Thanks for nothing: Provincial cash for social housing must go to green energy projects

From The Toronto Sun

First posted: Sunday, August 27, 2017 03:14 PM EDT | Updated: Sunday, August 27, 2017 03:22 PM EDT

Housing Minister Peter Milczyn (ERNEST DOROSZUK, Toronto Sun)

This is a case where you want to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth.

Ontario Housing Minister Peter Milczyn has just announced plans to make “major investments in social housing repairs and retrofits” across the province.

“Helping Ontario’s most vulnerable find stable housing is critically important to our goal of ensuring everyone in the province has a safe place to call home,” Milczyn said in announcing a five-year cash commitment of $657 million.

Except that’s not what’s happening.

On the surface, the announcement is good news for residents in Toronto’s dilapidated social housing homes and apartments, and for the City of Toronto, which has a $2.6-billion social housing repair backlog and unsolvable social housing crisis.

Toronto will get about half the funds Milczyn announced, but here’s the rub

All the money, the minister’s office confirmed, is earmarked for green energy renovations, not what’s actually needed — cash to fix units and buildings so run down from neglect and abuse that they are uninhabitable.

As Mayor John Tory wrote in letters to provincial MPPs earlier this year: “Without immediate support, the City of Toronto expects that 400 units will be at risk of closing this year and 600 units will be at risk of closing in 2018.

“That’s 1,900 of the city’s most vulnerable residents at risk of losing their homes in two years,” he wrote.

Apparently not a single Liberal MPP, not Milczyn nor Premier Kathleen Wynne responded, until this past week with a green energy retrofit program.

So instead of cash for worn out kitchen cabinets, broken toilets and new floors, the city will get money for building insulation, maybe some rooftop solar panels and new energy efficient windows — “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money on electricity costs,” the province said in a release.

All of which is good for the environment, and without doubt will be some help to TCHC. Ontario’s electricity bills are the highest in Canada, thanks to the Liberal government’s disastrous mismanagement of this province’s energy infrastructure. So if this green cash lowers TCHC’s energy bills, that’s a plus.

Tory was gracious in acknowledging the funding gesture from Queen’s Park, as was TCHC. But it might be compared to handing a pair of new jeans to a starving man — appreciated perhaps, but the gift doesn’t address the real problem.

Meanwhile, the cash Milzcyn plans to dole out will come from the Liberal government’s new cap-and-trade carbon tax, which will make everything from gasoline to groceries more expensive for consumers.

But it will do little to lift desperate tenants out of dangerous, sub-standard public housing, which is somewhat ironic given Milczyn is also minister responsible for poverty reduction.

Forced to choose between helping people in dire and chronic need, or virtue signalling about global warming, the Liberals chose the latter.

Wynne has repeatedly suggested the next election campaign will be about “fairness.” Given the Liberals have had 14 years to fix the social housing “downloading” mess they blamed on Mike Harris in opposition, it’s clear this government has no idea what that means.

Read the full story here.


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Sweet Old Bob
August 30, 2017 4:05 pm

Something is about to hit the fan … er turbine …er something …

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
August 31, 2017 5:29 am

But it might be compared to handing a pair of new jeans to a starving man

More like giving a starving , homeless man a framed poster of NASA’s “blue marble” photo !
A great symbol of our “fragile” Earth but totally f-ing useless.
More bizarre and absurd consequences of pretending CO2 is an “urgent” threat to life on earth. This is where the lying and the hypocrisy comes home to roost.
It is deviating funding from projects that the left would traditionally support.

August 30, 2017 4:22 pm

When has a socialist or liberal government ever actually addressed and solved real problems. They do not care about real outcomes. They count success as how much money or how much more money they throw at a problem. It is why in Washington, a budget cut is not actually reducing real spending but only reducing the growth of spending. I guarantee the government in Canada will count this as a success and at the same time ask for more money to help their growing homeless problem.

Glen Haas
Reply to  Edwin
August 31, 2017 6:45 pm

From the U.S. — Are these people just plain stupid?

August 30, 2017 4:29 pm

I thought Dalton McGuinty was an idiot and a terrible human being, then Wynne came along. Just as terrible with extra stupidity

Reply to  Greg61
August 31, 2017 3:42 am

You were absolutely correct about Dalton. The only reason both he and Kate are not in handcuffs is, they don’t make handcuffs small enough for him or large enough for her.

