COLUMN: Wind from their sails

SOUTH DUNDAS — A report from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) tabled on May 22nd took the wind out of the sails for wind energy in South Dundas. The report, as reported by Cornwall Newswatch, stated that all five of the circuits through the Brinston area have “No-Availability”. This report does not outright kill the plans by EDP Renewables or Invenergy to bid on wind-turbine farms in South Dundas, it does make it less likely to happen.

Green energy companies like EDP can wax on about the need for new energy production in Ontario, and some of that is true. But value for money, in total output of electricity generation, solar and wind are poor performers. Hydro-Electric projects offer a much better rate of return than so-called “Green Energy” projects. We should know, living in the very location of one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in the western world.

“Green” Energy advocates need to give it a rest for a while until they no longer need government subsidies to make their products “affordable”. And they need to go in a location where people want them. South Dundas council voted to be an “unwilling host” but still listened to project backers, North Dundas council refused to even listen to them. The people of the area do not want it, and even the IESO says no-way. Time to move on.


Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced in the House of Commons this week that the Harper Government was now open to the idea of allowing Canadians to contribute more to their Canada Pension Plans, voluntarily. This is a reversal in policy, where up to now the boilerplate response to changes to the CPP was “It’s fine”. This move is a good move for two reasons.

First, it’s voluntary. As an individual, I have the free-will to choose (or not choose) to invest and save for my retirement as I see fit. A voluntary increased contribution to the CPP means I have one more vehicle available for me to save money. The CPP fund is very safe, low-risk, and its investment fund is diverse.

Second, it’s voluntary. I am not being forced into contributing into a system I don’t want to contribute into, unlike the “made-in-Ontario” plan of the Ontario Pension Plan. Under Kathleen Wynne’s plan, I, and everyone else who works in Ontario, will be forced to pay 1.7% of their gross pay into the new OPP. There is no free-will, there is no choice. If you live and work in Ontario, you pay.

Given the Ontario government’s track record for running things (into the ground), how do I know that forcibly investing my money with the Ontario government is going to help secure my needs at retirement? I don’t, and I have no choice or say otherwise.

Ontarians are not babies, they do not need to be coddled in a birth-to-the-grave, state-based, social safety net. People have the right and free-will to invest or not invest and should not be forced into  it. The federal government’s plan, as minimally defined as it is, is a far better option than a forced-plan run by the most bumbled government in the modern, western world.

Animal vs People

Writing for Cornwall Newswatch affords one a certain amount of access to the inner-workings of this news platform. Part of that access is the story comments. Some are published by Editor Bill Kingston, some are not, that’s the editor’s prerogative. What strikes me as interesting is the viewer’s outrage over certain types of stories.

When a story is posted about domestic violence, or certain types of criminal behaviour towards another person, the comments are minimal at best. If however, the story involves animal abuse, community outrage increases by a factor of ten. That is not to say that animal abuse is something to take lightly, it’s the lack of outrage of abuse on people that disturbs me.

No abuse is right, on a person, or an animal. I think we have come to a point in society that it is ok to be vocal in our outrage over any kind of abuse. I would just like to see more of that outrage when it comes to harm to people.

Quick history tidbit

With the Mike Duffy trial ongoing, and the possibility of more audits, more investigations and more trials, the Canadian Senate is close to the top of the news consciousness.  It might interest the reader to know that Canada once had an elected senate or upper chamber.

Pre-Confederation, when Ontario and Quebec were joined as one “Province of Canada”, the government had two houses, the Legislative Assembly or lower house (equivalent to the House of Commons) and the Legislative Council or upper house (equivalent to the Senate or British House of Lords).

From the Act of Union in 1841 which granted “Responsible Government” to the colonies, until 1856, the members of the Legislative Council were appointed by the Governor General on the advice of Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Victoria’s government in the province of Canada.

In 1856, a bill was passed in the Legislative Assembly to enable elections every two years for members to serve. There were 48 members of the Legislative Council , split evenly between Canada West (Ontario) and Canada East (Quebec). Every two years half of the members were up for election. The last election was held in 1866, a year before Confederation.

The election of a Senate was a sticking point for framers of the constitution such as Sir John A. Macdonald, who wanted a strong, federal model of government.  It was decided that an elected Senate would give too of a voice to the provinces and regions, in the federal system. An appointed Senate model was chosen, and 147 years later we still deal with these issues, warts, scandals and all.

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