STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES AFFAIRES GOUVERNEMENTALES
Monday 5 October 2015 Lundi 5 octobre 2015
The committee met at 1400 in committee room 2.
Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act, 2015 Loi de 2015 sur l’abandon du charbon pour un air plus propre
Consideration of the following bill:
Bill 9, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act to require the cessation of coal use to generate electricity at generation facilities / Projet de loi 9, Loi modifiant la Loi sur la protection de l’environnement pour exiger la cessation de l’utilisation du charbon pour produire de l’électricité dans les installations de production.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): It being 2 o’clock, I shall call the Standing Committee on General Government to order. I’d like to welcome all members of the committee and all members of the public and delegations here this afternoon.
I would like to inform the committee that we do have an order from the House which allows for two days of public hearings. Today will be the first day, followed by Wednesday. The deadline for written submissions would be Wednesday, October 7, at 6 p.m. Any amendments to the bill should be filed with the Clerk by 12, noon, the following day, which would be Thursday, October 8.
Today we’re here to deal with the public hearing aspect of Bill 9, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act to require the cessation of coal use to generate electricity at generation facilities.
I just want to inform members of the committee that we did have a request by a filming crew, which is called the Climate Reality Project. They have requested that they film the proceedings here. This is through the Clean Air Alliance. I believe Mr. Jack Gibbons is the star of the production and he would be our first delegation. So I’m just asking members of the committee if there is consent to filming here this afternoon and if we have any questions or comments. I believe it would be just the first presentation that would be filmed.
Yes, Mr. Hatfield?
Mr. Percy Hatfield: Thank you, Chair. Good afternoon. I think the correct terminology is “tape.” I don’t think they use film anymore.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Is that right? I stand corrected. We shall use tape in the future. So there is no opposition from the members of the committee? We do have consent, yes? Okay, very good. We shall proceed.
Ontario Clean Air Alliance
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): At this time, I would like to call our first presenter this afternoon, who is comfortably in the chair, ready to roll: Mr. Jack Gibbons, from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. Welcome, sir. You have five minutes for your presentation, followed by nine minutes of questioning from the three parties. That will be the process we’ll use for all delegations. Welcome. The floor is yours, sir.
Mr. Jack Gibbons: Thank you very much, Mr. Crack, and members of the committee. The Clean Air Alliance was established in 1997 to advocate for a complete phase-out of our five dirty coal-fired power plants. We worked on that campaign every day for the next 17 years until the final one was phased out on April 8, 2014.
Needless to say, we are very strong supporters of Bill 9, which, if approved, would put the final nail in the coffin for dirty coal-fired electricity generation in Ontario.
Today, I think it’s important to remember that the recent coal phase-out that we achieved last year was actually Ontario’s second coal phase-out. We phased out coal for the first time at the beginning of the last century, thanks to Sir Adam Beck and Ontario Hydro. Sir Adam Beck and Ontario Hydro developed our water power resources at the beginning of the last century, and as a result, they created a virtually 100% renewable electricity grid that lasted for almost 50 years. The move to a renewable grid was combined with steadily declining electricity rates for 50 years. For example, residential rates fell from five cents a kilowatt hour in 1914 to one cent a kilowatt hour in 1944, an 80% reduction.
Unfortunately, in the 1960s, the old Ontario Hydro turned its back on water power. It turned its back on low-cost water power and started building dirty coal-fired power plants and high-cost nuclear power plants. As a result, our rates started to rise, and they’ve been rising ever since.
The Lakeview coal-fired power plant in Mississauga came into service in 1962. It was the largest air polluter in the GTA. The Nanticoke coal-fired power plant came into service on Lake Erie in 1973. It was the largest coal plant in North America and Canada’s number one air polluter. In addition, we built three other dirty coal-fired power plants in Sarnia, Thunder Bay and Atikokan, and we built three large nuclear generating stations. Every single one of them went massively over budget, and we’re still paying for those cost overruns on our hydro bill. It’s called the nuclear debt retirement charge.
Then, in 1998, seven of our nuclear reactors were unexpectedly shut down for safety reasons. All of these reactors were shut down for at least five years. Two of them are still shut down. As a result, we had to crank up our dirty coal plants to keep the lights on; we had to crank up the coal plants by 120%. This led to a dramatic increase in air pollution and, as a result, the president of the Ontario Medical Association declared that air pollution had become a public health crisis in Ontario.
The good news is that the political system responded quickly and decisively to deal with this public health crisis. In 1999, Howard Hampton and the NDP, during the election, called for an 83% coal phase-out. Dalton McGuinty called for a 100% coal phase-out. In 2000, Mayor Hazel McCallion called for the phase-out of coal-burning at Lakeview. In 2001, Elizabeth Witmer, the then Minister of the Environment, issued a legally binding regulation requiring the phase-out of coal-burning at Lakeview. In 2002, the Ernie Eves government committed the province of Ontario to a complete coal phase-out by 2015. In 2003, Dalton McGuinty was elected Premier of Ontario and Dalton McGuinty, God bless him, did the heavy lifting that made the coal phase-out in 2014 possible.
Now that we’ve phased out coal, Ontario’s electricity system is at a crossroads because most of our aging nuclear reactors will come to the end of their lives during the next 10 years. As a result, we have a unique opportunity to rebuild our electric power system from the ground up, and we have two choices. We can rebuild 10 aging nuclear reactors and remain dependent on high-cost and unreliable nuclear power until 2060 and beyond, or we can lower our bills and move once again towards a 100% renewable electricity grid by importing water power from Quebec, by investing in energy efficiency and by investing in cost-effective, made-in-Ontario green energy.
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, we need a new generation of political leaders who will have the guts to say no to the nuclear special interest lobby and seize this opportunity to lower our electricity bills and create for our great province, once again, a 100% renewable electricity grid. Thank you for your attention.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Gibbons. We shall start the three-minute questioning from each party with the official opposition: Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you for being here. It’s good to see you again, Mr. Gibbons.
Mr. Jack Gibbons: It’s good to see you.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I appreciate the fact that you recognized it was the PC Party of Ontario that closed the first coal plant. Elizabeth Witmer is from Huron county, so I certainly appreciate all her efforts and true values and principles that led her to moving in that direction, along with our party.
During your presentation, I appreciated all of your comments. There was one thing that stuck with me, though. You mentioned that nuclear power was unreliable, and I was wondering if you could clarify that for me.
Mr. Jack Gibbons: Okay. Well, I can give you two examples. As I mentioned, in 1998, seven of them were unexpectedly shut down. All of them were shut down for at least five years, and that led to the huge increase in coal generation.
Also, if you will remember back to the 2003 blackout—because of our heavy dependence on unreliable nuclear power, it took over eight days for Ontario’s power grid to be fully returned to normal operations—eight days. On the other hand, in New York state they returned their power grid to full normal operation in less than two days. That’s because New York wasn’t dependent on these unreliable Candu nuclear reactors.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. I appreciate your historical perspective, but I feel it’s important to recognize that when you take a look at baseload energy production in Ontario today, would you not agree that at this time nuclear energy is that baseload reliable source that we have in this province?
Mr. Jack Gibbons: I certainly agree that it’s a baseload source, but most of those reactors are coming to the end of their lives and we need to find new solutions that will lower our electricity rates, and we think that water power imports from Quebec are the best new source of baseload supply.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. Interesting. Thank you for that. One last question: From our perspective in doing our research, it looks like Bill 9 doesn’t address how to reduce the use of coal in private industry. What are your comments on that?
Mr. Jack Gibbons: That’s true. Our campaign was just focused on the five dirty coal plants that were electricity-generating plants. Our campaign was not, for example, to close down the steel industry, which uses coal as an input.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. Thank you.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Time?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Twenty-four seconds.
Mr. Jim McDonell: My only comment is that it’s a bill that—I wonder why we’re addressing it now when we closed the last plant last year in 2014. There are a lot of priorities in this House as we sit, with a lot of people who are typically unemployed or looking for work. It’s a bill that, as this point, is redundant.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Okay. Thank you very much. We shall move to the third party. Mr. Hatfield.
Mr. Percy Hatfield: Good afternoon. Hi, Jack. Thanks for being here. It’s nice to see you again.
Mr. Jack Gibbons: Thank you.
Mr. Percy Hatfield: My understanding, when we started off talking about Adam Beck, is that back in those days there were not one but two referendums on what Ontario should do: Do you want hydro power or do you not want it?
Mr. Jack Gibbons: Right.
Mr. Percy Hatfield: There was a direct vote of the public. Is that the case?
Mr. Jack Gibbons: I believe you’re correct about the referendums. I’m not exactly sure about all the details. I do know that Sir Adam Beck was the hero who brought us public power and low-cost water power and the 100% renewable grid.
Mr. Percy Hatfield: I only say that, of course, because some parties have been calling for a referendum on selling off hydro. It’s always good to remind ourselves of our past and our history and how we got here and so on.