Reply to  Greg61
August 31, 2017 3:52 am

Most Canadians were absolutely astonished when, right after scandal plagued McGuinty stepped down, Ontario voters immediately re-elected the Liberals with a McGuinty clone at the helm.
And once they get used to regular carbon cheques arriving in the maill, voters will re-elect them again in June 2018. Just watch.
What has happened to Ontario?

Reply to  Klem
September 1, 2017 7:28 am

We were stuck between choosing a well intentioned, but potentially not the best decision making liberal option and an downright nasty and vindictive US styled conservative option during the last election cycle. Easy choice to make. Ontarions made the right choice. Monetary issues can be fixed. The damage to the fabric of our society s well as ideological economic decisions, that can get done by right wing zealots sticks around for a long time. Also remember that the hydro problems did not start with the Liberals. Most of them can be traced back to decisions made as far back as the early 80’s by consecutive governments of three different stripes. The worst decision along the way likely the give away of our power generating capacity by the Harris conservatives.

August 30, 2017 4:33 pm

I’ve griped about this before, but these are the same idiots who think it’s smart to bypass Niagara falls “free” hydro so we can sell wind power at a loss to NY, and Michigan

Reply to  Greg61
August 31, 2017 3:45 am

“Free” anything is childish, there is no free in the adult world, “included” is as close as we come.

Reply to  CraigAustin
August 31, 2017 7:27 am

I guess you’ve never been to Niagara Falls. Or you didn’t figure out why I put “free” in quotes. And yes at around $.02 / Kwhr compared to other sources, Niagara Electricity is “free”.

Reply to  CraigAustin
August 31, 2017 8:23 am

The unproductive takers that inhabit this communist ‘social housing’ will as usual trash these units …. which will then be seen as a reason to build more.
Communism works until you run out of other peoples money.

Reply to  CraigAustin
August 31, 2017 2:59 pm

Actually, the energy in the water going over the falls is free, is carbon free, and is renewable.
[The mods point out that, technically, it is the water NOT going over the falls but has been diverted to the power plants that is (nearly free), is (nearly) carbon free, and is renewable. The energy in the water going over the falls is lost and wasted into increased entropy, heat, and water vapor. (All of which increase Mann-caused global warming.) .mod]

August 30, 2017 4:33 pm

Once you understand “Ontario’s most vulnerable” refers to atmospheric molecules being squeezed out by human-induced CO2 it all makes sense.

August 30, 2017 4:47 pm

So… The plan is to add things like insulation to these buildings. Not to do anything about, oh, say, deteriorating electrical systems, lack of sprinkler systems, “escape routes” that are actually chimneys.

Reply to  Writing Observer
August 30, 2017 10:06 pm

I am still enraged the “burn-easy” panels cladding the building, sold as eco friendly and insulative for low cost housing simply doomed those people.

Reply to  Writing Observer
August 31, 2017 8:25 am

Once the leftists lie, they must continue to lie.

Reply to  Writing Observer
August 31, 2017 1:39 pm

Exactly what my thoughts went to when I read this, but since so many green minds acutely desire a reduction of the human population, they may have no issue with insulated, but not fire-resistant cladding.

August 30, 2017 4:54 pm

Effective energy projects are defensible. Diversion of funds to support ineffective and cost-negative projects are not defensible. The question is “where did the money get diverted to, and for what purpose, and to whose benefit?”. If it was for “wind power”, then “theft of public funds” comes to mind. In defense of that claim, please see the idiocy of trying such an exercise in applied stupidity. From 2009. Wind Doesn’t Work in any effective way.

Reply to  Lance
August 30, 2017 8:17 pm

Saint Jane Jacobs had a lot to say about that.

