People can quibble about the details, but it's fair to say that the McGuinty government is presenting a "vision" with it's Green Energy Act, a comprehensive approach to move all facets in tandem towards a over arching goal. It really is a plan that has a transformational component, so that if successful, the Ontario economy will emerge stronger and more diversified, more competitive and greener, in such a way to be a benefit, not a drag.
One of the biggest criticisms of the Ontario Liberals, they tend to move in a timid fashion, small steps here and there, but nothing that evokes the word bold. What we see now, is a recognition that it's sink or swim time, Ontario can't plod along, relying on past powerhouses to fuel the economy, it must modernize:
Ontario's Green Energy Act will create 50,000 new jobs in construction, trucking and engineering while laying the groundwork for developing projects more quickly, Energy Minister George Smitherman said today.
"If passed, the act would ensure that new green power doesn't get tripped up in all kinds of red tape, but instead that new renewable generation would be built and flowing into the system faster," Smitherman told the legislature after introducing the bill.
The Green Energy Act will also set what Smitherman called ``reasonable" domestic content requirements for renewable projects to ensure more money is spent in the province.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said while he understood a switch from making cars to making wind turbines may not be easy for workers in Ontario, green technology is key to boosting the province's economy.
The province isn't turning away from its traditional auto jobs, but has a responsibility to create new work as well as a sustainable energy base, said McGuinty.
"It's not an easy shift, I understand that, but we need to begin to plan for the future with a sustainable energy base," he said.
"We have to see ourselves as vital players. We can't just tinker with a few things."
Progressive Conservative critic John Yakabuski called the legislation vague, noting it "leaves
Encouraging words from the NDP:
New Democrat Peter Tabuns said the change was "way past due."
"The fact that this government is finally saying it will link jobs with climate change is welcome, it opens the debate," Tabuns said in the legislature.
"My goal is to see that we actually deliver; that we don't get trapped in the timidity that I see in the bill before us."
The legislation will amend 15 statutes and the government says it will create 50,000 new jobs.
Is this plan perfect? I've heard encouraging reviews from many sources, others are critical, but given that unanimity is a fallacy, overall I think you can argue, with credibility, that this plan has the comprehensive component, a coherent thread throughout, that it encompasses everything a bold plan should entail. You can't just play along the margins, and maybe the McGuinty government was guilty of this in the past. This economic collapse allows the Liberals to be aggressive, because there is a real, sober understanding, that the status quo is a future anchor.
Governments are given political capital during tough times, we see it in other jurisdictions as well. A crisis is really an opportunity, because the urgency it brings allows for initiatives which cut through the normal pace of change, as long as your articulate the light at the end of the tunnel, you're given room to "try it" so to speak. Whereas, the Conservative government offers vanilla, old ideas, the only goal to "ride out", the provincial Liberals are demonstrating a capacity for BIG ideas, with an eye for the future.