The Liberal government is always big on open and transparent—buzzwords. How open and transparent are the discussions or negotiations on the improvements coming for Darlington?
Mr. Jack Gibbons: I don’t think they’re very open or transparent. I believe OPG is preparing what’s supposed to be their final cost estimate for the Darlington rebuild, which they’ll be presenting to the government later in this calendar year, if they haven’t already done so. I haven’t seen it, and I certainly don’t find OPG to be a transparent company.
Mr. Percy Hatfield: Have you had the opportunity to have any input into that discussion?
Mr. Jack Gibbons: We certainly make our views known to whoever will listen to us. We think the Darlington rebuild project is a very high-cost, high-risk project. Ed Clark had said exactly the same thing. So I don’t know why the government and OPG want the project to be 100% financed by Ontario taxpayers, the government to borrow the money for them and put taxpayers and consumers at risk. According to OPG, the project will cost $12.9 billion. Every single nuclear project in Ontario’s history has gone massively over budget—on average, by two and a half times. If that happens with Darlington, we’ll be talking about $30 billion of extra government debt. Why we would want incur up to $30 billion of extra government debt when we could import low-cost clean water power from our next-door neighbour is beyond me.
Mr. Percy Hatfield: What does the energy minister say to you when you suggest the Quebec option?
Mr. Jack Gibbons: He appears to only be interested in looking at it as a temporary stop-gap measure while the reactors are being rebuilt to keep our lights on. We think a much better option is: Don’t use the water power from Quebec just as a stop-gap measure but as a permanent measure to avoid the need for the Darlington rebuild.
Mr. Percy Hatfield: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): We shall move to the government. Mr. Colle.
Mr. Mike Colle: Thank you, Jack. I won’t ask you about Lake Simcoe and how that’s going.
Mr. Jack Gibbons: It’s a continuing fight—hoping for the support of the government of Ontario on that one too.
Mr. Mike Colle: I just want to take time to congratulate leaders like yourself, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, and those in government who did what a lot of people said was impossible. Remember, they would say, “You cannot close all the power plants. It will be the end of power in Ontario. The lights will go out. It’s impossible.” With the advocacy of people like you it was done and here we are, without any of these coal plants. I think people have to remember how difficult it was to get through those years when everybody said you couldn’t do it. It was done.
I just wanted to ask you about the Quebec option. Very little has been put forward on the public agenda about the hydroelectric option with Quebec as an alternative to the rebuild of Darlington. Is it going to take a huge investment in the transmission lines, a new transmission corridor going from James Bay into the GTA—
Mr. Jack Gibbons: Oh, no, absolutely not.
Mr. Mike Colle: So what happens there?
Mr. Jack Gibbons: We already have 2,788 megawatts of interconnection with Quebec, but there would need to be some upgrades to those lines to import enough power to replace Darlington. We need some upgrades to the Hydro One system. It doesn’t involve building new transmission lines but just upgrading the existing ones.
According to the IESO, the cost of those upgrades would be $2 billion. We think they’ve overstated the cost significantly, but let’s assume they’re right. Let’s assume it’s $2 billion for the transmission upgrades to the Hydro One system. If we import water power from Quebec and cancel the Darlington rebuild, our electricity generation costs over 20 years will decline by at least $14 billion. We’ll have an electricity generation cost savings of at least $14 billion. Even if we have to pay $2 billion for transmission lines, we’re still ahead net by $12 billion. It’s a very, very good deal economically.
Mr. Mike Colle: And what about the capacity of the Quebec hydroelectric power? Is there enough? I know Quebec is selling a lot of their hydroelectric power south of the border.
Mr. Jack Gibbons: Right.
Mr. Mike Colle: Will there be enough power to supply Ontario’s needs going forward?
Mr. Jack Gibbons: Yes. Quebec has a large and growing surplus and they are still building the Romaine power project, which will come into full service by 2020, which will increase their surplus even more. Most of their surplus is sold to the United States, over 90% pursuant to short-term contracts that could be diverted to Ontario, and most of their exports are at an average of three cents a kilowatt hour, which is a very low price. There is this tremendous opportunity to buy power from Quebec to avoid the need for the Darlington rebuild.
Mr. Mike Colle: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Gibbons, for coming before committee and sharing your insight. We wish you all the best.
Mr. Jack Gibbons: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Yes, Ms. Thompson?
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Before Mr. Gibbons leaves, I couldn’t help but feel the camera on my notes that I’ve been making. I respectfully asked, when we agreed to taping in this committee, that it would be us and not my personal notes. I request that that be respected. My personal notes are my personal notes and in no way will they ever appear on camera.
Mr. Mike Colle: You can have my personal notes on camera, if you want.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Order, order. That was noticed during the presentation, so out of respect to the committee members, we would ask that the production—
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): We appreciate that the word has been guaranteed. Thank you very much again.
Mr. Jack Gibbons: It’s a very reasonable request. It’s from Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, so they’re a very respectable organization.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Very good. Thank you very much again. We appreciate it.
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Next, from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, we have the director of nursing and health policy, Mr. Tim Lenartowych, and the senior economist—is the senior economist, Kim Jarvi, with us today?
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: He’s not. It’s just me.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Welcome. You have five minutes.
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: Thank you, Mr. Chair. RNAO, of course, is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students within Ontario. We have a long history of demonstrating the connections between the environment and health, and advocating for healthy public policy, including progressive environmental policy. We thank the standing committee for the opportunity to be here today to provide our recommendations and comments on Bill 9.
For many years, RNAO and a number of other groups have advocated to end the burning of coal to generate power within Ontario, so RNAO welcomes this bill, which really prevents backsliding on Ontario’s huge success in stopping the use of coal for generating electricity.
I’d refer you to our written submission that we’ve provided for more details that build upon my remarks today.
I’m going to speak in terms of a review of the health impact of burning coal. The health effects arise from exposure to pollutants. Based on the impacts of coal plant releases of particulate matter and ozone alone, a study from the Ministry of Energy attributed 668 premature deaths due to Ontario’s coal plants.
Coal emissions attack the body in various ways. In terms of the respiratory system, they can affect lung development in children. They can trigger asthma attacks as well as contribute to COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They are linked with lung cancer. In the United States, it was estimated in 2004 that there were 24,000 deaths per year related to the respiratory effects of coal. As well, there are cardiovascular impacts that are related to the same mechanisms as how coal impacts the respiratory system, as well as neurological impacts and evidence of a positive correlation with cerebrovascular disease related to particulate matter that impacts air contaminants.
Coal plants also emit a large degree of greenhouse gases, which contributes, of course, to climate change. This climate change in turn affects health through the spread of vector-borne diseases such as the West Nile virus, particulate matter from wildfires, dust from droughts, as well as extreme weather events.
In 2003, Ontario was heavily reliant on coal, with 25% of its electrical power coming from that source. By 2014, it had closed its last coal-fired plant, making Ontario the first North American jurisdiction to end its reliance on coal for power. Over the period of the progressive coal closures, Ontario’s air quality progressively improved.
Bill 9 mandates the closure of the remaining coal-fired generating plants, to the benefit of people’s health throughout the province. The bill would also bar any further generation of electricity from coal. This is a welcome precautionary measure which nurses strongly endorse. It is a powerful tool to protect air quality, to prevent toxic emissions and to help Ontario in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the province must do more than rest on its laurels when it comes to air quality and climate change. It has achieved substantial progress, but there’s much more to do. Therefore, we call for:
—the passing of Bill 9 without amendments that can weaken its intent to bar future coal-fired power plants;
—designing and implementing a comprehensive program that will meet or exceed Ontario’s emission reduction targets of 15% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below by 2050;
—designing and implementing a carbon pricing mechanism that is as comprehensive as possible, including transportation fuels, and that minimizes exemptions;
—lastly, using all available tools to move the bar on toxics in Ontario.
In conclusion, again, we want to thank the standing committee for this opportunity to provide recommendations on Bill 9 and look forward to seeing our recommendations incorporated.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Lenartowych. We shall start with the third party: Mr. Hatfield.
Mr. Percy Hatfield: Good afternoon, Tim. Thanks for being here. You talk about a 2000 study on coal plant emissions by OPG, released by the National Pollutant Release Inventory.
Now that the coal plants have been shut down, in your opinion, how long should it take before we can do a comparative study—we don’t have the emissions in the air now—and just study the same effects and what the results would be?
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: I think that, in fact, we’ve seen significant improvements in air quality over the last number of years. Now certainly would be an opportune time to revisit that. I think that we can start work right now to research and look at the impact.
We do, of course, know that many of the impacts related to coal, in terms of from a health perspective, do take time in order to be able to measure; particularly, for example, the carcinogenic components contributing to lung cancer can take a number of years. I think it could take a number of years to actually see the true impact, but these things, again, take time, so there’s no reason, really, why we shouldn’t be able to start looking at that right now.