What makes Toronto’s civic decline particularly scandalous, says Jacobs, is that its source is not fiscal “but purely administrative and governmental.” The culprits are the “provincial kleptocracies” that wield their sovereign authority over local jurisdictions so as to take far more in taxes than they return, leaving cash-starved cities to depend on “only very minor taxation, such as property taxes.” Administrative kleptocracy is a major issue in California as well. Our cities’ and counties’ dire budgetary predicaments stem not only from the bust but also from longtime, repeated diversions of locally generated tax monies to state coffers. 2004 article

Viewing the provincial and state governments as thieves explains a loot lot (is there such a thing as a Freudian typo).
Just as with the Saskatchewan Party and the Wild Rose Party, and really the Reform Party, the time for an alternate party is ripe in Ontario. None of the existing parties is worth voting for.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  commieBob
August 30, 2017 9:26 pm

The Ontario Liberal government is the most corrupt and incompetent I have ever seen. It actually rivals the Chavez\Maduro catastrophe in Venuzuela, it’s just starting out a little higher. The complete downfall of the West is imminent at the hands of economically ignorant Eco-Socialist fools.
California and Ontario lead the way on the road to Hell. Soon the productive capacity to support social spending will be exhausted and we will be superseded by more pragmatic states, probably Asian. Then poverty will reign in NA and Europe at a level not seen in the last hundred years.

Reply to  Lance
August 31, 2017 3:22 am

Your 2009 link is completely out of date… as one might expect after 8 years!
There are multiple working offshore windfarms in Europe…
UK measured capacity is in the range 32 to 40% and an 8MW turbine would be the standard off the UK
Offshore wind works and would probably deliver more than the predictions scoffed at in your post.
I note the first US offshore windfarm is finally under construction

Matt Bergin
Reply to  Griff
August 31, 2017 5:56 am

Intermittent power absolutely useless. Until they can supply dispatch-able power it is a waste of time and money.

The Expulsive
Reply to  Griff
August 31, 2017 5:58 am

No off-shore winds farms in Ontario because people in Toronto see them, and you don’t want to anger the people of Toronto, many of whom have no clue about where their power is coming from or how much is needed to run a modern economy. They only react when there is no power and have to hoof it while the juice pig streetcars stay, not moving, on their tracks.
Wind farms only get placed out in the countryside, in ridings the Liberals don’t win, and are best placed in environmentally sensitive areas, like along the lakes. The number one choice appears to be in the middle of the fly-ways between NY and Ontario, next to areas previously set aside to protect endangered species.

Reply to  Griff
August 31, 2017 7:31 am

I can’t figure out whether you are actually this stupid or are being paid to be this stupid as one of David Brock’s paid astro turfers. I’m sure WUWT would be a prime target of the Media Matters crew

Reply to  Griff
August 31, 2017 8:15 am

“multiple ‘working’..” and “… wind ‘works’…” I’m not sure what you mean by ‘work’. They certainly spin and generate some electricity. Can they deliver energy more cheaply and reliably than other sources is the question. So far, the answer is “no” (and believe me, I would like it to be otherwise). I think a better quantitative measure would be how much the consumer has to pay per KWH (after subtracting out what the consumer paid to subsidize). People living paycheck-to-paycheck (which is quite a high proportion in the US) need inexpensive electricity first, and could not afford to pay what the average European pays (ref:

Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 11:37 am

Greg61 August 31, 2017 at 7:31 am
I can’t figure out whether you are actually this stupid or are being paid to be this stupid

Paid to be.

Patrick MJD
August 30, 2017 4:55 pm

“Forced to choose between helping people in dire and chronic need, or virtue signalling about global warming, the Liberals chose the latter.”
Virtual signalling is easy. Actually doing something to address a chronic need, not so much.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Patrick MJD
August 30, 2017 9:33 pm

There are clear solutions to the real problems. It just takes courage and honesty to deal with them. These are not virtues we find in politicians and we don’t reward it when it turns up. There is a deep flaw in democracy the way we practise it today that attracts and rewards liars and self serving cowards.

Chad Irby
August 30, 2017 4:57 pm

You can save a lot of energy in public housing if nobody can live there.

August 30, 2017 5:04 pm

I doubt if the so called conservatives would be much different. Within days of electing a new leader, these so called conservatives vote with the liberals to pass the Paris deal. Throwing the entire base under the bus. Which is why I will no longer vote in federal elections, and only in provincial elections, and only for Alberta independence candidates.

Reply to  Rob
August 31, 2017 1:45 pm

Far more difficult to elect your version of Trump with your system. You need an entirely new political party.

August 30, 2017 5:19 pm

I live in Toronto Ontario, what a train wreck. Ontario’s dept has gone up and up and up under Liberal Leadership, the world’s most indebted sub-sovereign borrower. Sorta like a Hockey Stick shape?? Can I move to the USA, will I be given Sanctuary City status?

