Category Archives: energy

Bring Gramma Home

From Mike Nickerson…

“You may have heard that my wife, Donna Dillman, started a hunger strike outside the gate of the uranium mine proposed for up river from Ottawa. Donna stopped eating Thanksgiving morning, October 8, and aims to continue until there is a moratorium placed on uranium exploration and mining, at least for Eastern Ontario.

“Needless to say I am concerned about the woman I love shrinking away in a camp on highway 509 without running water or electricity. This story, however, has much more to do with the grandchildren. Donna & I have four, two of which live 30 km. down wind from the proposed site. If drilling and mining were to go ahead, these young people would be subjected to the various radioactive dusts and gasses that inevitable drift up when steel and dynamite, crushers and sorters break up uranium bearing rock.

Bring Gramma Home!

“Aged between one and a half and eight years, the grandchildren are oblivious of the problem their grandmother is boldly calling public attention to. They only want her to come home.

“You can help. Make a sign that says “Bring Gramma Home” and put it in your window, on your lawn, or wear it on your lapel. When anyone asks what’s up. The conversation is started & you can tell them.

More Than a Family Concern

“While the personal story of grandchildren asking for their grandmother has popular appeal, the stakes of this issue are far more profound.

“The danger of radioactive contamination and other environmental degradation is shared by more than a million people who live downwind and downstream from the site (Sharbot Lake to Ottawa). Hundreds of millions more face similar dangers from other such sites around the world.

“Sooner or later we are going to have to pay respect to what the Earth and Sun offer on an ongoing basis. Nuclear energy is only tempting us to think that we can ignore this responsibility. Were we to shift our electricity demand to nuclear power, uranium reserves would be depleted in 30 to 40 years. Then, the grandchildren would find themselves saddled with the same problems we are trying to avoid today, except that the problems would be far worse. The resources available for working on solutions would be diminished and there would be quantities of radioactive waste, here, there and about, to haunt them for tens of thousands of years to come.

“Both the Earth and the Sun are hugely abundant. Together they have enabled life to thrive for thousands of millions of years. Humans are fully capable of being successful here. By saying yes to living within the natural process of life on Earth, we can avoid freeing the genie of uranium from the rock in which it is trapped. Civilization is now at the height of its possibilities, if this generation cannot meet the challenge of sustainability, how do we expect the grandchildren to do so when it comes to be their turn?

“As countless generations have cared to deliver a better world for those who followed, we are responsible to the grandchildren of today.

Help bring Gramma home.

Thank you.


Mike N.”

Other ways you might help

Contact your local media and tell them to
cover this courageous stand to protect the entire
next generations of grandchildren.

Forward this email [blog post] to your associates and
ask them to help bring Gramma home.

To stay informed about Donna’s hunger strike, she posts a regular blog at, the web site of the Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium CCAMU. For regular updates subscribe to “The Uranium News.” by writing to: of by joining on line.

See “Ongoing Projects” at for other possibilities.

TVO Battle Blog: Hydro Rates

Crossposted to Today’s question: “A number of Ontario industries, from the forestry sector in the north to the manufacturing sector in the south, are struggling. Some say we should help lower their costs by reducing the price of energy. Should Ontario lower its hydro rates?” (400 word limit)

As residential customers we already pay less than the true cost of energy, and large industrial users pay even less than that. This is perhaps the worst kind of corporate welfare, because it encourages waste and inefficiency while harming competitiveness and contributing to pollution and a distorted market economy. Lowering hydro rates would not only be an environmental disaster, but in the long run would harm these sectors more than it would help. To the contrary, we should raise them.

Am I under any illusion that pledging to raise electricity rates to their true cost will be an instantly popular idea? Of course not. But it’s the right decision, and it must be done. As long as we keep the price of energy artificially low (not factoring in real “externalized” costs caused by air pollution, climate change, nuclear disaster insurance, etc.) we’ll be unable to fully realize what policies (investments in renewable energy, efficiency, decentralized generation, etc.) are actually the most economically responsible and ecologically sane.

At the same time, however, we must ensure that lower-income people, who could be the most vulnerable to higher energy prices, are not left in the dark. Increasing the price of energy must be done within the context of a tax “shift” which reduces income tax. A Green government would also provide targeted financial supports for energy retrofits and other cost-saving measures, which can reduce energy consumption (and, therefore, energy bills) by up to 80%.