Mr. Percy Hatfield: I live down around the border, and we always hear about clean coal and dirty coal. The emissions from the coal plants in America blow up, with prevailing winds, to my part of the province. Do you work with other networks on the American side, compare notes and lobby people down there to start closing their coal plants as well?
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: We haven’t. A lot of our focus has been within Ontario and Canada. Certainly we look at reports and evidence and research from those jurisdictions, but we haven’t broadened our reach yet. I think it’s a very valid point from a health impact, of course, and particularly for border areas, but then also for areas that are further away from the border. The air moves, particulates move, and so certainly there can be an impact. But what we’ve seen specifically within Ontario have been great improvements. There’s still some work to go, but it seems to be on the right track.
Mr. Percy Hatfield: And is your organization strictly focused on air pollution or might you be looking, for example, to get ahead of the curve on, say, fracking for natural gas and the effect on the environment that that might pose in the future in our area?
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: Absolutely. We try to take as broad a look at health as possible, knowing that people need to have clean drinking water, clean air to breathe—a sustainable, clean environment. So we try to broaden our reach as much as possible. This particular issue, looking at coal, I think has been something that has been very important to nurses because there is just such a wealth of evidence that’s out there that speaks to how damaging this is to human health. Nurses see it in practice all the time looking at chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It’s taking a significant toll on the health system.
Mr. Percy Hatfield: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Hatfield. Right on time.
We’ll move to the government. Ms. Kiwala.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: Thank you so much for being here today. It’s an absolute pleasure that you’re here. As you probably know, I’m a new MPP, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet with the RNAO both here on their advocacy days last year as well as in my riding of Kingston and the Islands. One thing that I’ve been very impressed with with the RNAO is your advocacy that you’re engaged in. So I wanted to acknowledge the association for that. It’s something that I’ve been particularly impressed by.
I’m very impressed by it on this subject partially for selfish reasons, because I have a brother who has serious COPD and I understand very well what the implications of profound lung problems are. As you know, people with serious asthma have to take steroids. Taking steroids in order to be able to breathe causes a depletion of your bone mass, and a depletion of your bone mass then causes easy fractures later in life. My brother is only two years older than me and he’s already had a hip replacement. It has a remarkable cumulative effect.
But having said that, we know it’s a great bill. We’re very pleased with it, but I just wanted to hear from you—the proposed legislation before us, on the whole, we feel, obviously, is a positive way to continue efforts to protect air quality, and I’m just wanting to hear from you: Do you feel also that it’s an effective way to promote the health of the people of Ontario?
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: I think that it’s a significant step forward in improving the health of Ontarians. There are other areas that would be complementary. For example, a number of the recommendations that I talked about in terms of looking at carbon pricing, as well as having comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction programs and targets, I think would be of benefit as well, but I do think that the bill is certainly a great step from a health perspective.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: Okay. That’s great. Well, I’m going to end it there, with another accolade for the wonderful work the RNAO has done. You’ve been really remarkable partners in creating a healthier Ontario. I’d like to thank you for that.
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Ms. Kiwala. We shall move to the official opposition: Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I know that, of course, coal has been taken off the grid over the last number of years, but it’s been essentially replaced by natural gas. Any discussion as far as—it’s still a fossil fuel, it still produces about 60% of the greenhouse gases, so it’s substantial. I’m just wondering if you’ve looked into that as far as the effects of it.
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: Natural gas certainly is not perfect. Again, it’s not a renewable resource, so for a short-term measure—I think that’s what it is. Where we would like to see things advance, really, is in the area of renewable energy.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I think stats show that for every kilowatt of renewable energy, 60% of it has to be backed up with natural gas; those are about the numbers. The current renewable energy plan actually increases natural gas substantially.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Ms. Thompson?
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: In your recommendations, your organization talked of designing and implementing a carbon pricing mechanism. What’s your position on carbon tax versus cap-and-trade?
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: Our preference is in terms of looking at a carbon tax. A cap-and-trade—I think there are some benefits and some limitations to that. At the end of the day, the primary objective is that we want to look at decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring that we have the policy tool that is in place to do that. From our perspective, having that carbon tax would be the most effective method that we see, but again, having any measure is better than having none at all.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. One last comment, and I ask for your position on it: We know the bulk of the air quality that is impacted by coal is made outside of Ontario. What are your thoughts on that?
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: I think it speaks to the earlier point that we need to look at a number of strategies and ways we can work with our neighbours as well. Of course, air moves, particles move, so I think that having solutions at home is a good first step, and also looking at ways in which we can work with other jurisdictions to minimize that spread.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Has your organization thought of those other ways, those other technologies, the other innovations?
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: In terms of looking at renewable power, yes, but in terms of how to work with other jurisdictions, again, our focus has largely been, of course, within Ontario as we’re a provincial association.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Because it’s interesting: The province of Saskatchewan wants to be a leader in innovation when we talk about climate change, and they’ve developed amazing technology for scrubbers and clean coal. They too want to lead by example and help our neighbours. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much. We appreciate you coming before committee, Mr. Lenartowych.
Mr. Tim Lenartowych: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): I believe I’m pronouncing it correctly.
Community Enterprise Network Inc.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Next we have Community Enterprise Network Inc. We have the president, Mr. Jeff Mole.
Mr. Jeff Mole: Mr. Chair, can I have unanimous consent to videotape myself during my presentation?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Mr. Mole is requesting consent from the committee to film himself during his delegation. Is there any opposition? There being none, feel free.
Mr. Jeff Mole: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Here we go.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Mr. Mole, you have five minutes.
Mr. Jeff Mole: Good afternoon. My name is Jeff Mole, president of Community Enterprise Network Inc. Our mission is to give Ontario communities the tools they need to participate in government procurement in a way that profits will be reinvested in Ontario. We are a not-for-profit, in the business of helping communities develop community enterprise.
I’m here today to speak in support of Bill 9. However, we ask the committee to consider amending the bill to achieve cleaner air through electrification of school buses in Ontario. We believe the province should consider community enterprise for delivery of students using electric-powered school buses.
A community enterprise is a not-for-profit corporation that meets a need and provides benefits. A community enterprise is run by a group of people who get together to develop a business that creates jobs and generates economic activity with a view to investing any surplus or profits for the betterment of the community.
Community enterprise is an alternative to privatization of public services. Community enterprise delivers comparable services while reinvesting surplus revenues in education, health care and community betterment. Community enterprise can help reduce the size of government while providing better use of taxpayer funds.
The bill seems a little redundant, since the government has already directed the cessation of coal-powered generation. Having said that, it appears the purpose of the bill is to help ensure the government does its part to achieve cleaner air for future generations. A significant reduction in the use of diesel school buses could help reach this goal while creating new jobs in Ontario through the manufacture of electric school buses.
Through our research, we believe Ontario spends about $1 billion annually transporting students to and from home and school. As the funder, the government could require that this service be delivered using electric buses.
Our concern is that this work is being outsourced to the private sector with little or no regard for the 2020 greenhouse gas targets of the province. The government launched a social enterprise strategy for Ontario in 2013. This strategy is the province’s plan to become the number one jurisdiction in North America for businesses that have a positive social, cultural and environmental impact while generating revenue.
To meet the goals of this strategy, we believe the government needs to take a strategic look at community enterprise for all government procurement. We encourage the government to have a conversation with us about using our community enterprise model to establish a pilot project for delivery of students using electric buses in York region.
In our experience, mobilization and access to affordable capital are the main hurdles to building a strong community enterprise sector in Ontario. Our goal is to work with government to help overcome these hurdles by recruiting directors, raising funds and building membership to help grow the community enterprise sector in Ontario.
We can’t do it alone. We need a government that understands the need to invest in growing the community enterprise sector for the delivery of services. Accordingly, we encourage members to amend the bill to create a pilot program to help social enterprises be part of the procurement related to student transportation services in Ontario.
Furthermore, we encourage the members of this committee to bring forward a community enterprise act. This act would help facilitate the mobilization of communities and financial resources for developing the capacity for community enterprise to play a part in public sector procurement and the delivery of publicly funded services.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership may bring increased competition from abroad for government procurement opportunities, so now is the time to give communities adequate tools to do the jobs that governments have chosen to outsource. This is a conversation that is long overdue.
I look forward to your questions and a motion to amend the bill.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Mole. We shall start with the government. Mr. Thibeault.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: Thank you, Chair. Thank you, Mr. Mole, for being here. It seems that every time I’m at a committee, we get to have a discussion. That’s fantastic.
Part of it, too, and I think you were mentioning this in your presentation, is that Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to have eliminated coal as a source of electricity generation. That’s like taking about seven million cars off our roads. Just for clarification, this is something that you see as a positive thing for our province, correct?
