Archive for the ‘lobs’ Category

Mayor Ford’s alternative to Transit City: The “Mushroom Plan” (Keep them in the dark and feed them manure).

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

To the Readers of the Allderblob: we recently came across the following letter, sealed in a concrete cylinder and buried under a pile of horse manure behind the Toronto Police equestrian facility on Strachan Ave. Marked: “Danger: Radioactive,” it was with some trepidation that we seized it in our teeth and wrenched it open. Imagine our delight at finding an epistle contained within! And since it’s been such a long time since you’ve had a chance to read such deathless prose, we’ve decided to share it with our readers.

Dear Toronto Councillors and Toronto MPPs:

As you ponder the new mayor’s brazen attempt to derail the hard work of the past administration to bring rapid transit within reach of as large a number of people in Toronto as possible, remind yourself of what it’s like to squash into a crowded subway and travel, often for long spells of time, through the dark underground passages beneath our city. Like a rat or a mole, you have no idea where you are. Like a worm, you shove your way against your surroundings to emerge into the light. Which way do you go?

More to the point, as councillors and elected representatives, which way will you take this city?

Are you lost and disoriented, blinking in the light, trying to find your bearings? Or are you standing on solid ground, aware of what’s around you because you’ve seen it coming and going through the wide windows on either side of you?

I like the fact that when I get on or off the streetcar, this busy city pauses, if only for a moment, while I walk to the curb. I see that moment as a small “Thank-you” from the individuals in their cars, a “Thank-you” offered in recognition of my choice to share my ride with a million others that day. I see their moment’s pause as an acknowledgment of both my humanness, and my superiority over their dead and death-dealing motor.

The alternative of streetcars is not a paltry compromise to the dark and expensive subway. Streetcars offer the commuter the chance to experience the daylight, to see the city she or he lives in, to climb on or off at frequent intervals, to make decisions about where and when to embark like a human being, not like some darkness-loving rodent. Streetcars encourage even-spaced development, not the “point-oriented” development that comes from the widely-spread subway stops. Subways are agreeable to many motorists, it’s true: they get the “proletarian masses” off the streets and into holes in the ground, out of the way of the car. It’s no surprise that those who support subways are only occasionally the same people who must take them for lack of other choices. It’s no surprise that grand era of the subway coincided with the “glory days” of car culture. But those days are behind us now, and forever.

I live by the axiom of the former chief planner of Toronto, Paul Bedford: “It should be possible to live one’s entire life in Toronto without ever having to own a car.” I also have the good fortune to live within a few minutes’ walk of two Toronto streetcar lines. Along either line I have access to important amenities in the city of Toronto: Ryerson University and the University of Toronto fall along one line; Toronto City Hall and the Eaton Centre along the other. I can take one streetcar from Main Station in the east end all the way to High Park in the west. I can take the other from the Beaches to a stroll along the Humber river. But many folks in our city are not so lucky. For them, hours on a crowded bus, a crowded highway, or a crowded subway is a daily fact of life. The Transit City plan of our city’s previous administration was an attempt to right this wrong, and bring fast, accessible streetcars, whether on their own right-of-ways or not, within reach of the city’s priority neighbourhoods.

We need more streetcars, whether with or without their own right-of-ways. Please be sure to vote against the new mayor’s subway plan, and in favour of the Transit City plan as it was originally created.

Thank You

Toronto covers up after cyclist death on “Blood” Street

Friday, September 4th, 2009

There’s a mystery wrapped up in these pictures:

Cadmus photos

Chapter 1: An innocent fireplug on Bloor Street in Toronto gets a paint job. “Nothing to see here, sir. Move along.”

Darcy Allan Sheppard, RIP

Darcy Allan Sheppard, RIP

Chapter 2: A roadside memorial for a slain cyclist, Darcy Allan Sheppard. Photographed during the aftermath of a cyclist’s memorial this past Wednesday that saw a thousand observers take over the intersection of Bloor and University at the centre of Toronto, where Sheppard was killed in traffic on Monday night.

Fresh paint over fresh blood on Bloor Street

Fresh paint over fresh blood on Bloor Street

Chapter 3: Sheppard was killed after being scraped from the side of the speeding car he’d been holding on to, reportedly battered against a tree, a fireplug and a mailbox, and then run over by the back wheels of the car itself. Former Attorney General Michael Bryant was the driver. Navigator was the PR company that Bryant contacted from jail in the aftermath of being arrested and charged. Invest Toronto was the City of Toronto agency Bryant was hired to run (at $300k per year) by his fellow Harvard alumnus Mayor David Miller after quitting public office. The city sure acted fast to have the fireplug repainted. Wonder who ordered it?

