Archive | Ontario Economy

Ontario manufacturers eye greener pastures stateside as hydro rates go through the roof – by Peter Kuitenbrouwer (Financial Post – March 16, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Jocelyn Bamford, a white hard hat perched over red hair that curls down around her shoulders, has her hands on her hips. Behind safety glasses, her eyes flash. On the shop floor in the bustling Automatic Coating Inc. plant owned by her family, she has to shout to be heard above the squirt of compressed air nozzles, honks from forklifts, the clang of steel as it’s dipped in baths, and the hum of exhaust fans.

Bamford might be shouting regardless of the noise since the hydro bill for her Toronto-based company has her mad as hell. Once boasting one of the continent’s lowest electricity rates, Ontario today has some of the highest and that has many industrial companies planning to move at least some operations to the United States.

“The government treats us like bourgeois sweatshop operators who have to be stopped,” said Bamford, who has organized dozens of medium-sized companies into the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers of Ontario. “All the businesses are terrified of the government. My husband said, ‘Well, do you just want to pick up and go?’ And I said, ‘Well, I guess I gotta just stay and fight.’ I feel like I’m the Norma Rae of manufacturing.” Continue Reading →

Wynne’s carbon crap shoot – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – March 4, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

The California/Quebec cap and trade market Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is counting on to fund her $8.3-billion climate action plan just crashed, again. This is the highly speculative carbon trading stock market Ontario will join next year that Wynne is relying on to fatten her government’s coffers by $1.9 billion annually.

This so it can fund its various and sundry green energy initiatives, such as subsidizing Ontario’s electricity rates by up to $1.3 billion – which isn’t actually a green energy initiative.

The problem now confronting Wynne is that in three of the last four quarterly auctions under the California/Quebec cap and trade carbon pricing scheme, only a fraction of the available carbon permits have been bought by industrial greenhouse gas emitters. Continue Reading →

Excluded from Ontario’s hydro cuts, firms say they can’t compete – by Shawn McCarthy and Greg Keenan (Globe and Mail – March 3, 2017)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne unveiled a new hydro plan Thursday that targets lower residential rates but provides only modest relief to industrial customers who say soaring electricity costs are driving business out of the province.

Through legislation it intends to pass before summer, the provincial Liberal government will cut residential rates by 25 per cent, including a previously announced 8-per-cent reduction. The plan also promises deep price cuts to rural and remote customers who faced dramatic increases over the past decade, and will boost subsidies for low-income households.

Business customers will not benefit from reduced rates but will instead see an expanded rebate program for those that can shift their consumption to off-peak hours. Companies in Northern Ontario and rural areas will also benefit from a reduction in delivery charges that have driven up bills in less-populated regions. Continue Reading →

Kathleen Wynne’s sleazy, desperate hydro ploy to fool Ontarians is, well, brilliant – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – March 2, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Ontario’s Liberal government is already being savaged for its latest scheme to quell the provincial outrage over out-of-control electricity rates. Even before the plan was official, the details that were leaked to the Toronto Star — reporting that power-bill costs would be “smoothed out” by rearranging contracts at lower rates, but longer periods — were being called a “shell game” by the opposition.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation complained that “spreading the cost … over more years, doesn’t solve the problem” but would just cost more in the long term. Sun Columnist Lorrie Goldstein called it “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

That is surely all true. As Kathleen Wynne confirmed in unveiling the plan Thursday, long-suffering Ontarians will be made to suffer even longer with extended contracts. Other costs will be shifted from hydro bills to taxes, costing the province another $2 billion a year it doesn’t have, after already rebating the provincial sales tax on power or, more accurately, paying for it with other provincial taxes, instead. Continue Reading →

In Ontario, the taxpayers sustain Wynne’s green energy perpetual motion disaster – by Rex Murphy (National Post – February 25, 2017)

http://news.nationalpost.com/

There’s more than a touch of Oprah in our Prime Minister. Substitute town halls for studio audiences and you get a little of the flavour of his recent hopscotch to various venues across the country.

He loves – and why should he not? – being on stage in front of people who (mainly) like or idolize him, and he’s quick, like the great Eminence Herself, on his emotional feet. By far the most affecting moment of his grand tour, interestingly on “the catastrophe and heel” of his (originally) covert stay on the yacht of his buddy the Aga Khan, came in Peterborough, Ont.