Mr. Jeff Mole: Absolutely. The extraction of coal is an extremely dirty business. The burning of it is an extremely dirty business. I think it’s absolutely great that this is the way we’re going, but we need to do more.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: Okay. So I guess I can, you know, coming from you, Mr. Mole—we want to ensure that we never go back to using coal as a form of electricity. Would that be a fair statement to say as well?
Mr. Jeff Mole: Well, I think it’s a democratic society we live in. The government of the day has already made a decision that we’re going to close down the coal-fired generation plants, but if some future government ran on that we wanted to reopen them again, well, it’s a democratic society.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: So you’re saying that you think it would be okay to reopen coal?
Mr. Jeff Mole: Personally, I don’t think it’s okay, and I don’t think our organization would support reopening them, but it’s a democratic society we live in. I don’t know if this bill is intended to handcuff future governments or what this is intended—as I said, it seems a bit redundant. I don’t know.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: Well, making sure that we don’t go back to making sure that we put seven million cars back on the roads—
Mr. Jeff Mole: And I get that, because this is an extremely dirty business.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: So I don’t see that as a redundant piece; correct? Making sure we keep seven million cars off of our roads, I think, is an important piece for us to ensure that happens. Would that be fair to say?
Mr. Jeff Mole: I don’t think there’s a business case for coal generation in the future, and so the bill seems a bit redundant in that regard.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: I don’t know if “redundant” would be the right word.
Mr. Jeff Mole: Maybe I’m wrong.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: I would say that this is something that I think we need to do to ensure that we can keep those seven million cars off the roads. I think you’re going to your point where you’re saying you’d like to see school buses electrified, which—I’ll obviously give you a second to speak to that. But if we’re going to actually look at having school buses electrified, that’s taking more GHGs out of our atmosphere, which is ultimately what we need to do.
Mr. Jeff Mole: Yes.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: Perfect.
Mr. Jeff Mole: Did you want to give me a second to speak on that?
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: Yes, I was just—I just looked at the Chair. How much time do I have?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Twenty-one seconds.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: You have 21 seconds.
Mr. Jeff Mole: As I said in the presentation, we spend a billion dollars a year on this. The funder is the province. The province could require electrification of the school buses from the supplier. There needs to be some strategic policy around that. I would encourage you to have the dialogue with me. Perhaps you might be interested in bringing forward a private member’s bill in that regard.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: Thank you, Mr. Mole.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): We shall move to the official opposition: Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming today. It’s interesting; you talked about the new trans-Pacific agreement and the need to be competitive, but one of the issues we have, of course, is that a lot of this work could have been done, I believe, in a much more cost-effective manner. I think if we just look at the renewables under the Green Energy Act, the cost is $8 billion a year now.
Mr. Jeff Mole: I think it’s $20 billion that we’ve invested in long-term energy contracts under the Green Energy Act, and we’re perched to do another $10 billion.
Mr. Jim McDonell: The AG was quoted as $50 billion at the end of this year.
Mr. Jeff Mole: So I would argue that we could have gotten a better return on our investment in renewable energy had these projects been done as a community-owned, community-managed undertaking. We need to give communities the tools to make the decisions: “Is this a good idea or a bad idea for our community? Do we support it or don’t we support it? If we don’t support it, what happens?”
At the end of the day, if they put in a renewable energy facility in their community, they stand to benefit to the tune of maybe $1 million, $2 million a year for social programs and improvement of the community. That helps create buy-in amongst the community, but ultimately, we want to give the community the tools to say no if that’s the will of the community. If they’re a willing host, we want to give them the tools to say, “We can do this in a professional way that’s going to have positive impacts on our community.”
Mr. Jim McDonell: It’s interesting to hear you talk about this bill being redundant. In actual fact, before the bill was even introduced last year, all of the plants had been closed. I know that the Liberal government had promised, I think, in 2007, 2011—
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: In 2003.
Mr. Jim McDonell: In 2003, they first promised a 2007 deadline, but of course, all governments of the day had agreed—I think the Conservative government had looked at it—on a 2014 commitment—
Mr. Jeff Mole: These things take time, of course. I think I’m the poster child for time, because you guys have seen me down here for how many years now, lobbying in the public interest to get a community energy act, and that has never happened. It’s 10 years later and we’re still lobbying for it. Maybe, Lisa, you’d be interested in bringing that forward.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I know you talked about the electrification of school buses, but again, you’re talking about the low-hanging fruit, urban—
Mr. Jeff Mole: Yes, absolutely.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I know in my riding, school busing is about 10% to 15%, but it’s more rural; the distances wouldn’t be practical. But, certainly, we’ve got to start somewhere in encouraging the technology.
Mr. Jeff Mole: That’s why I said that York region would be a good place to start. It’s the fastest-growing school board in the province, and there are plenty of opportunities to put in the electrical charging infrastructure in the region.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Do you see any reason why the government would come out with this bill now that all of the plants are closed? Is it just a—
Mr. Jeff Mole: Oh, I don’t know. I guess it’s that there are a lot of people pulling the strings as to how messages get let out and how new ideas come forward. I’m doing my best to bring forward new ideas. Who knows how these decisions get made? But hopefully the minister is listening and will take the time to give me a call.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much; I appreciate it. We shall move to Mr. Tabuns. Welcome, Mr. Tabuns.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Thank you, Mr. Mole. Thanks for your presentation earlier.
Mr. Jeff Mole: Thank you, Mr. Tabuns.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Can you tell me if there are jurisdictions now in North America or western Europe that are using electric school buses?
Mr. Jeff Mole: There is a manufacturer that produces them and they are available for sale. That manufacturer is not producing in Ontario, so part of my presentation was that we could bring the manufacturing jobs here to Ontario, to manufacture those buses that we plan on using in Ontario. If we become a world leader at it, then great; let’s start selling those abroad.
At this point in time, I’m not aware of any jurisdiction, but that’s a good question and I will do that research. Thank you.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Given that they are being produced, which jurisdictions are buying them and using them?
Mr. Jeff Mole: They seem to be used in, I think, Quebec and California, if I’m not mistaken.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Okay. Thank you very much. I have no further questions, Mr. Mole.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Tabuns, and thank you, Mr. Mole. We appreciate you coming before our committee this afternoon.
Mr. Jeff Mole: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): We shall move to the next item on the agenda, and we’re right on time, ladies and gentlemen. Congratulations.
Environmental Defence: Mr. Adam Scott, climate and energy program manager. Is Adam with us this afternoon? Welcome, sir. Good afternoon. You have five minutes.
Mr. Adam Scott: Good afternoon. Thanks for taking a few minutes to listen to me today. I really appreciate the opportunity.
I would like to start by congratulating Ontario for taking the single largest ever initiative to reduce carbon pollution in North America by closing the coal plants in Ontario. I really wanted to take a minute in support of this bill to underline the significance of that effort. I know many of you may have heard some of this before, but I think it’s worth reiterating some of it.
It’s obvious that coal-fired electricity in Ontario was severely negatively impacting the health of millions of Ontarians. In 2000, the Ontario Medical Association detailed that there were at least 1,900 premature deaths, 9,800 hospital admissions, 45,000 emergency room visits and over 46 million minor illnesses caused by smog in Ontario. At its peak, coal contributed to 35% of Ontario’s climate pollution, 41% of Ontario’s nitrogen dioxide pollution and 52% of Ontario’s sulphur dioxide pollution.
While those statistics are really quite powerful, perhaps even more convincing and maybe more noticeable to the general public is the dramatic improvement to the air quality that has occurred from closing the plants. Ask anyone on the street and they will tell you that there is a real difference. I know that I personally have noticed it.
In 2005, Ontario suffered through 53 smog days where the government had to warn its citizens about the risks of just going outside or being active. That’s roughly half of a summer in terms of days. There were estimates that the pollution was, through all of the socio-economic, environmental and health impacts, costing the province over $4.4 billion annually.
Last year, Ontario had zero smog days using the same statistical measure. I am a reasonably young guy and I can tell you personally that the change has been dramatic in my lifetime and it’s noticeable this summer. I was thinking about it all summer: “Wow. We just don’t get smog days.” The quality of life that that has given back to Ontarians is priceless.
My second major underlining of significance is what saying no to coal-fired power in Ontario means for our climate. Ontario’s efforts, as I mentioned, represent the single largest ever initiative to cut carbon pollution in North America to date. Closing the coal-fired power plants here cut CO2 emissions by more than 30 million tonnes, which is equivalent to roughly seven million cars taken off the road. I wanted to say that that is a big deal. Other jurisdictions around the world have noticed that, and this legislation that permanently puts an end to burning coal in Ontario is a really important and significant step to permanently close the door on coal is a big deal, and it really does signal our leadership in the world.
Given the seriousness of climate damage, there’s no defensible reason that Ontario should ever need to burn coal to create electricity again. The alternatives—renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency measures, smart electricity grids and grid storage—have all come of age and have really made fossil fuel power generation, on that scale, obsolete.
