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Posts Tagged ‘hydro’

Freedom Party of Ontario leaders Paul McKeever was on Sun News Network on May 29, 2014 to outline his party’s balanced budget plan for Ontario.

The guest host was understandably interested in how the Freedom Party of Ontario would purport to do this, since Ontario’s deficit currently sits at $12 billion.

Their solution? McKeever explains at 2:30, that they would take health care off-budget by making it a Crown Corporation, and introduce competition. I like the second part, but the first part comes across as a total gimmick.

It’s reminiscent of PC Leader Tim Hudak’s 2011 election campaign gimmick of promising to pay off Ontario’s hydro debt by only paying the principal, and not the interest. Wouldn’t that be nice for average homeowners, to tell their bank that they’ve paid off their mortgage after paying back only the principal? You’d be laughed out of the bank, and after two missed payments, they’d foreclose on your home. Yet gimmicks like this pass as legitimate discourse in politics today.

Overall, the Ontario Freedom Party would, in principle, bring some much-needed relief from increasing government control over our lives, but I like the Ontario Libertarian Party, except for where they aren’t running candidates this election. And if you don’t have either an OLP or OFP candidate in your riding, consider declining your ballot, which will effectively serve as a vote for “none of the above.”

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Spy meter

The government illegally searching your home without a warrant

Ontario’s Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan, made a shockingly candid admission on August 18, 2011, as reported by The Toronto Star. He chastised the leader of the Opposition, Tim Hudak, for promising to give Ontarians the choice of whether they want to have a spy meter in their homes to monitor their electricity usage since they were made mandatory everywhere by 2011.

He admitted that they are currently using the meters to spy on homeowners for the purpose of detecting marijuana grow operations.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, a former energy minister, said it’s odd that Hudak is fighting grow-ops at the same time as he is leading a crusade against “smart meters” because they help find dope.

“One of the great things about smart meters is they help you shut down grow-ops … these things give very precise measurements of how much power is used,” he said.

“I kind of laughed today. Here’s a guy out berating smart meters.”

It’s my view that Hudak is opposing spy meters purely for partisan gain in the upcoming October 6 election, but I find it revealing how Ontario’s Finance Minister made light of the government spying on its citizens through the use of these spy meters.

Oh sure, it’s about going after the bad guys. It always was and always will be. But how will they determine who is a bad guy? By regularly monitoring your electricity usage, of course.

The Canadian Constitution requires that searches be reasonable, and searches of homes require a warrant, yet here we have the Ontario government openly admitting to effectively searching Ontario homes without a warrant.

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Tim Hudak

Since the Ontario Progressive Conservatives unveiled their October 2011 election platform, it’s become evident to me that their leader Tim Hudak is a shameless opportunist.

In 2009, when the federal Conservatives effectively bribed Ontario with $4 billion (around 40% of Ontario’s own money to begin with) to surrender its constitutional authority to directly impose a provincial sales tax and adopt a so-called Harmonized Sales Tax, Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak said how bad it was.

To me, it is simply not credible that he wouldn’t have taken the $4 billion from his federal cousins and implemented the HST like his Liberal competitors did.

Among his other shameless opportunistic claims include his promise to remove the 8% provincial portion of the 13% HST from hydro bills, and remove the debt retirement charge from them.

As one columnist pointed out, Hudak claims the debt retirement charge is no longer necessary, since the debt has allegedly been paid off.

Hudak was wise to go into politics, because he certainly wouldn’t have lasted long as a loan officer at a bank with his funny math. He claims that Ontario hydro customers have paid back the debt by having paid back the principal on it. Wouldn’t it be nice to say you’ve paid off your mortgage by only making principal payments and not any interest? Yes, so long as you’re not the bank.

While the Ontario Liberals, dubbed the Fiberals in some quarters, have a deservedly tarnished image as a result of some of their bogus promises, such as their failed promise not to raise taxes while going on to impose a health tax and eco fees, Hudak and the PCs aren’t any more credible in my view either.

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In November 2009, I first heard about the Ontario “Provincial Benefit.”

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) states: “The Provincial Benefit ensures reliability by providing adequate generating capacity for Ontario. It accounts for differences between the spot market price and the rates paid to regulated and contracted generators. As a result, its value may be positive or negative, depending on the fluctuation of prices in the spot market.

In other words, if Ontario pays more to your electricity supplier than the market price, you pay the difference, otherwise, you receive a credit.

Here are the average annual provincial benefits I calculated from 2005-2010 to date, in cents per kilowatt-hour, from the IESO’s monthly numbers:

2005    -0.6175
2006     0.229167
2007     0.438333
2008     0.530833
2009     2.9075
2010     2.97

It’s no accident that I didn’t hear about it until 2009. That’s the year the “benefit” exploded in cost to around half of the price of the first 1000 kWh of electricity. It’s been Orwellian since its inception, with the potential to be a charge, not a benefit, and has since been a charge every year since 2006.

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