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


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.

Resource-based industries such as mining and forestry, of course, are among the highest consumers of electricity.

There is no telling, of course, how many potential jobs have been lost in recent years as companies that considered setting up shop in Timmins opted instead to set down roots in Quebec.

“There are real hardships and I continue to call on the premier and the legislature to recognize we have a crisis here,” Brown said during his Timmins visit. “Things can’t continue like this, and it’s particularly challenging in places like Northern Ontario. I hope Kathleen Wynne will take the PC Party’s advice and take this seriously.”

Brown wants the province to stop the “fire sale” of Hydro One, rip up the Green Energy Act and to pull out of a series of 30 power generation deals that require the province to sell off surplus energy.

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