Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ontario Electricity Act Being Re-Written - and Other Thoughts for Santa

I stumbled across something yesterday that jolted me away from Christmas planning.  I've not posted much this month as I've been suffering from writer's block in attempting to write Santa my list.  I don't wish  for stuff anymore - I generally mix up the old gift holiday with my murky religious philosophy. It's a season where a muddled mind is unavoidable - so I usually hope for wisdom.
For others
What attribute should I wish for this year?

I was thinking about this when I saw the CBC's Mike Crawley tweet:
At 4pm on Fri before Xmas, McGuinty govt announces proposed changes to how it reports on hydro debt retirement  

I clicked through the links and went right to the revisions in the act related to the Debt Retirement Charge (DRC).  I wrote on the Debt Retirement charge during Ontario's election campaign, and everything I said was confirmed by the Auditor-General long after the campaign.  To be blunt, the debt retirement charge is to pay off whatever amount the Minister of Finance says it is ... but our Minister of Finance is too contemptuous of the populace to provide a figure.
Anyway ... nothing I noted in the act differed from the existing act in terms of the DRC.

Returning to the non-evil Mke Crawley's tweets, there was an update:
Clarification of my previous tweet: govt official tells me hydro debt retirement posting  proposes no rule changes 
Hmmm ... so what is the update all about?
I did note the word "renewable" in the new act, a lot, and there is quite a bit about "smart meters" ... there's a lovely little bit on not discriminating on grid access followed, immediately, by a sentence noting "renewable' energy gets preferential grid access.  I think there is something in there on the government being able to raid OPG for funds at will too ... but I'm not a lawyer.

A third tweet followed from the non-despicalbe Mike Crawley:
Official says it kickstarts process for govt to report on status of hydro debt (as paid by debt retirement charge) as urged by auditor. 
Ahhhh - the act is to strengthen the larceny whereby public utilities have been stolen from Ontarians, with the wealth transferred to a "renewables' cabal (inclusive of the Mike Crawley I've emphasized the CBC's Mike Crawley is not). But it is to be pitched in the press as being related to accounting and the hydro debt.  That, and only that, explains the press release from Ontario's government being titled "Electricity Act, 1998: The Residual Stranded Debt and the Debt Retirement Charge"

My wandering mind wonders if there is anybody in the press who would attempt to find out what the changes are about when they are obviously not centred on what the government tells them to print.

Metro Martin, at the Toronto Star (Regg Cohn to dullards who don't see the resemblance to Bagdad Bob), provides an honest paragraph occassionally, and we were blessed with one of them this week in an article built around spending at the ORNGE air ambulance entity.
"Matthews says she was in the dark about ORNGE until, prodded by the Star’s coverage and the auditor general’s initial findings (his draft report has already been circulated), she demanded answers. In fact, opposition MPPs have been raising tough questions about the air ambulance arrangement for months without getting straight answers." 
Aside from the fact the auditor general had turned his sites on ORNGE, and the Star was most likely being provided facts to preemptively sacrifice heads to protect the inept McGuinty government, it's a refreshing piece of puffery to note The Star's chief propagandist is more important to the government than the people who voted for their representatives that sit in the legislature.
I wonder if the Globe's Mr. Chatelaine (A. Radwanski) will comment on the changes to the Electricity Act - I'm interested in his views on the choice of font.  While Metro Martin seems to choose to be uninterested in honest commentary at The Star, Radwanski is increasingly simply irrelevant.

When the Auditor-General's report was released, Radwanski tweeted his annoyance at it being treated as having any importance at all (a lock-up for this?) and then:
Quick take on the auditor's report: not too much new on green energy
Ignoring the criticism of the government's greeniness didn't seem to work, which Metro Martin picked up on right away.  His articles following the report's release went at the credibility of the critic in order to diminish the criticism, as he indignantly noted studies which cited job losses in other jurisdictions, mentioned briefly in the auditor's report, where discredited - and some studies have been rebutted, but our MM wouldn't know which ones, or whether the discrediting was valid.

The Globe's Mr. Chatelaine liked that angle.  He'd tweet: "Incidentally, I share others' surprise that the A-G cited controversial anti-green enegy studies - undermined his own work on the subject."

Santa - there's a wish for me and my peeps:  Can you get the Globe & Mail back to fulfilling the role Junius described:  "The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures."  In the coverage of Queen's Park, that would replace the role they have been playing lately - which is Newt to The Star's Herc.  It's been clear for awhile that the Globe's editorial endorsements will go to whoever they expect to win an election (and control a huge advertising budget - so I get that), but it would be nice to have some competence in between campaigns.

Well ... I've got tot get back to thinking about the children now.  Looking back at the year for niceness ... I don't think over half of eligible voters not turning up was very nice.  I don't think the collapse in Ontario's electricity market is nice - the ongoing huge contracts for unnecessary supply is not nice, the hidden contracts for new supply aren't nice, and the hidden agreements not to have new supply are less nice.  I don't think demand dropping off a cliff as the year ends is nice - and it's probably indicative of an industrial sector that is even less nice than pessimistic people realize.

Actually ... there seems to be a lot more naughtiness than niceness going on within the scope of this blog.

This year, my wish is for:
Not for me Santa - nice is not an adjective attached to me very often.
Not for me Santa, but for you.
Do your job Santa.
Give us coal.

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