Frank Magazine’s frummery foray

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

In a previous post we made a mysterious reference to David Frum, using the term “frum-like” to describe the weak, slippery grip the feral [shurely you mean federal? –ed.] Conservatives have on power in this country. Frum, to many, needs no further analysis or explanation. Frum is as frum does. Frum is frummish by nature, and those who feel frummy, well, there’s no hiding from that truth.

But David Frum, who arguably has even more power and influence than our colleague Francis Wilkinson, is not as well known as we thought. Yes, Frum is a frekwent kontributor to Kommentary and Nazional Review (two neokonservative [four Ks in one sentence? You’ve gone too far –ed.] car advertising magazines out of the U.S.A.). Yes, as a former speechwriter to George Bush Junior, he coined the phrase “axis of evil” to describe Stevie Harper, Bush and Danielle Crittendon. Yes, the New York Times has an archive of references to him. But is he famous? Would he be recognized by your typical angry bikeshop owner?

Actually, not necessarily. Frank Magazine, whose editor often turns to our pages for insight and editorial wherewithal [Arr –ed.], brought this home to us in a recent article in their print edition:

Headline: “Axis of Weasels”
“David Frum, vacationing in southwestern Ontario, goes into a bike shop to get work done on his bike. The shop owner, formerly American, doesn’t recognize his Frumness and David is thoroughly pissed that his exalted status didn’t get him front of the line treatment. Later, someone tells the bike shop owner who this guy is. After the work is done, the bike shop owner adds $1,000 to the bill, calling it a homeland security charge. Much huffing and puffing over the bill, the owner holds his ground and Frum storms out, leaving his bike behind.”

(Frank magazine, July 2 ’08, p. 19)

Perhaps we need to tell our readers more about him if in future we are to apply “frum” as an adjective.

David Frum is a writer. Like two other writers we know well, Leah McLaren and Jacob Richler, David Frum is truly hilarious while rarely intending to be so. Is this a genetic trait? It is possible, for like the other two, Frum’s writer’s instincts are bred in the bone–which is a kinder way of saying he’s a momma’s coattail-riding hack (his mother was Barbara Frum, a renowned CBC television journalist). Unlike McLaren and Richler however, David Frum is not someone his mother would be proud of. A favourite image for us is Mary Walsh, the Newfoundland actor of Codco fame, telling Frum his mother must be “spinning in her grave” in reaction to his neoconservative politics (Frum’s politics would see the CBC eliminated or bizarrely altered. His mother would never have stood a chance if Frum had been in charge).

Frum on a bicycle is nonetheless an image that brings gladness to the ALLDERBLOB’s too-small heart. Should he continue as a writer, we have some suggestions for him. Read Henry Miller, in particular My Bike and Other Friends. Read Daniel Behrman, in particular The Man who Loved Bicycles. And read Glen Norcliffe’s The Ride to Modernity: the Bicycle in Canada, 1869-1900.

We can’t say reading these books will help Frum’s stagnant writing career (don’t let the fact you don’t see remaindered copies of his books at the discount stores fool you; it’s just that they go straight to the pulper). However, it’s just possible that reading a book on bicycle culture will deliver Frum of the delusion that his opinion and words matter in this world [it certainly worked for us. –ed.].

The “Long” Emergency

Friday, June 20th, 2008

James Howard Kunstler, that beacon of optimism and faith in humanity who writes from his home south of the border in Saratoga Springs, a “small town” in upper New York State, has a “blog” which we at the ALLDERBLOB read each Monday. It’s got the unsavoury name “Clusterfuck Nation,” which derives, as near as we can tell, from tough-guy army talk related to “SNAFU” (“situation normal, all fucked-up”) and “FUBAR” (“fucked up beyond all recognition”). In the military, apparently, to “fuck” is not a good thing.

As a tangent, one could look at related language, such as Canadian Prime Minister Stevie Harper today saying the recently released Liberal carbon tax plan will “screw everybody.” It’s quite likely that someone like Harper believes screwing is a bad thing, something you “do” to someone in order to hurt them. It’s possible his wife would agree with him.