I can summarize really quickly: Leadership from groups like the Ontario Clean Air Alliance and Environmental Defence really helped us support that work and to educate the public and to move towards practical solutions, and we’re very proud now to support this bill and see Ontario move forward and double down on a sustainable and a cleaner energy future.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Scott. We shall start with the third party: Mr. Tabuns.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Mr. Scott, thank you for coming and making a presentation. Are there any amendments to this bill that you would like to propose?
Mr. Adam Scott: No. From our perspective, for the time being everything in the bill works to our satisfaction.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Then I have no further questions. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Tabuns. I appreciate that. We shall move to the government side: Mr. Thibeault.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: Is it Mr. Scott or Mr. Brooks?
Mr. Adam Scott: Mr. Scott.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: Mr. Scott.
Mr. Adam Scott: Yes, there was a name change on this.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: Okay. Awesome. Thank you. I’m glad I clarified that; otherwise, I would have been calling you Mr. Brooks the whole time.
Mr. Scott, thank you for your presentation. I know you reiterated some of the points I was trying to make earlier, but truly making sure that we close the door to coal—and what I liked that you talked about is that we have new technologies that are coming forward. There is no reason why we should ever have to go back to coal. Can you comment on that briefly?
Mr. Adam Scott: Yes. If you look now, I think Ontario was actually very prescient in its decision more than a decade ago to phase out coal, because if you look now, this is where the world is going. The coal markets, the value of companies that actually operate plants that produce coal or mine coal, have plummeted in the last couple of years. The price of coal has collapsed, and that’s because the world is moving away from it.
As a generation source, it’s no longer competitive economically, and of course the overwhelming health and environmental impacts make it an inferior source of electricity. If you look in the United States, overwhelmingly coal power is being replaced across the United States. In China, they have peaked in terms of coal capacity and have actually started reducing as well. This isn’t just something that has happened is Ontario and is now spreading across the world. Coal power is never going to come back. The alternatives have far surpassed it. Renewable energy technology globally leads as the number one investment in generation of any kind all over the world. So it has surpassed any other form of generation, coal being well down the list now.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: So is it fair to say that making sure that this door to coal stays shut is paramount for your organization?
Mr. Adam Scott: Absolutely. As I said earlier, there’s absolutely no defensible reason why Ontario should ever need to burn coal again, and it would be immoral to do so, given all of the impacts that I’ve outlined.
Ontario has done a wonderful thing in terms of investing in renewable power, in terms of investing in energy efficiency. Our electricity grid right now is not in the place that it was when we started the phase-out, and we have so many other options that are now online and so many other ways of generating electricity that there’s no need for us to ever go back to this dirty source.
I’m very happy to support the bill for that reason. We need to just put this to bed, stop thinking about it, move away, move on and think about all of the other solutions that we’re going to need to find to the climate challenge.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: Do I have any time left, Chair?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Yes: seven seconds.
Mr. Glenn Thibeault: With that, I’d like to say thank you for your presentation, and thank you, Chair.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much. We’ll move to the official opposition: Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thanks for being here. You made mention, Mr. Scott, that renewables have made fossil fuels obsolete, but we know that industrial wind turbines are not reliable and they have to be backed up by natural gas. So the reality does not match the statement that you just made. How do you reconcile that?
Mr. Adam Scott: Well, that’s actually not true in the sense that wind power is variable, but so is demand on our grid. Our grid is designed to manage quite dramatic swings throughout the day in demand, as well as supply from various sources. The introduction of wind power to our grid has actually substantially cleaned up a significant percentage of our energy production. As we continue to add new sources of renewable energy of many different types in a mix, as well as to more intelligently manage our grid through real-time demand control, the variability of wind power is not an issue yet for Ontario.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I guess this is a point that we probably will agree to disagree, with all due respect. If we were to look on IESO’s site today, it would be interesting to see the percentage of wind in our total mix for the day. On average, on an annual basis, it runs at between 2% and 3%. It does need to be backed up.
Mr. Adam Scott: It’s interesting, though: Ontario has an excellent baseload hydro power system, which works very effectively to fill gaps in real-time with something like wind power. That has actually been a really effective way of backing things up. It’s not necessarily required to have natural gas to back up something like wind generation.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Right, okay. You also alluded to needing solutions for climate change. I totally agree with that. From your perspective: carbon tax or cap-and-trade?
Mr. Adam Scott: Actually, I’m not too concerned about which measure is used. I think that the pricing of carbon, in particular, is the most valuable thing. We can’t continue to pretend that there aren’t broader impacts of burning carbon. The policy mechanisms all work in the right direction. I’m not super concerned about the exact detail of which.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay.
The Chair (Mr. Jim McDonell): Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: You talk about taxing carbon. Should we go it ourselves or should we work with our partners to the south? I know we had the governor representative from Indiana, and their electricity sector is about 99% coal-fired—these are his numbers—or Ohio, similar; many states.
We’re now spending $8 billion more on these renewable initiatives than the power costs. How far can we go? We’re not competitive. Those numbers are from the Auditor General—they’re not ours—in her latest report. That’s $15 billion so far. It speaks about really going ahead against the science before it’s ready. There are initiatives. It’s great to lead technology, but the rest of the world is leaving us—
Mr. Adam Scott: Sorry, what science?
Mr. Jim McDonell: Not basing it on science. The numbers they use when they build the renewables: 60% is placed on backup with natural gas. Those are the numbers—
Mr. Adam Scott: No, that’s not accurate.
Mr. Jim McDonell: —that OPG are using. That’s a greenhouse gas.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Final comment.
Mr. Adam Scott: Yes. On my end, it’s absolutely important that Ontario price carbon, as the majority of other developed jurisdictions around the world are moving in that direction. There are dozens and dozens of jurisdictions in North America alone pursuing a price on carbon, and that’s critical.
Also, Ontario’s shift towards a cleaner electricity sector is hugely beneficial for us in other ways and potentially could create a clean energy export business as well. As you mentioned, some jurisdictions south of the border still rely heavily on fossil fuel generation, but they have renewable portfolio standards that they’re required to meet. One way that they could meet those standards is to actually receive clean electricity from a province like Ontario. So that’s something that could be a real potential benefit and opportunity for us in the future.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much. We appreciate your time coming before committee this afternoon.
Mr. Adam Scott: Thanks for having me.
David Suzuki Foundation
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Next we have the David Suzuki Foundation. We have Mr. Gideon Forman, who’s a climate change and transportation policy analyst. We welcome you, sir. You have five minutes.
Mr. Gideon Forman: Thanks very much, Mr. Chair and committee members. Thanks for the opportunity to speak today regarding Bill 9, the Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act. As the Chair mentioned, my name is Gideon Forman. I’m a policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation here in Toronto.
In my brief remarks today, I will be conveying the David Suzuki Foundation’s strong support for this bill, and for the elimination of coal as a fuel source in the generation of electricity.
Some commentators have questioned the necessity of Bill 9, given that all of Ontario’s power plants now employ fuels other than coal. Why is the bill needed, they argue, given that this fuel is no longer used for the province’s electricity generation? We believe there are at least two reasons for moving forward with the legislation.
First, although the current government supports a coal-free grid, there is no guarantee, obviously, that this commitment will be embraced by governments in the future. In the absence of Bill 9’s passage, it’s quite conceivable that a government five, 10, or 15 years down the road will see fit to resume the combustion of coal for electricity production. They may justify it in terms of price. They may justify it in terms of reliability or for reasons that are specific to a future political context that we can’t imagine. They may suggest that if coal-fired power isn’t brought back, the province will suffer some extremely unattractive consequences.
The David Suzuki Foundation believes that coal poses so great a threat to human health and the environment that it should simply be eliminated from the suite of possible fuels used for power generation. In a word, we cannot conceive of any reasonable scenario in which its use would be justified. That’s the first reason we support Bill 9; if properly enforced, it will ensure Ontario’s standalone power plants never again employ this most climate-destructive of fuels.
The second reason we support the bill is that its passage will send a crucial message to other jurisdictions—states, provinces; indeed, even countries—that a successful industrial economy can be powered with a 100% coal-free electricity grid. To those who say coal is a necessity, we can point to the Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act and say, “What about Ontario?” Here’s a jurisdiction whose economy is strong—the Conference Board of Canada just said Ontario’s economic outlook “remains bright”—which has not only abandoned coal as a matter of policy but has entrenched this decision in legislation.
As you may know, the David Suzuki Foundation is working to convince the province of Alberta to renounce coal-fired power. I can tell you, having worked on this as well, that the passage of Bill 9 would be very helpful in this regard. This new law would show Alberta it can both protect the environment and have a strong economy. It can grow jobs and attract investment while abandoning a terrible source of GHG emissions.
We also believe this legislation will be influential beyond Canada’s borders. It was not accidental that when Premier Wynne announced the coal plants would be closing, she stood next to a global authority like Al Gore. Mr. Gore said Ontario’s coal phase-out was of international significance, and he suggested that if other industrialized economies went ahead and shuttered their plants, Ontario’s leadership would be one of the reasons. In a word, Ontario showed the world it could be done.
