Energy lessons from Liberals absolute insult

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I’d hate to have Bob Chiarelli’s nerve in a tooth.

Chiarelli is Ontario’s energy minister.

This week he pretty much told residents of the province to quit their whining and figure out ways to reduce their own electricity use and therefore their power bills. Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with each of us trying to cut costs through energy conservation.

But it is totally unfair that we have to wear mitts and a toque to watch Duck Dynasty while at least two of Chiarelli’s compatriots enjoy all the spoils of being members of the legislature at our expense.

Remember, the Liberals bought wins in a handful of ridings in the last election with $1.1 billion of our money by moving power plants out of Oakville and Mississauga where the residents didn’t care for them.

The minister essentially thumbed his nose at any concerns we might have about that and at consumers in general when he announced a new program called “Empowering Consumers Through Energy Literacy.” The subhead: “Province launches new interactive resource.”

That may sound impressive, but the resource is nothing but a section on the ministry’s website where visitors can learn about energy. Here’s a quote from the minister that also appears on the site: “We’ve heard one consistent message from energy consumers, Ontarians and partners: Improving public energy literacy is vital. It’s a message we’ve heard from others, including the environmental commissioner, the auditor general and the recommendations of the Drummond Report (on reducing government spending). This web feature is a step forward to address this challenge.”

The site does address the challenge and does so quite effectively — if you’re a six-year-old.

The site even has a cute title that would appeal to six-year-olds: “emPower Me.”

Always wanting to be empowered, I clicked to learn about the value of conservation.

There I was told (I hope you’re sitting down for this earth-shattering news) that if I use less energy I’ll have a smaller bill for electricity.

The video on how electricity gets to me made it clear it comes through wires — big wires on those great, big transmission towers and smaller wires to the plugs in the wall.

Apparently that’s because the electricity flowing through the bigger wires on those big towers is too strong to be brought directly into the house. Who knew? With this kind of learning pace, I couldn’t bear to watch “What is a kilowatt hour,” “How is electricity made?” or “What is the smart grid?”

After all, the human brain can only stand so many earth-shattering lessons at one time.

The ministry website also goes on and on about all the wonderful things Ontario is doing in the field of renewable energy.

However, I could find no list of the individual rights that have been trampled in the selection process for wind turbine sites. The only mention of this fiasco is under a different name, the “Green Energy Act.”

It’s hard to keep track of the number of files that have been mishandled by this government. But energy is probably the worst of the worst. Instead of trying to fix that, the fumbling just goes on and on.

Our message back to the minister should be this: It isn’t that we don’t understand electricity, its production, transmission and use. What we don’t understand is how such simple, straightforward activities could be made so complex and expensive by this government.

So quit insulting our intelligence with elementary school lessons, get your party to pay back the $1.1 billion it looted from us for political gain and let’s get things back on track.

jmerriam@bmts.com

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