Letters to the editor: CanWEA sets record straight on wind energy costs

June 11, 2014

Re: The Ontario Liberals Don’t Deserve Another Term, letters to the editor, June 10.
The rising cost of electricity and its impact, is a key topic of discussion in the Ontario election campaign. All parties are committed to ensuring Ontario’s power supply is reliable and priced to support business growth and economic priorities, but their plans to meet that objective differ. One example of this is in the province’s approach to wind energy development.

The key driver of rising electricity bills in Ontario is not wind energy. Independent analysis by Power Advisory LLC indicates that wind energy accounted for only 5% of the increase in our electricity bills between 2009 and 2012, with the bulk of rising rates due to necessary upgrades to aging power plants and transmission systems.

A key economic driver for Ontario is a responsive, competitive electrical system that respects the environment. A steady stream of new wind energy complements energy conservation, and provides Ontario with the much-needed flexibility to align electricity supply needs with changing economic and environmental circumstances.

Today, wind energy is cheaper than building new nuclear power plants, and can compete with new hydroelectric development, as well. It is also not subject to the risks of rising costs, that could result from rising commodity prices or any future price on carbon emissions. Any political party that advocates a shift away from wind energy needs to demonstrate how their proposals for new electricity generation will be cheaper. It will be challenging to do so.
Robert Hornung, president, Canadian Wind Energy Association, Ottawa.

Re: The Republic Of Whiners And Blamers, Robert Fulford, June 7.
As the president of the coalition of individuals and community groups that have been fighting the Ontario Green Energy Act since its inception in 2009, and the invasion of Ontario’s rural communities by huge power development corporations seeking government subsidies as they despoil and bankrupt the province, I take issue with Robert Fulford’s assertion that not many people have expressed “unease” about this situation.

At present, we have over 30 community groups and thousands of individual members, who have all been fighting the Ontario government with heart and passion, as we defend our communities. Although the legislation put in place by the wind industry allows the public to appeals wind power projects, this has turned out to be an illusion. But this has not stopped Ontarians from trying. To date, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on the appeals, and on private litigation.

The citizens of Prince Edward County have raised over half a million dollars in their fight to save the environment against Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment. Others have already spent hundreds of thousands on legal fees to invoke a Charter challenge based on human rights. The sad truth is that Mr. Fulford is right: No matter how high the stakes for all Ontarians, the people of the province’s cities, especially Toronto, have sat by and let this happen. In the meantime, we refuse to give up the fight.
Jane Wilson, president, Wind Concerns Ontario, Toronto.

Responsible gun ownership

Re: Assigning Blame, letter to the editor, June 6.
Your letter writer is convinced that the possession of certain inanimate objects (firearms, in this case) causes alienation, despondency and a compulsion to lash out in a suicidal rage. As a life-long responsible firearm owner, I’m not convinced. Responsible gun culture is based upon the equal pillars of safety, responsibility and respect, and the barriers to entry are quite high, as they should be.

I suspect, however, that were it not for the rights and freedoms of the mentally ill trumping the need for public safety, then we might be able to keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them.
Robert S. Sciuk, Oshawa, Ont.

Seeking help

Re: Moncton Mourns, June 10.
In the wake of any profoundly tragic incident, such as that in Moncton, the blame game begins. Sadly, the father of the suspect blames the victims for not resolving the apparent troubles of the shooter. The son — who was home-schooled in a disciplined, religious environment — developed antisocial behaviours, of which the the parents were aware. Instead of asking police for assistance, his parents should have sought the help of mental health professionals. However, our human rights keep all interventions at bay until there is an incident.
Cate Nelson, Calgary.

Vote right

Re: Ontario Goes To The Polls, June 10.
The Quebec Liberals have already put forward a budget that aims to cut back on the hugely wasteful practices of previous years. The only way this is going to happen in Ontario is if we vote for the Conservatives. I would remind voters that this is the situation we were in after the NDP ran the province into the ground. Afterwards, the Tories not only reduced the debt, they created a lot of jobs and lowered taxes, as well. It is a formula that works.
Anne Robinson, Toronto.

On Thursday, Ontarians will head to the polls to elect the next premier. As a youth, I have always been quite interested in politics and elections. I strive to follow election campaigns and party platforms. I even try to analyze the platforms myself and then evaluate who will be the best leader for our province. It is perplexing that many youth seem to lack interest in Canadian politics. To all those who remain undecided, I look upon the advice of the leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad. He states, “A person’s vote should be cast with the betterment of the nation in mind.”

As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, I am not allowed to vote in Pakistan without denouncing the fundamentals of my religious beliefs. Hence, Ahmadi Muslims understand the importance of voting. I hope and pray that Ontarians can make the most appropriate choice, as they cast their ballots in the upcoming election.
Luqman Ahmad, Mississauga, Ont.

Deadly skies

Re: Contemptuous, That’s Harper, Andrew Coyne, June 7.
The F-35 is designed for ground attacks and will be difficult to land in the north, which presents technical problems for refuelling. It’s single engine puts our pilots at risk, especially with our huge land mass and long coastlines. Why are we committing to the F-35 without a competitive bidding process, when we know the costs continue to spiral? Canadians also want our military to respond when natural disasters strike. How will this expensive fighter jet help us conduct urgent humanitarian missions when it is mainly designed to carry missiles and bombs?
Larry Kazdan, Vancouver.

Legalize it

Re: The State Re-Enters The Bedroom, Jesse Kline, June 5.
I have long been an ardent supporter of the Harper government, but the moralistic hubris of the new prostitution bill rankles me. Prostitution is not something to be fought. It is an entrenched profession that has been with us since about the time we came down from the trees. It has been practised in Canada by willing participants, despite many of the practices surrounding it having been hypocritically outlawed for years. It is the prejudice of low expectations that assumes most prostitutes are working unwillingly, and we already have sufficient laws on the books to prevent undue coercion, enslavement and pimping.

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the existing laws because they caused undue risk to sex workers. It seems to me the new law does not address this, but may exacerbate the problem by making advertising illegal, thus reducing the sex worker’s ability to screen her clients. How does the ludicrous notion of making selling sex legal but buying it illegal help sex workers or make them safer? As always, those involved in this industry will find a way to practise their profession, but will somehow be driven further into the shadows. The quaint Conservative notion that this law will somehow reduce prostitution in the long run, is laughable.

Lastly, there’s the additional federal tax revenue to be made on billions of dollars now mostly undeclared in one of the last vestiges of the underground cash economy. Taxing prostitution would provide ample revenue to fund social programs for those aspiring to switch professions. It would also be a boon to the economy, as tourists would see Canada as a destination for safe, regulated, legal prostitution.
Jeff Brandwein, Toronto.

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