The only shortcoming of Bill 9, in our view, is its exemption of facilities where generation of electricity is not the primary purpose. We understand the government wants a certain degree of flexibility in the legislation, but we’re concerned that the use of coal under any circumstances poses an unacceptable risk to our climate and human health. That would be our preference, to have that removed from the bill. At a bare minimum, we would like to see a sunset clause on this exemption, under which it would be removed from the legislation within five years.
The world’s scientists tell us we must reduce our energy-system emissions to near zero by 2050. Eliminating coal-fired power is a key piece of this, and the province is to be commended for its unprecedented action on this file. The fact that 2014 had not a single smog day—as Mr. Scott mentioned—is a testament to the value of Ontario’s work so far. But if we’re to ensure Ontario continues to be a clean-air leader and a climate leader, we must take coal off the table completely.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Forman. We shall start with the government. Ms. Hoggarth.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Good afternoon, Mr. Forman.
Mr. Gideon Forman: Good afternoon.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Thank you very much for your presentation.
Mr. Gideon Forman: A pleasure.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: As a former educator, I’d just like to say that I and my students have enjoyed many of the documentaries and programs that David Suzuki and the foundation have put forward.
Mr. Gideon Forman: Thank you.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: I would also like to thank him for championing this kind of imitative long before people realized how important it was. That is important to all of the world, not just Ontario.
Your group has made it clear that there is a need for increased environmental protection. Do you think this legislation, on the whole, is a positive way to continue efforts to protect the environment and the people of Ontario?
Mr. Gideon Forman: Absolutely, yes. On the whole, we made a couple of remarks about an exemption we’d like to see, but overall, broad sweep, we think it’s an excellent piece of legislation—absolutely necessary.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Great. Do you believe there are other areas where they have not made this final step and there may be a case of later governments coming and putting those coal factories back into existence?
Mr. Gideon Forman: Well, it’s the case that Ontario is actually so far ahead of other jurisdictions that there aren’t other jurisdictions that have yet completely gotten off coal. Washington state and Oregon, as you know, are planning to be there in the next few years, but they are not there yet. So there isn’t even another jurisdiction that could go back to coal; that’s how far ahead of the other jurisdictions Ontario is. But if they did go off and they didn’t have a piece of legislation like Bill 9, yes, a future government could bring back coal. That’s why it’s absolutely important that you do pass this to shut that door.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Thank you so much.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much. We shall move to the official opposition. Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you for being here. My first question is, does the David Suzuki Foundation support nuclear energy?
Mr. Gideon Forman: It wouldn’t be our first choice for energy generation. We’re in favour of a 100% renewable grid. The concern we have about nuclear is severalfold. One is the waste, of course. We have cancer concerns about the use of nuclear energy. And, of course, the whole nuclear cycle, if you begin with uranium mining, is highly GHG-intensive, unfortunately. All of that work mining and refining uranium, transporting it, building the reactors, involves heavy diesel-powered equipment. As uranium becomes rarer and rarer in the world, it’s actually harder and harder to get to the high-quality uranium; it requires more digging. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say that the production of uranium is a highly GHG-intensive activity, and so we have some very great concerns about that from a climate change point of view.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Interesting. When I reflect upon Obama’s clean power plan, he is looking to nuclear to move and make a difference in terms of climate change. In fact, I believe they’re building two nuclear sites in the southern states. I think it’s safe to say, going forward in the spirit of a focus on improving our climate, that nuclear is definitely going to be a significant part of the overall energy mix, both here in Canada and, growing, in the United States.
Mr. Gideon Forman: Was there a question, or that was just a comment?
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: That was a comment.
Mr. Gideon Forman: Sure.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I know we have to agree to disagree on this one, but nuclear power is one of the extremely low greenhouse gas producers. Mining is a very small part of it. The nuclear process itself is essentially zero greenhouse gases. I think the science proves that out.
I know you talk about how the real reason for this is so future governments can’t, but everybody knows it wasn’t that many years ago that the previous government passed legislation prohibiting deficit governments. The government of the day, as a government of the future, can of course always change that. The legislation really is around being able to have the facilities in place so it allows us to get rid of coal, and the huge nuclear fleet that’s been built over the years by a previous government has put us in the stead that we can now get rid of coal going forward.
I don’t think there’s any country in the world that even hopes to build an electricity system on 100% renewables for the foreseeable future. It’s something that technologies just won’t allow, certainly if you’re industrialized at all.
Mr. Gideon Forman: Did you want me to comment on that, sir?
Mr. Jim McDonell: Sure.
Mr. Gideon Forman: The question of a 100% renewable energy grid is an interesting one. There’s quite a bit of science that has been done out of Stanford. You may have read Professor Mark Jacobson, a really renowned prof in engineering at Stanford. He’s done modelling with his team showing, in fact, that the whole world could be powered with what he calls WWS: wind, water and sun power. He recently did some modelling for every state in the United States, again showing that all 50 US states could be powered by 2050 or so by WWS: wind, water and sun. So there are certainly scientists out there who say that it’s technologically possible.
He also argues that it’s economically feasible. As you probably know, wind power is expected to be the least expensive of all sources of generation by about 2020, at about four or five cents a kilowatt hour. That’s what the scientists are saying.
Mr. Jim McDonell: It may be—and it’s hard to know the true cost of wind power, because the subsidies are so high. You could tell by the—
Mr. Gideon Forman: You’re talking about the FIT contracts?
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Yes.
Mr. Gideon Forman: Of course, they are designed to come down, aren’t they? The FIT contracts aren’t so different from any other situation where a government decides that it wants to support a certain sector to build up that business, to help entrepreneurs, and over time the FIT comes down. The FIT is designed to come down, so it’s really not very different from any other sector that we want to support: the auto sector or any other. Of course, for decades the nuclear sector has been subsidized.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I mean, FIT contracts—
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Okay, thank you very much.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: They’ve been there for 20 years.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much. Mr. Tabuns.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Gideon, it’s nice to see you. I actually don’t have questions for you. You’ve set out what your approach is on the bill. I’ve heard you defend renewable power. I’m good. Thank you.
Mr. Gideon Forman: Thanks, Mr. Tabuns.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Tabuns, and thank you, Mr. Forman, for coming before committee. We really appreciate it.
Mr. Gideon Forman: A pleasure.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Next we have, from Pollution Probe, the chief executive officer, Mr. Bob Oliver. Welcome, sir.
Mr. Bob Oliver: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): How are you today?
Mr. Bob Oliver: I’m doing well.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Great. You have five minutes, sir.
Mr. Bob Oliver: I wish to preface my remarks today by thanking the Standing Committee on General Government for the opportunity to present the views of Pollution Probe regarding this act. Pollution Probe was formed in 1969 in Toronto in response to emerging science and public health concerns about air pollution. In fact, it was a CBC documentary entitled Air of Death that galvanized students and faculty members at the University of Toronto to launch a probe into the sources of this new pollution and to find possible solutions.
Now, more than four decades later, and following a long pattern of worsening air quality in southern Ontario, we are finally beginning to see sustained reductions in the frequency of smog events and general improvements in the quality of the air we breathe. Towards the middle of the last decade, air quality alerts issued by the government of Ontario as a warning to citizens to limit outdoor activity and thus exposure to smog were on the rise, topping 50 smog days in 2005. By contrast, the past few years have seen only a handful of alerts, if any, despite periods of persistent summer heat.
Photochemical smog, visible as a yellow-brownish layer of haze, forms when oxides of nitrogen mix with volatile organic compounds in the presence of heat and sunlight to produce ground-level ozone, which is the principal constituent of smog. The oxides of nitrogen are a product of coal combustion, and other criteria are contaminants that can trigger respiratory illness, such as particulate matter and oxides of sulphur. These emissions can be carried over far distances on wind, eventually settling into areas where they contribute to smog formation. Thus, proximity to coal-fired power plants is not the only measure of risk to Ontario communities.
The reduction of coal-fired electricity generation contributed significantly to the positive air quality trends that benefit public health. To date, Ontario’s phase-out of coal for power generation also represents the largest quantifiable contribution to Canada’s reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
I have no doubt that you will hear detailed testimony from other speakers representing the environmental movement and the medical profession about the positive impacts that phasing out coal has had on human health and well-being, hospital admissions, chronic respiratory illnesses, economic productivity and savings to our public health care system, not to mention the deposition of mercury into our ecosystems and, ultimately, into our bodies. Therefore, I would like to focus my brief remarks today—somewhat brief—on some often overlooked implications of the commitment to cease the combustion of coal now and in the future.
