Sunday, May 19, 2013

Apologies, and other positions for accountability

For the holiday weekend following a week of scandal featuring Senators and Mayors, a reminder of the irresponsibility of the mundane in Ontario's continuing electricity sector/Queen's Park saga

On May 14th, Ontario's Premier appeared on television to offer an apology, of sorts, to people who wanted an apology:
"I am very sorry about the mistakes that we made ... I take responsibility for putting a process in place that ensures this won't happen again..."
"... the people of Ontario need to hear I'm sorry because I am sorry that we didn't have a better process up front, I'm sorry that we didn't site those gas plants better, and that's why a new protocol needs to be in place"
The Premier directed the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) "develop a new regional energy planning process based on formal input from municipalities, communities and the energy sector."

The Oakville plant was sourced largely due to work by the IESO in establishing the need for generation in the area, with the particular siting the result of the procurement by the OPA.  Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health couldn't find evidence the plant would "negatively impact the health of area residents."

I can't find any evidence the Premier's directive won't further politicize the bureaucracy - using public offices as a means of avoiding political accountability.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath has some bureaucratic solutions to strengthen fiscal accountability
...Horwath says people want to see a Budget that’s balanced and accountable to ensure that public money is invested wisely. That’s why she’s proposing a Financial Accountability Office to provide independent oversight and public information about government spending.
Horwath took the Premier's apology on the gas plant as indicative that NDP braying on the gas plant issues had been effective in goading the Premier into meaningless action.

The Premier's empty action was demanded due to, in part, an openness in reporting structures instituted much earlier.  The figures now generally accepted on the gas plant scandal are similar to those long estimated by the independent minds outside of the government (Bruce Sharp and Tom Adams) - the data made available by the IESO, and the OPA's provision of easy access to Ministerial directives and other documentation are bones upon which some body of accountability has been shaped.

On May 15, around the same time the provincial NDP's alleged leader was taking credit for the meaningless apology of the Premier, the IESO was posting, presumably having received the tally from the OPA, final figures for April's Global Adjustment: the figure is $50 million higher than the estimate provided from the same organizations only 2 weeks earlier.

$50 million unexplained dollars pushed the commodity rate up more than 12% over April 2012.

The Ontario Power Authority was formed in 2005 to implement long-term planning for Ontario's electricity system.
It has not - primarily through no fault of it's own, but it has not.

The prorogue of the legislature in fall 2012 - to avoid accountability for the gas plant decisions - saw the death of legislation to kill the OPA.  Since that time it's become comical how often the OPA has released all requested documents only to find other documents.

The Chairman of the Board of the OPA is a problem.  Appearing before the legislative committee Jim Hinds explained the inability to release documents, in his introductory comments, with the explanation that "We are in the business of producing electricity and not producing documents."
The OPA is not in the business of producing electricity - they do function to procure the supply of electricity. Presumably a competence in handling - and producing - documentation would be helpful.

Particularly,  If you felt it important to get within $50 million a month on your billing estimates.

Regardless, the documents that were released convinced me that the people who work at the OPA were disregarded in negotiations, with a key document being an e-mail from Hinds laying out the path that would eventually chosen to resolve the cancellation of the plant in Oakville (page 303-304 of large .pdf).  With the long-term contracting of the existing OPG Lennox plant since done, by the OPA, Hinds is exposed as working against the competency of his organization as a strictly political operative of the governing party.

The Chief Executive Officer of the OPA is Colin Andersen; as his tenure began in September 2008, it encompasses the entirety of the contracting, cancellation and planned relocation of the Oakville generating station.  In Andersen's latest visit to the legislative committee, he produced a study the OPA - Ontario's experts in system planning and procurement - had commissioned in order to provide a more credible estimate than it could produce (and to pre-empt a report to be made by the Auditor General on the same topic).

What position mightd improve accountability in this environment where the public experts on planning and procurement hire external firms to produce reports to counteract the work of the public auditor:

Wynne's new process?
Horwath's new office?



On Thursday the mayor of Toronto came out speaking negatively about the Premier's negotiating stance regarding the distribution of revenues from a Ontario Lottery and Gaming's proposal for a casino in downtown Toronto.
Hours later the head of OLG would be fired, with the entire board of OLG subsequently resigning as a result.

This provides the only indication of what is required for the Premier's office to act - to agree with the stance of her political opponents.

It is notable that the Premier appointed senior public servants as a new board

This has been a situation at the shell corporation known as the Ontario Electricity Financing Authority - where the design has been useful in politicizing the operations in order to protect the incumbent governing party (see Stranded Debt - Abandoned Responsibility )


  1. Short of surgery, which is a very invasive and humiliating procedure, the only reliable way
    of treating ED without having to worry about any debilitating side effects would be seeking out herbal erectile dysfunction
    pills. It works by driving more blood to the penis
    which in turns leading to a bigger and stronger erections.
    Fortunately, Vig - RX was able to do just that and more.

    Here is my site; vigrx plus

  2. Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering
    your situation; many of us have developed
    some nice practices and we are looking to
    swap solutions with others, be sure to shoot me an email if interested.

    my homepage :: discount auto insurance quotes

  3. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have be mindful your stuff previous to and you're simply extremely fantastic. I really like what you've got right here, certainly like what you are saying and the
    way in which by which you are saying it. You are making it entertaining and you continue to care for to keep it sensible.
    I can not wait to read far more from you.
    That is actually a great website.

    Also visit my web site :: gen 20 plus hgh

  4. Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok. I'm absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward
    to new updates.

    my web blog ... buy saffron extract

  5. Very nice article, just what I was looking for.

    My blog post;

  6. Hello, I enjoy reading all of your article post.

    I like to write a little comment to support you.

    Review my webpage ... acid reflux remedies

  7. When someone writes an piece of writing he/she retains the image of a user in his/her brain that how a user can understand
    it. Therefore that's why this post is amazing. Thanks!

    My blog post :: how to treat acid reflux ()

  8. Good day! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

    Also visit my blog post ... Paint technique

  9. Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the issues.
    It was truly informative. Your site is very useful.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Feel free to surf to my web page; gaco Magnum

  10. When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added-
    checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I recieve
    4 emails with the same comment. Is there a way you are able
    to remove me from that service? Many thanks!

    Feel free to visit my web site ... whole body cleanse

  11. Good way of describing, and good paragraph to take data concerning my presentation subject,
    which i am going to deliver in institution of higher education.

    Here is my blog: cleanse the colon

  12. I think the admin of this website is in fact working
    hard for his web site, because here every data is quality based stuff.

    My homepage acid reflux remedies (

  13. Hi to all, the contents existing at this site are truly
    remarkable for people experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

    Also visit my site; graco airless

  14. It's very straightforward to find out any matter on web as compared to books, as I found this post at this web page.

    My web-site treating hemorrhoids