Money Squandering or Money Laundering?

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

What would you call it if I offered you a handsome sum of money, like $billion$, to set up your business in Ontario? Perhaps you and I could call it ‘job creation’ to make it sound nicey-nice. Then what if I sweetened the deal by guaranteeing to buy ALL of your company’s production for the next 20 years? This is getting even better for you. But that’s not the end of it. What if I offered to pay you MORE than the normal market price for your product, AND guarantee to buy ALL your product whether I could use it or not? And to top it all off what if I offered to pay you for producing the product, even if you don’t produce it?

Well most folks, including Samsung apparently, would call that a heck of a ‘sweetheart deal’.

Except the taxpayers and the electricity customers.
windfarmONTARIO
But you haven’t heard the best part of the deal. The real kicker is that in order to make this all work, the businesses that get this sweetheart deal will be ‘tempted’ to accept the politician’s invitation to dinner. The dinner is hosted by the Liberal Party of Ontario.

So what, you ask? Well you can be sure that this is a wonderful dinner … and the tickets cost $5000.00 each!
moneyenvelope2Who else would be at a high priced table such as this?

What do you want to bet that other ‘guests’ at these dinners include pals from ORNGE, E-Health, Ontario Power Authority, OLG, Education Unions, and of course our friends in the Aggregate industry?

Don’t you think that for the sake of transparency, all dinner ticket purchasers should be listed on a web site for the tax payers of Ontario to see who is benefiting from your taxes, and in turn purchasing influence in our Province?

All that money goes to finance election campaigns. And as long as the money keeps flowing in the circular route described above, and these sorts of politicians keep getting elected, everyone in the ‘laundry’ is happy.

… Unless you are ‘just’ a hard working taxpayer.

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Waking Up to New Realities

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

 

We’re wondering if a ‘tipping point’ has been reached. Is the era of ‘government/industry gangs doing whatever they please’ coming to an end? Will those who have been spending/wasting OUR money finally be forced to consider OUR views and priorities?

There are some hopeful signs.

Take for example the noises being made in opposition to the poorly-thought-out wind farms debacle. Our Ontario government has piled onto a ‘green’ bandwagon, apparently without sober consideration, and signed long term contracts that will mean excessive expenditure of taxpayers’ and hydro customers’ money for many decades into the future. At the same time there will be very little if any benefit to our environment or economy. In fact when all the detrimental effects are considered – to human health, endangered species, and property, to name a few – the negatives far outweigh any alleged positives. It appears that our provincial politicians have signed us up for an experiment that will cost us dearly, with an increasing likelihood that the promise of abundant green energy will prove to be an economic nightmare rather than the anticipated dream-come-true.

A hopeful sign is that a number of municipalities are passing bylaws to try to introduce a measure of prudence and caution to the picture – the ‘measure’ being in many cases a 2km setback from homes, and a number of fees to pay for things like decommissioning and property value losses. Another hopeful sign is a law passed in Denmark where 551 compensation payments have been made to people living next to wind projects with an average amount of 57,000 kroner per household. Real estate agents say the amount is often far below the actual property value loss, while politicians see it as a step in the right direction. The loss-of-value clause was passed by parliament in 2008 at the urging of Dansk Folkeparti (DF) and gave neighbours to wind turbines the opportunity to seek financial compensation for lost property value.

As you can see, internationally, others are way ahead of Ontario. Here, the government set an artificial price on renewable energy, and then slapped a 20-year guarantee on that price. This price-setting structure is called the Feed-In Tariff program (FIT), and the World Trade Organization has struck it down as an illegal subsidy that violates international trade law. Problem is the politicians are playing with OUR money. If their decisions were to turn out correct we will pay MUCH higher prices for energy. If they are incorrect we, and/or our grandchildren still pay, in the form of penalties and lawsuits!

The not-so-hopeful sign is that the affected companies aren’t accepting this situation without a fight. In Ontario we’ve seen threatening letters trying to put a ‘chill’ on local councils. We can be certain that more will follow, and in more industries besides the wind developers.

StMarysMasonryCementbagA recent example of just how successful and profitable this ‘pay us either way’ tactic can be for a developer has occurred in the Aggregate Industry. Not long ago a government Ministerial Zoning Order put a stop to a proposed open-pit quarry application near Carlisle Ontario. The applicant, St. Mary’s Cement, threatened to sue and it cost Ontario taxpayers $15million to settle. So WE paid $15M – a nice profit for St. Mary’s without shipping any stone – and what did we get for our money? Nothing but higher taxes and debts …. and McGuinty avoided facing a subpoena!

So the ‘new reality’ is that people are beginning to wake up and demand that their governments – servants of the people – start to actually serve them! The concept of ‘Full Cost Accounting’ is being actively discussed as a requirement for industrial development proposals, so that only those activities that are environmentally, socially, and economically viable will proceed. To allow continued industrial development to proceed while being heavily subsidized by taxpayers, ratepayers, municipalities and property owners, not to mention the uncalculated costs to environments and species at risk, is just not going to be acceptable any longer.

Politicians who don’t have their head in the sand must recognize these signs and see them as an opportunity to provide leadership in the direction we are already heading.

Help spread the wake up call!

Watch Where You’re Going!

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

Watch out … You may not like what you find down that ‘gravel’ road.