First and foremost, a coal-free electricity system in Ontario supports and is synergistic with some very crucial transformative technological innovations that will lever much deeper reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the long term in other major emitting sectors of our economy. A prime example is electric vehicles. In jurisdictions where coal-fired power dominates, the net, system-wide greenhouse gas emissions benefits of displacing gasoline and diesel with electricity to power personal and commercial vehicles is negligible. That is not to say there are no economic or system performance benefits associated with electric vehicle use in such circumstances, but the environmental benefits are magnified substantially when electric vehicles are powered by low-emissions or emissions-free power sources.
Another example that plays uniquely to the strengths of Ontario’s private sector innovators is power-to-gas electrolysis and hydrogen fuel cell technology. Industrial-scale electrolysis systems can convert substantial levels of emissions-free electricity to hydrogen gas, which can be subsequently used to power fuel cells in vehicles and stationary applications. The only by-product of this process is heat and water. The hydrogen can also be mixed with natural gas to reduce the fuel’s overall carbon intensity.
Systems such as these are currently being manufactured in Ontario for export to countries such as Germany to enhance electricity system performance and electrify passenger rail systems. These examples demonstrate how Ontario’s coal-free electricity system is a natural fit and a catalyst for an increasingly electrified and low-carbon economy.
Secondly, a coal-free electricity system in Ontario is very much aligned with the prevailing federal policies in Canada and the US. In Canada, federal regulations will prohibit the operation of traditional coal-fired power plants in the coming decades. In the US, announcements by the Obama administration have set the stage for decreasing reliance on coal for generating electricity, which is significantly enabled by the availability of low-priced natural gas due to the development of US shale resources.
Thirdly and finally, a coal-free electricity system in Ontario is concomitant with an embracing of emissions-free generating systems, namely nuclear and passive renewable energy. Passive renewable energy technologies, such as photovoltaics, are instrumental to distributed power generation systems that can be highly cost-effective at the community scale. At larger scales, nuclear power systems are an immediate solution to centralized electricity supply that is essentially emissions-free.
By prohibiting the combustion of coal for the purpose of generating electricity, Ontario is committing to innovating solutions in either renewable technologies or nuclear technologies or, more than likely, to both. If I may speak philosophically for a moment, the next great leap in the human enterprise will be enabled by much higher qualities of energy than combustion heat currently provides, and nuclear sector innovations such as fusion and new reactor designs are a point along this pathway.
In summary, because of the reasons I’ve referenced in my remarks, and for many more reasons, Pollution Probe supports this bill. Thank you for your time and attention.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Oliver, and we shall start with the official opposition. Mr. McDonell looks rip-roaring and ready to go.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for appearing today. You talked about Pollution Probe starting in around 1969. At that time, how significant was coal-fired electricity generating to the pollution issue?
Mr. Bob Oliver: Coal-fired power was not a significant contributor at that time. It grew significantly over the 1970s and 1980s. But at that time, we were looking into industrial sources of pollution. The primary pathway to human health risks was through agricultural systems, but air pollution has always been a chief concern at Pollution Probe and we have advocated for coal phase-out for at least, I would say, 20 years.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I know, certainly, travelling to Toronto back in the early 1970s, say, before almost all these plants were turned up, pollution in Toronto was significant, especially coming from rural Ontario, where we saw very little. When I travelled even just as far as Cornwall, the industry alone was—it gave certainly a negative connotation around the city of Cornwall. They were, of course, the second-largest water power source in the province, and of course, they get their electricity from Quebec. Most at that point was industrial, and we got a lot with the science.
You talked about the next technologies around 2050, before we can look at getting some of the benefits.
Mr. Bob Oliver: Oh, I’m sorry, is it—
Mr. Jim McDonell: The baseline is about 2050 for newer technologies to come on that are practical, to get away from some of our older technologies—
Mr. Bob Oliver: I’m not sure I understand the question.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I can—
Mr. Jim McDonell: Yes, sure.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Actually, if I may, this bill, Bill 9, looks to shut down Atikokan generating station, Lambton generating station, Nanticoke generating station and Thunder Bay generating station. Do you think that just mothballing and letting these stations collect dust is a good use of capital investment on behalf of the Ontario taxpayer, or what should we be seeing in terms of future technologies, future use of stations that were a significant investment of Ontario tax dollars now just sitting idle?
Mr. Bob Oliver: Well, it’s never too late to undo a mistake. Perhaps the question is really not whether or not it was a responsible use of taxpayer dollars to build those stations in the first place. But they’re there now; they have value on the books. I know in Atikokan they’re looking at firing with biomass, for example. That’s a ready option.
I’m not sure that really addresses some of the innovation initiatives that you would have an eye toward 2050 seeing evolve. It’s a solution. If it makes use of wood waste product, to that extent, it’s probably not a bad one.
Mothballing them: Again, as long as they’re not burning coal, I don’t think we’re technically saying to mothball them. But if that’s the logical result of redirecting investments on behalf of the public interest towards public health gains, innovative opportunities, and the benefits that are associated with clean energy in the future, then that’s perhaps a worthwhile bet to make.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: For the record, could you go back and revisit some of the innovation that you would like to see leading up to 2050?
Mr. Bob Oliver: Certainly. I remarked on two particular areas of innovation that are enabled and are synergistic with a coal-free Ontario, one of which is electric vehicles, having a very low emissions rate. Obviously, what you’re doing is, to the extent that you can displace traditional vehicles with electric vehicles for use in Ontario, the supply of the emissions-free electricity is leveraging much deeper reductions in larger sectors with respect to their emissions inventory.
The other one that I mentioned relates to some of the world-class leading manufacturing and technology developers in Ontario. Hydrogenics is one of them. I recently learned that they’re—it’s a $30-million contract with Alstom, which is a rail company in Germany. Basically, they’re looking to electrify their rail system in order to reduce their GHG emissions—
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much.
Mr. Bob Oliver: Oh, I’m sorry.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Sorry to interrupt.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you for that.
Mr. Bob Oliver: Okay.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Mr. Tabuns.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Mr. Oliver, thanks for being here today. The only question I have is: Do you have any amendments that you would like to see in this bill?
Mr. Bob Oliver: No.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: There are none? Then I have no further questions.
Mr. Bob Oliver: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Tabuns. We shall move to the government: Ms. Kiwala.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: Thank you, Mr. Oliver, for being here today. It was a very interesting presentation. You’ve brought forward lots of great points.
One of the first things I want to say is that I think you’re probably aware that Thunder Bay and Atikokan have not been mothballed. They’re using biomass in those facilities now. I just wanted to make sure that was there, for the record.
Mr. Bob Oliver: Yes.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: Also, another thing that I want to bring out: This is absolutely not a redundant piece of legislation. I know you know that, but it’s remarkable to me how sometimes those words come out.
I used to live in Turkey, where they had been using coal. They were in the process of making a conversion away from coal at the time that I was there. You could actually taste the air at that time. We’re not aware of that here.
It’s really important legislation. I know that you know that.
I’m particularly interested also in fuel cell technology and the economic prospects that that will bring to our communities. I’m wondering if you can speak a little bit about that.
Mr. Bob Oliver: The current situation in Ontario is that we have, at times, a surplus of baseload generating power which we have to pay other jurisdictions to take off our hands, because we have no demand for it in the province.
One of the options that’s currently being implemented in Ontario is our pilot power-to-gas, where you take that surplus power, you run it through an electrolyzer—which is manufactured in Mississauga, right here in Ontario—and it creates a store of hydrogen gas that can subsequently be used for a whole range of industrial purposes. In the Germany example that I was mentioning, that surplus gas is going to be used to power fuel cells to generate electricity to power the electrified passenger rail system in that country.
That’s an example of how a robust and relatively emissions-free electricity system can actually be used to start driving down substantive emissions in other sectors that are not directly related to the generating sector. That’s an example. Again, that uses technology that’s built here.
This is why I think the effect of the bill is to communicate a commitment to moving away from fossil-fuel-based systems and towards an electrified economy: a higher-quality energy system and a more productive economy. I think that’s an important purpose of the bill.
I think another function of the bill is that it’s analogous to a compliance feature. We have already phased out coal; now this bill ensures that we don’t back off on the achievements that we’ve made.
When I think about the last couple of weeks—we’ve all been witness to the Volkswagen scandal. That’s an example of what happens when government eases up and it makes the presumption that industry is operating in the spirit of the law. In this case, that wasn’t the case. So I think this piece of legislation serves an important feature of government in that respect as well.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: Excellent; thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Oliver, for coming before committee this afternoon. We appreciate it.
Mr. Bob Oliver: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Next on the agenda we have, from Greenpeace Canada, the head of the energy campaign, Mr. Keith Stewart. Welcome, sir.
Mr. Keith Stewart: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): How are you today?
Mr. Keith Stewart: Great.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Good. You have five minutes, followed by nine minutes of questioning from the three parties. Welcome.
Mr. Keith Stewart: Sure. My name is Keith Steward. My background is, I did my PhD in environmental policy up at York. I currently teach a course in energy and environmental policy at U of T, which actually I’m going to have to leave this to go to. They notice if you don’t show up.