There, somewhat in the manner of the Biblical Ruth, a woman “stood in tears” as she recounted to the Prime Minister, whom she both liked and supported, how her hydro bill was now competing with her mortgage payment. “Something is wrong now, Mr. Trudeau,” she told him and the assembled crowd. Continue Reading →

‘Alternate hydro facts’ ring of truth – by Thomas Perry (Timmins Daily Press – February 18, 2017)

http://www.timminspress.com/

TIMMINS – Listening to Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown and Liberal Energy Minister Glen Thibeault go back and fourth on the province’s hydro rates brings to mind a misattributed catchphrase from a 1960s television show.

Despite common belief, Det.-Sgt. Joe Friday’s monotone voice never actually proclaimed: “Just the facts, ma’am,” on any episode of the popular Dragnet. That line was actually featured in Stan Freberg’s works parodying the show. Having said that, Brown was clearly preaching to the choir while in Timmins on Thursday.

After all, this community lost hundreds of jobs when Xstrata made the decision to close its met site in May of 2010 and ship ore to Quebec for processing. Quebec, like Manitoba to the west, has much more economical electricity rates, which was certainly a factor when Xstrata made its decision. Continue Reading →

Wynne’s carbon schemes won’t reduce emissions – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – February 13, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

Of all the expensive and inefficient ways to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change, government subsidies to electric vehicle buyers are among the worst.

So of course Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government is doubling down on them, by restoring a public subsidy of up to $14,000 for Ontarians who can afford to pay up to $150,000 for, say, a Tesla.

This shows that all the Wynne government is interested in when it comes to carbon pricing is to take more money out of the pockets of average Ontarians through its $1.9 billion a year cap and trade scheme, and blow it on vote-buying subsidies like this one. Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: Liberal hot air on coal plants shutdown (Toronto Sun – January 21, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

It’s obvious why Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government was anxious to discredit a report by the Fraser Institute last week that Ontario’s closure of its five coal-fired electricity plants did not significantly improve provincial air quality.

That decision cost Ontario taxpayers billions of dollars and helped to send electricity rates skyrocketing, because coal is a cheap form of energy.

The problem for the Liberals is that if the report by economists Ross McKitrick and Elmira Aliakbari is accurate, it discredits the Liberals’ claim their closure of the coal plants saved taxpayers $3 billion a year in health costs, $4.4 billion when environmental costs are added in.

The Liberals have always claimed closing Ontario’s coal plants has saved thousands of lives and prevented thousands of hospitalizations due to pollution. Continue Reading →

Buying Quebec hydro power a dim prospect for Ontarians – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – January 13, 2017)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The Green Energy Act was written by Liberal-friendly renewable energy
lobbyists who managed to persuade the former Dalton McGuinty government
that there were big political dividends in making Ontario a wind and
solar powerhouse….As long as this madness goes on, instead of common-
sense energy planning, it’ll be one (price) shock after another for Ontarians.

U.S. wholesale electricity prices hit record lows in 2016 to the delight of millions of residential and industrial power customers who pay rates tied to the spot market. Cheap natural gas, which displaced coal as the main source of U.S. power generation last year, boosted the competitiveness of U.S. industrial power users and even led to a drop in residential electricity rates.

In October, U.S. residential electricity prices averaged 12.5 cents (U.S.) per kilowatt-hour, or about 16.5 cents (Canadian), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That may not sound like a bargain compared to Ontario, until you consider it is an all-in price that includes distribution and transmission costs, as well as taxes. It also marks a 2.1-per-cent price drop from 2015. Continue Reading →

Davos: The Rich Are Worried – by Gwynne Dyer (Gwynne Dyer Website – January 18, 2017)

http://gwynnedyer.com/

“I can’t wait to see how the incoming administration deals with AI (artificial intelligence),” said US Secretary of State John Kerry, in a less-than-gracious reference to the fact that the Trump team hasn’t got a clue about the real driving force in the changing world economy.

What was striking was that Kerry didn’t have to clarify his remark for the 2,000 “global leaders” – politicians, bureaucrats, business representatives and public intellectuals – who are in the Swiss alpine town of Davos for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF). They all know what he’s talking about.

This year’s Davos gathering is actually focused on the rise of populism and simple-minded attacks on globalisation (Donald Trump, Brexit et al.). That’s only to be expected, since the world’s ultra-rich are potentially threatened by that sort of thing. But they didn’t get rich by being stupid, and they have a fairly sophisticated analysis of what’s causing it. Continue Reading →

Turns out Ontario’s painful coal phase-out didn’t help pollution — and Queen’s Park even knew it wouldn’t – by Ross McKitrick (Financial Post – January 18, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Ross McKitrick is a professor of economics at the University of Guelph and a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute. His study “Did the Coal Phase-Out Reduce Ontario Air Pollution” is available at fraserinstitute.ca.