It seems that the whole world has caught some kind of ‘green fever’. Billions of dollars of taxpayers’ hard earned money is being spent chasing green dreams. Virtually all essential industries have been hit – health, energy production, transportation, manufacturing, food production, environment, to name a few. In some few cases we are benefiting economically from new developments. In many other cases things just aren’t working out, except for the favored few who are well connected with politicians who write them massive cheques.

It is industry lobbyists who are writing the scripts and the taxpayers who are paying the shot.

One example of immediate concern to us is the influence wielded by the gravel industry. For many decades they have had their way with very little interference from those who must suffer the negative consequences of their activities. They are the ‘self-monitoring’ people who write the laws, and are in charge of enforcing them, (if you can call their feeble efforts ‘enforcement’).

A recent news article, and industry response, is a small example of where we’re going if we don’t pay close attention. The topic was ‘Recycling’ of aggregates and the journalist asked “Is Recycling Always a Good Thing?

An aggregate industry lobbyist answered with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And in the process dishonestly branded a community group as “opposing recycling” when the truth is the group – PitSense –  is emphatically in favour of recycling … but in a manner that makes SENSE! Then, when members of that group sought to refute the lobbyist’s false accusation, the newspaper refused to publish their letters.

Why is this upsetting? Could it be because the public is being lulled, with help from a media that lacks balance, into believing that the aggregate industry is only thinking of what’s best for Ontarians? Well just consider for a few minutes an example of what the folks at PitSense are concerned about …

Do YOU know what is in this massive pile of demolition debris? ….

demolition1 Does aggregate lobbyist Moreen Miller know? Does she even care, or does she just want to be paid handsomely to say it’s OK to drop this junk 6 feet away from sources of drinking water, while pretending to be doing the ‘any recycling is good’ thing? demolition2

These pictures are from the demolition site of the old Brampton Hospital. Lord only knows what toxic junk is in this mess. Do we want this stuff recycled? YES, of course. But … are people who have not demonstrated any idea of how to do it responsibly the best ones to do it? NO. Are below-water-table pits in rural residential areas a suitable location for storage and/or processing of this stuff? NOOOO!

But are there truckloads of money to be made here? HELL YES, which is why lobbyists like Moreen Miller are willing to bend the truth more than a little when representing her powerful industry in their pursuit of profits.

We repeat – let’s keep our eyes open and WATCH WHERE WE’RE GOING – or we may end up in a very nasty place.

Imagination … Do you have any?

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

imagination

 

Can you ‘imagine’ a ‘nation’

–   where Ontario’s Minister of Health, Hon. Deb Matthews, was actually ‘honourable’ enough to do something to enforce the legislation she is responsible for? Imagine if those thousands of seniors suffering grievous abuse in extended care homes, and their families, could actually be protected and obtain justice when the expected care isn’t provided. See: http://www.ctvnews.ca/w5/nursing-home-residents-at-risk-w5-investigation-reveals-startling-national-statistics-1.1149215

–   where the government actually respected the fact the ‘Crown Land’ is owned by the people of Canada, and then realistically consulted the ‘owners’ before selling or leasing the use of Crown Lands to favored private applicants to enable their friends to make many millions in profits? See: http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2012/12/16/crown-land-up-for-wind-destruction/

–  where our Ministry of Environment (MOE) did more than ‘pass the buck’ when asked by worried residents to investigate and remedy a toxic fuel spill like the one at the Tottenham Pit near Palgrave? See: http://www.caledonenterprise.com/news-story/1373538-silence-follows-contradictions-at-tottenham-pit/

–  where the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) stopped denying and dragging their feet regarding the serious negative impacts on property values near wind farms and open pit aggregate mines? See: http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/02/08/mpac-waiting-on-turbine-study/

–  where the MNR stopped issuing aggregate extraction licenses to operators who are clearly not in compliance with regulations? See: http://www.caledonenterprise.com/opinion-story/1372539-ministry-should-deny-pit-application/

– where an elected representative, such as Chris Bentley, and his political party, would be unable to deny responsibility for egregious abuse of public funds, and then evade legal consequences by proroguing and resigning from the legislature? See: http://www.lfpress.com/2013/02/08/chris-bentley-resigning-as-mpp

–    where an accountable and transparent Ontario Hydro would cease collecting a  ‘Debt Retirement Charge’ after the debt is paid off? See: http://www.thestar.com/business/2011/12/28/hydro_debt_retirement_charge_reporting_proposed_in_ontario.html

–    where there would be the same regulations for both the ‘ruled’ and the ‘rulers’? For example is it OK for a Bald Eagle’s nest to be destroyed by the MNR, while private citizens are fined $10,000 for removing trees ‘near’ a nest? See: http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2013/01/09/mpp-wants-answers-on-eagle-eviction

–    where there would be some way for the beleaguered taxpayers of Ontario to recover $millions from the likes of Chris Mazza of ORNGE infamy? See: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/02/09/chris_mazza_of_ornge_got_46_million_in_two_years.html

We could go on.

What do all these anecdotes, and related LINKS, have in common? Can you shout out loud things like: ‘waste’, ‘corruption’, ‘scandal’, ‘cronyism’, ‘incompetence’, and __________, and__________, and _________ , … you fill in the blanks!

Unless we raise our voices and demand ethical governments and bureaucracies, we are sure to see more of the same. Don’t you think it’s time we demanded ‘response-ability’ to go with responsibility?

Or are we imagining things?