We could also talk about the descriptive phrase “that sucks,” which means something is lousy, crappy, stupid or terrible in some way. But what is it to suck? If it’s sexual, it’s about giving or receiving pleasure. And if it’s what a baby does, it’s the second most elemental conduit of nourishment, growth, and love from mother caregiver to child.

But back to “fucking,” which has its roots (so to speak) in an ancient word meaning to till the land: to plant seed, to fertilize or inseminate.

Insemination, however, is for the military another cup of tea entirely. So today, we had U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the news, at the U.N. denouncing the use of rape as a weapon of war (good for her for bringing it up, but why now we wonder? –apparently 16 million men have the Y chromosome of Genghis Khan, which is to say rape a fairly old weapon).

Fucking, for military types, is a weapon. So a clusterfuck would be a cluster of weapons. Was Kunstler in the military? He’s on record as decrying the tough-guys (“thuggos and sluggos”) he sees across America with their tattoo fashion and jailhouse attitude. We’re with him on that one, but what’s with the unsavoury name for his blog?

“Clusterfuck Nation” is not something we’d forward to mom, even though occasionally we might want her to read something Kunstler wrote there.

Fortunately, Kunstler is also the author of some books, many still in print, which convey much of the spiirit, if not the day-to-day drama of his blog. We’ve read two of his books: Geography of Nowhere (1994) and Home From Nowhere (1996), and we would recommend Home over Geography because it has more substance. We particularly liked the chapter in Home From Nowhere on the economic theories of Henry George.

On a recent train trip from Halifax to Toronto we found ourselves with a more recent book by Kunstler, his Long Emergency (2005). What we were doing on a train from Halifax is another story, and one that relates to Kunstler very well (he has often claimed the U.S. railway system would be the laughing-stock of Bulgaria, and he would not be impressed by Canada’s railway any better), but we will leave it for another time.

We’re back, as they say. Back in Toronto. it’s been a few weeks and we have not yet made it through the Long Emergency. This isn’t to say it’s a dull book, or a poorly written one. On the contrary, while Kunstler occasionally annoys us with his sense of certitude and his dismissal of the facts, as we see them, about the collapse of WTC Building 7 (for example), we are nonetheless greatly entertained by him. If anything, it’s a reflection on our own malaise: things unfinished, things newly started, things in flux.

One thing that impresses us about the Long Emergency, and it may have something to do with why we are not speedily devouring it: the book, published some three years ago now (which means it was written four or more years ago), in an attempt at prognostication and explanation of the slowly unfolding disaster Kunstler foretold for the years to come, reads today as if it’s ripped from the daily papers. Sadly, just four years later, it reads like a history of our times.

Can our society really be the SNAFU that Kunstler describes?

We will get back to the Long Emergency.

Cyclist Union born “with complications” Mez leaves, infant to be raised by committee

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Dave Meslin warned us he wasn’t in it for the long haul. We know him as flighty. We know him as fanciful. We love him like that, even if he infuriates us as he jumps to the next great idea, leaving us holding the sticky residue. He said he’d hang around and see that the Cyclist Union had a smooth birth process, and a healthy first year. But he had already left for greener pastures back in April, at the Cyclist Union-sponsored “advocacy workshop,” which we participated in.

The Toronto Cyclist Union, now free to be called TCU or the Cyclist’s Union, or whatever moniker it ultimately chooses for itself (“Fred?”), is to be raised by a committee of 44 or so, led by “coordinator” Rick Conroy and “assistant coordinator” Yvonne Bambrick. Already, the future of the pale, shallow-breathing infant is in jeopardy. Who changes diapers (or a flat) in this town? Will it have a CAA-style roadside assistance program? No. Will it have a magazine with a kick-ass attitude and a party all its own? Later, we’re promised. What will it have? a bunch of political wanna-bes posing in city hall council chambers on a Sunday? We were there. We saw it with our own eyes. Clout at city hall? Maybe.

We were at the launch and heard Gil Penalosa slam the book on political timidity that poses for leadership in Toronto. Mayor David Miller was there too, with his handler, Don Wanagas. But Miller might not have heard Penalosa; Wanagas drew his boss aside for a photo-op just as Penalosa got started.

Now, with “Bike Month” underway, we begin in typical fashion: a cyclist has been killed in the city of Toronto. The Cyclist Union is suddenly on record as the expert: Yvonne Bambrick has been quoted (misquoted, we hope) in the Globe and Mail and Car Advertiser saying cyclists should not daydream when they’re on their bikes. The cops are on record themselves, saying it’s unlikely charges will be filed: “what could possibly be negligent about not seeing a cyclist?”