The federal Liberal government plans to impose a national coal phase-out, based on the same faulty arguments used in Ontario — namely that such a move will yield significant environmental benefits and reduce health-care costs. One problem: those arguments never made sense, and now with the Ontario phase-out complete, we can verify not only that they were invalid but that the Ontario government knew it.

Together with Fraser Institute economist Elmira Aliakbari, I just published a study on the coal phase-out in Ontario and its effects on air pollution over the 2002–14 interval. Our expectation was that we would find very little evidence for pollution reductions associated with eliminating coal. This expectation arose from two considerations.

First, ample data at the time showed that coal use had little effect on Ontario air quality. Environment Canada’s emissions inventories showed that the Ontario power generation sector was responsible for only a tiny fraction (about one per cent) of provincial particulate emissions, a common measure of air pollution. Continue Reading →

Ontario’s plan: destroy jobs, save the planet – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – January 4, 2017)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Here in clean, green Ontario, where the ambitions of our government know no bounds, a bright new year has dawned. Gasoline is likely to rise by 4.3 cents a litre. Your hydro bill is going up. You’ll pay more for natural gas, too.

But don’t feel blue. You are helping save the planet. All of these higher costs are part of the government’s new cap-and-trade scheme, a vast multibillion-dollar enterprise that is designed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by redistributing tons of money to big emitters in California and subsidy-seekers here at home.

Unfortunately, the timing is terrible – especially for an increasing number of small- and medium-sized business owners, who can’t figure out how to make a living here any more. Continue Reading →

Beware of desperate politicians seeking ‘environmental legacies’ – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – December 22, 2016)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Here’s to wishing all Canada’s provincial and federal leaders much success, prosperity and terrific polling numbers for 2017. Let us hope they all sail comfortably through the new year on high approval numbers from their voters. Because as Canadians — and now Americans — are learning, there is little more dangerous than a political leader with nothing to lose.

On Tuesday, after eight years of stifling U.S. economic growth, Barack Obama announced yet another round of rules to restrict oil and gas, this time ordering vast expanses of the Arctic and Atlantic seaboard “indefinitely off limits” to new offshore oil and gas exploration.

The reasoning was supposedly “the important, irreplaceable values of … Arctic waters for Indigenous, Alaska Native and local communities’ subsistence and cultures, wildlife and wildlife habitat, and scientific research (and) the vulnerability of these ecosystems to an oil spill,” according to a White House statement. Continue Reading →

Faced with soaring energy bills, Ontario businesses demand ‘love’ from Queen’s Park – by Chris Selley (National Post – December 21, 2016)

http://news.nationalpost.com/

TORONTO — The Ontario Liberals’ electricity price nightmare has plenty of human faces: middle-class parents, gainfully employed, struggling to pay for an essential utility. The opposition attack ads in 2018 will practically write themselves: Ontarians have endured a more-than-70-per-cent rate hike over a decade, driven mostly by production costs that were the direct result of Liberal decisions.

Through 2014, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk found last year, the system extracted $37 billion extra from Ontarians’ pockets. The nightmare might soon have a more recognizable corporate face. A group of small-to-medium-sized businesses calling itself the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers of Ontario invited reporters on a tour of Leland Industries’ fasteners plant in Scarborough on Tuesday.

There were the good-paying blue-collar jobs. And here was a group of employers saying Ontario’s electric bills, and its forthcoming cap-and-trade system, were pushing them toward the brink. Continue Reading →

Amazon chooses Montreal for its Canadian data centre operations due to cheaper hydro costs than Ontario – by Vito Pilieci (National Post – December 20, 2016)

http://news.nationalpost.com/

Internet giant Amazon Web Services has opened a cluster of data centres near Montreal due to the ready availability and cost of hydro-electric power in Quebec.

The company, which is notoriously secretive about its data centres, said there are now at least two data centres just outside Montreal to offer web-based services to the “Canada Region.” Canada joins 15 other regions around the globe from which Amazon is running data services on behalf of clients.

Teresa Carlson, vice-president of public sector with Amazon Web Services, said the cost and availability of hydro-electric power is ultimately what made Amazon choose Quebec as its Canadian home. “We picked the area that we did because of the hydro power,” said Carlson. “We did find them (Quebec) to be very business friendly.” Continue Reading →