Canada

Vote Compass: Energy - The parties' positions

Here are the party positions on four questions about enery in the Vote Compass questionnaire, and what was behind those answers.

The academic team behind Vote Compass looked at party policy statements and platform documents from the Greens, Liberals, New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives, and consulted the parties to determine how their policies lined up with the way Vote Compass interprets respondents' answers.

All the parties had the chance to answer the Vote Compass questionnaire for themselves, and were given the opportunity to challenge the assessments before the "final codes" went in. The detailed methodology is available here.

Here are the party positions on four questions about energy in the Vote Compass questionnaire, and what was behind those answers.

1) Ontario should build more nuclear power plants.

  • Strongly disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Neutral
  • Somewhat agree
  • Strongly agree
  • Don’t know

NDP: Strongly disagree

Nuclear energy creates environmental problems that last thousands of years. It’s a part of electricity supply we can’t simply ignore but we can say we will not build new nuclear reactors and we will carefully assess the need for further refurbs. Instead, we will direct the Ministry of Energy to prepare a new plan looking at more cost effective options, including increased conservation, increased renewable energy, expanded combined heat and power and hydro imports from Quebec. We will submit our plan to a full environmental assessment.

Source: Affordable Green Choices (July 2011)

Liberal: Somewhat disagree

Right now, over half of our electricity comes from nuclear. But under our plan, the proportion of our electricity that comes from nuclear will fall from 52 per cent to 46 per cent. Older nuclear units will be shut down at Pickering, taking 3,000 MW of nuclear capacity offline. Those units will be replaced with only 2000 MW of nuclear at a different location. When we’re replacing our older nuclear units, we’ll make public safety the number one priority. We will incorporate the most advanced safety measures in the world. We will also ensure that we get a price that is affordable for families and is competitive with the price of renewable energy.

Source: Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan: Building Our Clean Energy Future (2010) (November 2010)

PC: Somewhat agree

We will focus on the proven technologies that are effective, efficient, and clean; like natural gas, hydroelectric, and nuclear.

Source: Changebook (May 2011)

Green: Strongly disagree

No nuclear plant in Ontario has ever been built on time or on budget. Every month we continue to pay for the cost overruns and mismanagement of past nuclear construction projects with the debt retirement charge on our electricity bills. It is financially irresponsible to invest in a technology that has never delivered on budget while the prices of new renewable technologies are declining. We will oppose construction of new nuclear facilities and prohibit cost overruns for nuclear projects from being passed on to ratepayers and taxpayers.

Source: Green Party of Ontario Energy Strategy (May 2011)

2) Home energy should not cost consumers more at peak times.

  • Strongly disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Neutral
  • Somewhat agree
  • Strongly agree
  • Don’t know

NDP: Neutral

We will get electricity prices under control and make environmental choices more affordable. We will take money being spent on nuclear mega-schemes and invest it in comprehensive energy efficiency programs that put money into household budgets.

Source: Affordable Green Choices (July 2011)

Liberal: Somewhat disagree

Higher energy costs at peak time reflect the fact that electricity prices rise and fall over the course of the day and tend to drop overnight and on weekends, based on the amount of supply available and levels of demand. Time of Use pricing is designed to encourage consumers who conserve and shift their usage away from the on-peak times when electricity is most costly. This provides environmental benefits to the system and avoids the need for expensive new generation and transmission investments.

We recognize however, that shifting usage is not always possible and on May 1, 2011, we changed the weekday off-peak period to begin at 7 p.m., giving Ontarians an extra 10 hours a week at the lowest rate. There are now three times as many off-peak hours than on-peak hours in a week. We are also helping with the cost of energy through the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit. As of January 1, 2011, the OCEB automatically gives families, farms and small businesses 10 per cent off their electricity bills every month for five years.

Source: Statement from the Ontario Liberal Party to Vote Compass (August 2011)

PC: Somewhat agree

We will unplug the mandatory smart meters.

Source: Changebook (May 2011)

Green Party: Strongly disagree

The Green Party would end the dumb use of smart meters and support programs to help people use smart meters to save money on their electricity bills. We support using existing technology to help individuals and businesses use smart meters to measure their energy use in order to identify and verify savings.

Source: Green Party of Ontario Energy Strategy (May 2011)

3) Ontario should rely more on wind and solar power, even if it means consumers pay more for electricity.

  • Strongly disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Neutral
  • Somewhat agree
  • Strongly agree
  • Don’t know

NDP: Somewhat agree

We need to be aggressive about bringing clean, renewable energy online. Ontario has made progress, but there have been many problems. Households and farms have invested in solar panels only to find they can’t connect to the grid. A needless backlash against wind energy has been created in communities that feel inadequately consulted. And our publicly-owned, publicly-accountable electricity generator has been ordered not to participate in renewable opportunities. We can do better.

Source: Affordable Green Choices (July 2011)

Liberal: Strongly agree

The government’s 20-year Long-Term Energy Plan will help guide the Province as it continues to build a clean, modern and reliable electricity system. [...] The Long-Term Energy Plan includes [...] generating 13 per cent of Ontario’s energy needs from renewable forms of energy such as wind, solar and biogas by 2030 — currently about three per cent of Ontario’s energy needs come from these sources. Along with hydroelectric power, approximately 33 per cent of Ontario’s energy needs will come from clean, renewable sources by 2030, up from approximately 22 per cent in 2010.

Source: Turning the Corner to a Better Tomorrow: 2011 Ontario Budget (March 2011)

PC: Strongly disagree

We will focus on the proven technologies that are effective, efficient, and clean; like natural gas, hydroelectric, and nuclear. We will have an open and fair process for alternate energy sources like solar, wind, and biomass that demands affordable prices and respects local decisions. We will end the feed-in tariff program that, in some cases, pays up to 15 times the usual cost of the hydro.

Source: Change book (May 2011)

Green: somewhat agree

Tory Leader Tim Hudak’s pledge to scrap the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program is a slap in the face to businesses, individuals, First Nations and community groups investing in safe, renewable energy projects.

Source: Press Release, "Old Parties Present False Choices on Green Energy" (May 2011)

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