult to be “happy, healthy and prosperous”!

Until then, let’s meet “same time tomorrow.”

PARKER GALLANT

*The Premier Ford led government has decreed the ECO should in the future report directly to the Auditor General.

**Fossil fuel consumption in Ontario in 2015 was (petroleum products and natural gas) 2,269 pj (petajoule) with a value of $16.8 billion according to the report and Ontario generated GDP (gross domestic product) of $618 billion meaning fossil fuels contributed only 2.7% of our GDP.

Dicey math in ECO report on Ontario’s electricity costs

Appalling math supports agenda-laden report from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

How does a car in a driveway explain millions lost selling off surplus power? You have to read the ECO report to understand. Maybe. [Photo G Hills Law]
April 11, 2018

The 322-page report Making Connections Straight Talk About Electricity in Ontario is mind boggling in its attempt to redefine simple mathematics.

As one example, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario or “ECO” deals with “energy poverty”: “According to 2015 data, Canada’s National Energy Board found 7% of Ontarians to be energy poor”.

Checking the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) annual Yearbook of Electricity Distributors for 2016, Ontario had 4,612,551 residential customers — so, 7% would represent 322,878 “energy poor” households in the province.

The OEB’s December 22, 2014 report noted: “Using LIM* as a measuring tool, and relying on Statistics Canada household data, Ontario has 713,300 low-income households. The OESP** is estimated to reach 571,000. This estimate recognizes that not all low-income households in the province pay their electricity bills directly (i.e., utilities included in rent).”  Those 713,300 low-income households represented about 15.5% of all households in the province.

So, in one simple sentence, the Commissioner’s reference to energy poverty makes almost 400,000 “energy poor” households simply disappear!

Yet another claim is made in the report where in large bold letters it states: “Ontario sells its surplus power to other jurisdictions for more than it costs to make that power.” Here is the analogy used to explain this claim in the commissioner’s report: if you lend your car to a friend to drive when you are not driving it and he pays you $20 it reduces your annual cost.  The reasoning related to the electricity sector is explained by the ECO:

“The surplus power that we export costs us little or nothing extra on top of the fixed costs, because: Our renewable power has extremely low operating costs; and Our nuclear plants cost virtually the same whether they are making power or not.”

What is deliberately omitted in the report is the unreliability and intermittency of renewable energy; favouritism towards industrial wind turbines is clearly visible in the text. ECO Dianne Saxe has demonstrated support for wind power development and even invested in one that stands at Exhibition Place in Toronto (which seldom generates power).  A plaque at the bottom bears her name.

The “how” we lose money on industrial wind is easily visible to most with a little effort. As an example, IESO rates the ability of wind to be counted on to produce power only 12.9% of the time when it will be needed.  What that means is, while average generation of wind power over one year may amount to 30% of capacity, IESO’s reliance on wind dependable for planning purposes is about one third of its probable annual output.

The foregoing has been borne out by others including a peer reviewed paper titled Ontario’s High-Cost Wind Millstone prepared for the Council for Clean and Reliable Energy. Author Marc Brouillette states: “Two-thirds (65 per cent) of wind generation is surplus to demand and must be wasted or dissipated either through forced curtailment of hydro and nuclear generation or by increased exports to Quebec and the United States, generally at low prices.”

Another recent report I wrote suggests forced curtailment of hydro, nuclear, wind, net exports, conservation and costs of backup for wind and solar generation, i.e., gas plants, were more than $6 billion in 2017 added to our electricity bills.

In other words, the ECO’s claims are not only incorrect, they are an insult to common sense and math literacy.

Parker Gallant

* Statistic’s Canada’s Low-Income Measure is simply defined as half of the median adjusted economic family income. Adjusted means family size has been factored in.”

**Ontario Electricity Support Program