Since 2004, Ontario has lost over 200,000 jobs in the manufacturing and auto sector alone. It was not until the virtual collapse of the United States financial sector did Ontarians realize that we had an economic crisis at hand and that job security that labour unions have bargained for is nothing more than a sham. In an economic crisis, very few jobs, if any, are recession proof, nor does “job security” help if a company or an industry collapses.
While bailouts and spending on saving the existing economic sectors are the most popular thing for a Government to do during an economic, Ontario needs to look towards other options. One of these options would be the creation and/or expansion of the Green Energy Sector.
In a way, creating and/or expanding the green energy sector would be a simpler task than most Ontarians would believe. The reason for this is due to the fact that there are many green corporations around the world that are Canadian, but were forced out of Canada as they had no reason to stay here. If the Government of Ontario were to provide incentives and huge infrastructure spending for these corporations, these green companies would have a strong motive for moving back to Canada.
Premier Dalton McGuinty announced about a month that the Government of Ontario was providing funding for approximately 50,000 “green-collar” jobs. This can be considered the first step in the right direction for the McGuinty Liberals who have had the appearance of sitting on their hands while several hundred thousand jobs were being lost. To many, this move was too little, too late. One could speculate that if these “green-collar” jobs were introduced on mass as early as 2004, there would be a decreased number of job losses. In fact, one would think that it would make common sense if McGuinty’s goal should have been to aim for the several hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been lost since the Liberals became the governing party in 2003.
The bulk of McGuinty’s green economic plan is the Green Energy Act. While it the first of its kind in Canada and does set Ontario towards a greener future and economy, it also continues the Government’s Nuclear energy plan. The main issue is not that nuclear is environmentally damaging in the long-run, but that the cost to our finances and economy is high. To this day, Ontarians are still paying off the debt incurred as a result of the construction and operation of these nuclear power plants. If McGuinty continues with his policy of constructing new plants or the reconstruction of nuclear generators will mean that generations of Ontarians would be paying for these costs.
Think about it for a moment. For the last 20 some odd years, Germany has been developing and constructing a green energy system. Combine all their renewable energy generation together, one will find that they produce as much energy as Ontario’s nuclear plants, which power about 50% of our energy usage. The total area of Germany is smaller than that of Ontario. As well, Ontario’s landscape is much more diverse. Imagine the possibilities of constructing such a system. The sky is truly the limit. Our capacity to produce renewable energy would be greater than that of our nuclear power plants, and at a much lower cost.
We as Ontarians need to realize that a green plan does not mean a carbon tax here or there, or will cost us an arm and a leg, but an opinion that will rewarding to both our environment and our economy.