Be afraid: The brains behind Ontario’s energy disaster are now advising PM – by Graeme Gordon (CBC News Opinion – December 7, 2016)

Phasing out coal, a feverish pursuit of green energy, new tax regimes — where have we heard all this before? It is uncontroversial to call Ontario’s energy situation a disaster. As Premier Kathleen Wynne has herself conceded: Ontarians are now having to “choose between paying the electricity bill and buying food or paying rent.”

Wynne’s polling numbers suggest that most Ontarians know where to square the blame, with a pitiful 15 per cent approval rating and 58 per cent of the electorate believing she should resign.

However, Wynne alone shouldn’t bear the burden for the fact that hydro bills for the average consumer have skyrocketed over recent years; it was former premier Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal team from 2003 to 2012 — including his former principal secretary and “policy guru” Gerald Butts — who set Ontario on this financially bleak, dead-end road. And now, Butts is headed on the same path, leading not the premier, but the prime minister, on the way down.

‘The brains behind the operation’

Butts was, according to the Toronto Star, “the man they call ‘the brains behind the operation'” and the “policy architect of the Liberal government since 2003.” Butts departed from McGuinty’s government in 2008, but not before he and the Ontario Liberal team set the stage for the ill-fated Green Energy Act, in part, by signing onto dubious wind power projects and its cripplingly inefficient Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program (RESOP).

For those thinking Butts cannot be held responsible for the Ontario hydro plights of today and tomorrow, many past articles give — and Butts himself takes — credit for initially enacting and seeing through those energy policies. As the Toronto Star reported in 2012: “On his biography page at the WWF website, Butts cites how he was ‘intimately’ involved with the McGuinty government’s environmental initiatives.”

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