Reply to  Duncan
August 30, 2017 5:34 pm

I hate to break it to you, but your graph seems to be a little behind the times. Per person, the people of Ont. are in worse shape than those in California. Until federal debt is factored in.

Reply to  Rob
August 30, 2017 5:54 pm

Sorry Rob, I am scratching my head as to what point you are making. Who’s federal Dept (USA Canada)? Like Obama added 9 trillion in eight years, Ontario has doubled dept in 10 years.. Don’t forget Ontario is a lot smaller than California.

Reply to  Rob
August 30, 2017 6:04 pm

It’s only off by 3 years, which is an additional 30 billion debt. Nothing to worry about, right?

Reply to  Rob
August 30, 2017 6:12 pm

Duncan August 30, 2017 at 5:54 pm
Per person, the people of Ont. owe more money to the their provincial debt, than the people of California owe to their state debt. Until the people of California factor in what they owe towards their federal debt. I hope that helps.

Reply to  Rob
August 30, 2017 6:14 pm

J. Richard Wakefield August 30, 2017 at 6:04 pm
Yeah, thirty billion is just pocket change. Well, not really.

August 30, 2017 5:43 pm

What’s the half-life of a political myth?
It’s gray energy projects.

August 30, 2017 5:59 pm

It doesn’t take a giant leap of imagination to visualize a brand new EV charging station in the parking lot of the subsidized (social) housing complex.

Reply to  DonM
August 30, 2017 6:16 pm

Yup, for people with no electric cars, It makes perfect government sense.

richard verney
Reply to  Rob
August 31, 2017 1:48 am

It makes perfect government sense.

Quite so. A classic YES MINISTER episode dealing with a new hospital that has no patients, being one of the best and most efficiently run hospitals.

Reply to  Rob
August 31, 2017 4:03 am

But now they have no reason to not buy a Tesla and help SaveThePlanet™.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  DonM
August 30, 2017 9:40 pm

That is a completely accurate representation of the blind stupidity of the Ontario government and most democratic governments, given enough time without the kind of crisis that creates a complete reset. That is coming soon!

Steve C
August 30, 2017 10:36 pm

Crumbling social housing is not unique to Ontario by any means. I’ve been asking my (British) local council for the new roof surveyors have promised me for about 20 years now. with, to date, no results at all. They have “insulated” the loft space with rockwool, oh, yes, but apparently keeping it dry so the tenant doesn’t have rainwater peeling the wallpaper and sagging the ceilings is a long way down the agenda. If there isn’t a “green” checkbox for it on the paperwork, it doesn’t happen.

August 30, 2017 11:01 pm

If the houses are inhabitable, what CO2 emissions will be reduced if the house receives insulation?

Reply to  Eric
August 31, 2017 5:39 am

If the house becomes uninhabitable, there will be a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions ! Perfect solution to keep up with out national engagements to reduce CO2. Sounds like the perfect solution.

old construction worker
August 31, 2017 3:43 am

“But it might be compared to handing a pair of new jeans a starving man. A starving man would sell the jeans and buy food. I can see it now. A day after the government install solar panels they go missing.

Reply to  old construction worker
August 31, 2017 1:51 pm

The cell phone industry took off in Central and South America a few decades ago because it was so hard to have a landline (wired telephone). People kept stealing the copper wire.

August 31, 2017 4:08 am

If the town hall incompetents start covering the outside with dodgy green cladding panels they got on the cheap in the name of the environment, I’d move out. Just saying. Google Grenfell Tower. BTW The nutty Germans, who love to follow overtly stupid belief systems together, have covered many of their older building in flammable foam. What could possibly go wrong?

Caligula Jones
August 31, 2017 6:20 am
“Ontarians had overpaid for electricity to the tune of $37-billion between 2006 and 2014, and will continue to be overcharged by another $133-billion by 2032.”
Yeah, this is also the party that promised auto insurance rates would drop by 25%.
Narrator’s voice: They haven’t.

August 31, 2017 1:18 pm

So $657 million for housing will result in a net increase of 0 new housing units. Typical bureaucracy. Look for cronies in the ‘green energy housing upgrades’ businesses.

August 31, 2017 3:04 pm

Mold infested, poor H&V, some lacking even running water. The government will make sure you have a new roof made out of growing grass. (never mind the grass growing in the mold in the bathroom)

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