I’ve worked for a variety of groups. I worked for the Toronto Environmental Alliance. For seven years, one of the big things I was working on was trying to reduce smog, including closing coal plants. I have worked for the World Wildlife Fund on climate change, and I work at Greenpeace.
As a student of government, I’ll say that peace, order and good government are generally not very exciting. You don’t get a lot of thanks for things not going wrong. You generally get noticed when things do go wrong. I think that a lot of good government is about doing the boring stuff that makes sure nothing goes terribly wrong.
I think, however, the decision to close coal plants is going to be remembered as one of the most visionary policies of our generation. Ontario was a leader in this area; we’re now being followed by places like Alberta. Alberta is now looking at how they can phase out coal. Alberta currently burns more coal than the rest of the country put together. So showing that this is possible and that this is a reasonable thing to do has been an important contribution that Ontario has made to, I would say, Confederation.
Deciding to close coal plants in return for cleaner alternatives: In Ontario, it has been a mix of efficiency, renewables and natural gas. We would like to see that as a strictly interim measure. This is the single largest greenhouse gas reduction achieved by a policy action in North America. This is the kind of thing which is being studied elsewhere. I get questions on it from my colleagues regularly: “How is this done?” No one will say that everything has gone perfectly smoothly, but I do think that the contribution that Ontario has made to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to stimulating the renewable energy economy, which is the way of the future—these are great things.
So I just wanted to come and say that I see this bill as—there has been this decision taken to close these plants. This bill is about making sure that they stay closed. With that, it’s rare that Greenpeace gets to support 100% something that a government is doing—I’m trying to think of the last time we did it, and it doesn’t come to mind readily. But I think this is a good bill. It’s a good action to take and I think that it is something that is being studied by others who are looking to do the same thing. Thank you for your time.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much. We shall start with the government: Mr. Dickson.
Mr. Joe Dickson: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you very much, Keith. Do you have a pencil or a pen in your hand?
Mr. Keith Stewart: I do.
Mr. Joe Dickson: Just jot down a couple of words; I’m going to ask you about five questions at once.
Number one: I know how much Greenpeace is involved in both protecting and conserving the environment and promoting peace. Question one would be: Is the appropriate legislation before you a positive way to continue to protect the environment?
Number two: Are you pleased with the change in the name of the Ministry of the Environment to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and a couple of great ministers, Bradley and Glen Murray? Any time you want him, you can find him at a farmer’s field letting farmers know about the new agriculture standards that are coming forward. That’s where I get him on the phone.
Solar: The problems that have gone through in solar on a government from a different era that just didn’t put the capital into it so it was dilapidated, which allowed some uncouth solar sales people to sell it with no grid to put it through.
Quickly, have you had an opportunity to see or read Pope Francis’s papal encyclical, because it seems to lend in exactly with your criteria.
Sorry; I could put more on, but it’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to speak to Greenpeace. Thank you.
Mr. Keith Stewart: I do think that this is an important step towards protecting our environment. Climate change is, in Greenpeace’s opinion and in the opinion of many of the world’s leading scientists, the greatest threat to our environment, to human civilization and to peace. The Pentagon—my good friends at the Pentagon—call climate change a threat multiplier, because the kinds of changes it brings around increase insecurity, and that causes other existing conflicts to be exacerbated. So as a contribution to environmental protection, to a better quality of life—particularly for my kids and eventually when they have their kids—and as a contribution to peace, I think it’s a very positive measure.
Moving from the “Ministry of the Environment” to adding on “Climate Change,” I think, is something that will also spread across the country. I remember writing my dissertation; part of it was on the appearance of ministries of environment in the 1970s. They didn’t exist before then. It was in response to the recognition of a new challenge which wasn’t being fully addressed, so there was the creation of these positions right across the industrialized world. I think we’re going to see this move towards ministries of the environment and climate change.
One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is that, unlike something that can be solved by an end-of-pipe technology—putting a scrubber on it—climate change has to have a whole-of-government approach. That’s very hard to integrate across departments, across silos, so hopefully this is a recognition that there needs to be a greater focus. I’m supportive, but I do think it also needs to part of cabinet in general. It’s not something that can actually be done by one ministry or one minister.
I wasn’t entirely sure, on the solar question, which problem you were referring to.
Mr. Joe Dickson: I don’t want you to run out of time. The chairman can get a little crusty at this time of day.
Mr. Keith Stewart: In terms of Pope Francis’s encyclical, I have looked at it. It’s one of those—I don’t know if you saw the recent speech by Mark Carney on the risk posed by high-carbon assets. I saw an interesting response from someone saying, “Well, when my banker, my pope and Greenpeace are all telling me the same thing, maybe I should listen.”
Mr. Joe Dickson: Good point. Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): All right. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.
We’ll move to the official opposition: Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thanks very much. It’s safe to say we all care about our climate and are concerned about climate change. Given your position and experience, I’m just wondering: In terms of tools to move towards managing climate change, do you prefer carbon tax or cap-and-trade?
Mr. Keith Stewart: Actually, I lecture on that tonight. I could pull out my PowerPoint slides.
The three things that define effective carbon pricing—it’s not actually which system you use; it’s how you do it. I think it’s actually easier to do a good carbon tax, but you can also do a good cap-and-trade system, and you can do a bad carbon tax. The carbon tax is certainly simpler and more elegant, and frankly, if there is one thing governments do know how to do, it’s tax. But the key things are what percentage of emissions are covered, how stringent it is—what is the price?—and how you spend the money.
Basically, if you’re Greenpeace you say that it should cover all the emissions. I have a little chart in terms of BC versus Quebec versus Alberta—
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: So no exemptions?
Mr. Keith Stewart: I would say, if you’re going to do a cap-and-trade, to auction all credits rather than provide any for free. If you have a carbon tax, have it right across the economy. If you’re going to provide relief to someone—I think you have to support low-income families. I think we need to invest in public transit and in green infrastructure. We need resources to do that. If you’re going to provide relief to a particular industry because you think they’re vulnerable, take the money and then give it back to them, so it’s transparent, rather than creating loopholes. And, particularly, avoid weak offset systems, which can be a real problem.
I would say that I think the WCI system is pretty sophisticated. It’s actually like a hybrid of a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system, because it has a floor price, it has a limitation on the use of offsets—it has fairly high standards for those—it has a declining cap over time. I think they learned a lot from some of the mistakes that were made in Europe with the first round of cap-and-trade.
If I were the entire cabinet put together, I would put in an economy-wide carbon tax, but I also think that you can do a cap-and-trade system that does a good job.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Just to support my colleague here: He does get crusty, just so you know.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Oh no, earlier.
Mr. Keith Stewart: He has a very warm smile.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Don’t let it fool you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): The Chair is under fire today. Mr. Tabuns.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: It could be a lot worse, Chair.
Keith, the only question have for you is: Do you have any amendments that you would like to propose to the bill?
Mr. Keith Stewart: I do not.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Then I don’t have any other questions for you. Thanks for coming today.
Mr. Keith Stewart: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Stewart, for coming before the committee. We appreciate it.
All right, so that would end the delegation or public hearing component for today. We have two on Wednesday. We shall commence sitting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, which is October 7.
Having said that, I’m not that crusty. I wish everyone a good afternoon.
This meeting is adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 1536.
Monday 5 October 2015
Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act, 2015, Bill 9, Mr. Murray / Loi de 2015 sur l’abandon du charbon pour un air plus propre, projet de loi 9, M. Murray G-695
Ontario Clean Air Alliance G-695
Mr. Jack Gibbons
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario G-698
Mr. Tim Lenartowych
Community Enterprise Network Inc. G-700
Mr. Jeff Mole
Environmental Defence G-702
Mr. Adam Scott
David Suzuki Foundation G-704
Mr. Gideon Forman
Pollution Probe G-706
Mr. Bob Oliver
Greenpeace Canada G-709
Mr. Keith Stewart
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
Chair / Président
Mr. Grant Crack (Glengarry–Prescott–Russell L)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président
Mr. Joe Dickson (Ajax–Pickering L)
Mr. Mike Colle (Eglinton–Lawrence L)
Mr. Grant Crack (Glengarry–Prescott–Russell L)
Mr. Joe Dickson (Ajax–Pickering L)
Mrs. Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West / Windsor-Ouest ND)
Ms. Ann Hoggarth (Barrie L)
Ms. Sophie Kiwala (Kingston and the Islands / Kingston et les Îles L)
Mr. Jim McDonell (Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry PC)
Ms. Eleanor McMahon (Burlington L)
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson (Huron–Bruce PC)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr. Peter Tabuns (Toronto–Danforth ND)
Mr. Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury L)
Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes
Mr. Percy Hatfield (Windsor–Tecumseh ND)
Clerk / Greffière
Ms. Sylwia Przezdziecki
Staff / Personnel
Mr. Jerry Richmond, research officer,