This spring many of our neighbours signed a petition requesting the Ontario Legislature to
“. . . ask the Government of Ontario to submit the subject of a national policy on renewable energy for consideration at the August 2013 EMMC Conference (the Energy and Mines Minister’s Conference) and exercise leadership in developing this policy in conjunction with the Government of Canada and other Provinces and the Territories, and report to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario after this Conference on steps to be taken to develop a policy for Renewable Energy in Canada.”
Naturally we communicated our intention before we set about knocking on doors to collect signatures.
We sent this email to the constituency office of our Member of Provincial Parliament, who happens to be Premier Kathleen Wynne.
“Dear Premier Wynne,
I am writing as a voter in your riding and on behalf of For Our Grandchildren, an organization of seniors who focus in the issue of climate change.
At our climate forum last year Glenn Murray was one of the speakers, and we have sent him an email on the subject of our organization’s Petition on Renewable Energy. We will be submitting a Petition on Renewable Energy to the Federal Parliament and the Ontario Government in the form attached. The petition seeks the formation of a national policy on Renewable Energy, which is an explicit recommendation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
We have previously petitioned the Federal Government concerning Renewable Energy without success. We have chose a joint petition as we need the help of the Ontario Government to see that the Federal Government does not just quietly drop our request that the issue be discussed at the next Provincial – Energy forum. We will be approaching various Federal Members of Parliament to garner their support. We trust that we can count on yours. “
We received this response from an executive assistant with the Premier’s constituency office:
“Hello Mr. Jones,
Thank you for sending your email requesting the addition of the Premier’s signature to your petition. Our apologies for taking so long to get back to you – we are dealing with an increased amount of correspondence.
The government is supportive in the development of a national strategy on renewable energy. In 2007, the Council of the Federation (created in 2003 to promote provincial-territorial cooperation and closer ties between members) adopted a 7-point plan. One point was to facilitate renewable and cleaner energy sources to meet future demand and contribute to environmental goals. This will be a topic of discussion at the July 2013 Council of the Federation summer meeting. (Emphasis added)
We have taken the liberty of sending your petition to the Honourable Jim Bradley, Minister of the Environment for his consideration.
Thank you and again, our apologies for the delay.”
At the beginning of April we delivered the original petition to The Premier’s Office, who did not acknowledge receipt of the petition despite several follow- up communications. Her Office did not reject the petition yet Premier Wynne did not submit it to the Legislature for consideration.
Ontario was the host of the recent Council of the Federation Meeting and Premier Kathleen Wynne was the chair. Unlike many Council Meetings in previous years, Canadian Energy Strategy was not on the agenda and was not the subject of comment in the formal report of the meeting, despite the promise in the email we received from her Constituency Office.
Here is what Environmental Defense Canada had to say about the lack of serious progress towards a Canadian Energy Strategy at the Council Meeting:
“Canadians strongly support a climate and energy strategy. Indeed, in a recent poll, 87 per cent of respondents agreed that ‘The nation needs a Canadian climate and energy strategy to plan its energy future.’ And the inclusion of climate change is critical.
Sadly, it seems the premiers didn’t hear this.”
Unless Ontario’s new Minister of Energy acts, the Ministers of Mines and Energy Conference (presided over by Joe Oliver as co-chair) will do nothing to remedy the omission of the Premiers.