What’s next? A Cyclist Union meeting under a “Rob Ford for mayor” banner?

Jim Kenzie thumbs nose at SUV ads

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

In a strange turn of events, the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser‘s chief carhead, Jim Kenzie, has told SUV manufacturers he doesn’t need their money.

Specifically, in an article in the weekend’s Wheels section, he burst the steel-belted radials of Porsche’s Cayenne, saying

Now, I hate Stupid Useless Vehicles (SUVs) as much or more than anyone, and the Porsche Cayenne is easily among the most egregious.

But Porsche’s executives will already burn in hell for eternity for slapping their precious badge on such a ridiculous vehicle, one that flies in the face of every principle the company’s founder stood for.

Stupid Useless Vehicles? Jim, Jim, calm down. You’re sounding like our colleague in the International Bicycle Conspiracy, the one who signs off all his emails “The real meaning of S.U.V is Stupid Urban Vehicle.”

In the meantime, Kenzie claims “In virtually any urban environment in the world, the exhaust coming out of a modern car engine is cleaner than the air going in.” He also acknowledges he has an asthmatic child at home. I guess next he’ll be running a hose directly into the child’s bedroom as proof of his insane theory. Someone, call the Children’s Aid Society!


Lady, can’t you read?

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Heads will roll dept.

Today in the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser, a couple great letters to the editor appeared. That they both found print is a remarkable fact. We predict, as usual, that Heads will roll.

Letter no. 1:

We need to curb our affection for wheels

Nov 03, 2007 04:30 AM

He just got it … they all have it …

are you next?

Special section, Nov. 1

In this enlightening special section, diabetes is described as the “price of a sedentary lifestyle.” Paul Dalby writes that to avoid an increased risk of developing this crippling affliction, we must curb our affections for the car and become more physically fit. Yet the Star is a newspaper that publishes three “Wheels” sections on Saturdays. Perhaps the Star needs to reflect further on the message it sends to its readers through the publication of such material.

Elissa Ross, Toronto

To which we imagine the testy editor replying: “Lady, can’t you read? It’s a car advertiser. That’s what we do. If you don’t like it, get your news somewhere else!”

But the Star and Car Advertiser is taking it from all sides these days.

Letter no. 2: This one is in response to a letter published by the Star and Car Advertiser from some deep thinker, who chose to attack the subject of a previously published article decrying cycling conditions in the city of Toronto (we blobbed about this story here). The attack took the familiar form of “blaming the victim” saying that the fact she’d been hit by cars more than once indicates she must be a “bad cyclist” and should take a CAN-BIKE course. Her response is a must-read:

Leaflets would suffice to help cyclists in T.O.

Nov 03, 2007

Bike lanes not safe enough

Letter, Oct. 31

I figured that at least one person would write a letter suggesting that my accidents are my fault. I thought about that and about the CAN-BIKE suggestion.

CAN-BIKE, organized by the Canadian Cycling Association, is designed for less experienced cyclists. Ironically, one of its suggestions – that cyclists occupy the middle of the lane where the lanes are too narrow for cars to safely pass – is what got me hit once.

When I reflect on what I’ve learned that resulted in reducing the five accidents in my first eight months in Toronto to only two accidents in my next eight months, it’s simply that values are different in this city than they are elsewhere in the country. In fact, I think CAN-BIKE courses could be much shorter and more to the point if they simply handed everyone a leaflet that said: “Welcome to Toronto. Here, motorists value their time and convenience much more highly than they value your life. They will jeopardize your life in order to save themselves time or effort. Happy trails!”

Kristen Courtney, Toronto

Irony alert: Toronto Star and Car Advertiser on the city’s unsafe cycling conditions

Monday, October 29th, 2007

UPDATED: see link to cyclist collision map below

Today in the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser, Tess Kalinowski weaves a compelling tale of the city’s moves of late: the passage of provisions by council to study the creation of a bikelane on Bloor/Danforth and elsewhere, and other progressive initiatives such as the painting of separate bike staging areas at red lights, ahead of the waiting cars, to increase cyclist visibility at intersections.

Hooray, we say.