We must also ensure there are other kinds of supports made available to Ontario industries, including the forestry sector and manufacturing sector. There are huge opportunities in those areas for the creation of more “green-collar” jobs and more internationally competitive businesses. We should learn from the lessons of American car manufacturers who complained inexplicably that increasing their efficiency would hurt them, only to be left in the dust by their Japanese counterparts. By subsidizing the price of energy and keeping it artificially low, we are discouraging innovation and positive progress. Good, responsible government would do precisely the opposite.

TVO Election Battle Blog

TVO has asked each of the four major parties to blog on their site throughout this provincial election, dealing with several specific issues/questions each week. I’m blogging on behalf of the Green Party of Ontario, beginning today. I’ll crosspost everything to here, but the back-and-forth between myself and the other bloggers will happen on the TVO Election Battle Blog.

Today’s Question: “What do you think will be the most important issue of the 2007 Ontario Election campaign?”

Of course, absent a crystal ball it’s impossible to know what the most important issue will be in this election, and most campaigns end up taking unexpected twists and turns. So far, funding for religious schools has probably played most prominently in the media, and I know several people plan to vote based on that issue alone. From a strictly selfish/partisan point of view, I wouldn’t mind if that stuck. With the Liberals and NDP supporting the status quo of one religion receiving funding to the exclusion of all others (in opposition to most Ontarians’ sense of fairness, as well as two separate United Nations censures for religious discrimination), and with the Conservatives’ wildly-ridiculed and unrealistic plan to divert money from the public school system in order to fund all religions, the Green Party of Ontario’s plan to create one, publicly funded and cost-efficient school system is clearly the most reasonable, and, according to polls, enjoys the support of most voters.

I think a more interesting and important question, however, is what should be the most important issue of this campaign. Or, in other words, when we look back at the end of the next government’s term, what will we wish we’d spent more time debating? In that case, three things come to mind. First, for those of us familiar with the science of climate change and the fact that it’s accelerating far more rapidly than climatologists predicted, it’s hard to consider that any other issue could be more important than meeting our green obligations to ourselves and the world. When we’re talking about climate change, we’re talking about the uncertainty that our planet will continue to be able to support life as we know it via clean air, drinkable water, and fertile soil. And we are no longer talking about “the world we leave for our grandchildren;” The IPCC says we only have 8 years to make the significant changes that must be made. By the time we have another provincial election in 2011, half of that window will have passed. Therefore, it’s critical that our provincial government makes the right decisions in the next 4 years in areas where they can make a difference, like, for example, energy policy.

Which brings me to the second issue I think voters should think carefully about: the Liberal/Conservative plan to spend $40 billion dollars on nuclear power. If in the next 30 days we decide to go down that path, we will have made a mistake with a million-year legacy. The reasons to oppose nuclear power are many, and I’ve outlined them in detail on my blog. For now, suffice it to say that nuclear is extremely fiscally irresponsible, and, despite expensive PR campaigns, is ineffective in addressing the climate crisis. The last nuclear plant built in Ontario went 270% over budget, and we’re all still playing down the debt from those plants. Do we really want to add another $40 billion to that debt, to say nothing of the environmental or health concerns, or the fact that nuclear takes 12 years to build, and we’re in an energy crisis now?

Finally, and somewhat ironically, the most important issue in this election may have nothing to do with which party or candidate you vote for. October 10th is not just a provincial election, it’s also the date for a referendum on electoral reform. In my opinion, the most important vote I’ve cast in my lifetime will be to vote for Mixed Member Proportional (MMP), as recommended by the 103 randomly-selected citizens who worked on our behalf. MMP is not a perfect system (nothing is), but by a vote of 94-8 the Citizens’ Assembly concluded that it’s better than the one we have now. Under MMP you’d get to cast two votes: one for your preferred candidate, and one for your preferred party. It would also mean that a party that got 40% of the vote would get 40% of the seats (not 60%), and that more women and minorities would be represented in the legislature. For more information, visit

Friday Funny: Nuclear Edition

From federal Green Party riding executive Patrick Metzger, via Torontoist:

The Ontario government will spend around $27 billion on nuclear power between now and 2025 in a bid to keep the lights on in the province. If history is any indicator, the nuke plans will be characterized by inefficiencies, unanticipated delays,and massive cost overruns, but will at least ensure that future generations have access to a secure supply of radioactive waste.