The article in question occupies a full page in the front section of the paper, page A3. The page is labeled “Cyclists involved in collisions in 2005.” Intriguingly, the top third of the page comprises a map of the whole GTA (note to self: fix scanner see pdf of map here) with sites of the thousand or so crashes reported to police two years ago, arranged by type of injury. The middle third of the page is the article itself, which of course makes for worthwhile reading and which we append below in full. But what is remarkable in our opinion is the Star and Car Advertiser’s choice to position the photographs of several aggressively posed GM automobiles, complete with cartoon-style “BAM!” and “WHAM!” impact stars.

Batman impact statement

Now we know GM [that genetically-modified car company –ed.] is likely responsible for many, perhaps even a majority, of crashes and injuries to cyclists in the city. However to imply, as the Star and Car Advertiser does, that it is to blame for all such crashes, is surely a slander against the fine, albeit troubled, genetically modified car company. While our legal experts have yet to report back on this one, we anticipate an apology and retraction to follow in the paper, and/or news of a lawsuit.

Full text of story follows:

Cyclists chart a revolutionary path

Map: Bike accidents
City decision to look into Bloor-Danforth lanes could lead to fewer accidents, biking advocates say
Oct 29, 2007 04:30 AM
Tess Kalinowski
Transportation Reporter

As a law student, Kristen Courtney has enough to do without constant pain, a continual round of chiropractic and acupuncture appointments and a steady stream of insurance forms to fill out.

After seven biking accidents in Toronto, none of which she considers her fault, Courtney, 25, said, “I wake up in the morning and feel like I imagine my 56-year-old mother feels.”

Like thousands of cycling-accident victims, the University of Toronto student says the bike provisions passed by council last week, as part of a sustainable transportation plan, are as much about safety as they are about protecting the environment.

While fatalities are rare, a group of cycling advocates, including Bells on Bloor and Bikes on Bloor, say about 1,000 people each year report bike accident injuries to Toronto police. And they believe up to 90 per cent of injuries go unreported.

The best way to prevent cycling accidents is to build more bike lanes, say the activists, who complain that at the rate Toronto is moving, it will be 2070 before it meets its 2011 target to build 500 kilometres of such lanes.

But they acknowledge that the new transportation plan addresses one of the most pressing concerns. For the first time, Toronto has said it’s willing to look at an east-west bike route along Bloor-Danforth, from Victoria Park Ave. to Royal York Rd.

It’s only a study so far, but if it gets built it would be a significant victory for Toronto cyclists.

In a similarly supportive move, council directed city staff to investigate so-called “bike boxes” like those in Vancouver –designated areas at intersections that take cyclists out of a motorist’s blind spot and give them an advance position from which to make a left turn.

Research shows doing more to accommodate bikes on streets significantly reduces injuries.

Courtney’s worst accident, which messed up her neck, upper back and chest, happened last October and typifies one of the most common hazards to cyclists.

Riding along Queen St., she was “doored” by a woman who didn’t look before exiting her car. Courtney ran into the door, flew over it and landed on the streetcar tracks.

Major east-west routes like Queen St. and Bloor-Danforth are among the most dangerous routes for city cyclists; they’re busy and often dangerously narrow.

Even cycling advocate and city Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker had hesitated to endorse bike lanes on these routes, a reluctance compounded by that of merchants and motorists who worry about traffic congestion and the loss of on-street parking to bike lanes.

But De Baeremaeker said he changed his mind about Bloor-Danforth. After travelling it on his bike and in a car, he concluded the cycling traffic is already significant on the route.

“Despite my own initial fears as a cyclist, that is a main entranceway into the city. The best way is to formalize what people are already doing,” he said. The second-term councillor is among those who believe last week’s passage of the plan sounds the death knell for opposition to cycling at city hall.

Asked why you would need to bike on Bloor St., Courtney responded, “Why would you ever drive on Bloor when there’s a subway?”

Planners know bike lanes can be a difficult sell for merchants and residents. Whereas Dundas St. – which has a bike lane – has lots of residential property, Bloor is mostly commercial, said Daniel Egan, Toronto manager of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

He said the city will consider lots of options on Bloor St., including rush-hour bike lanes or a bikeway, which could be a wide curb lane with “sharrows,” street markings placed on shared lanes (typically two chevrons and a bike symbol) that show where cyclists should be situated on the road.

“We won’t know until we take a look at it, and council will say at the end of the day what they want to support,” Egan said.

As for the city’s latest move, “It’s a step forward but in the grand scheme of things this is still only a report,” said environmental lawyer Albert Koehl. “Is the pace of government response equal to the urgency of the problem? The answer is clearly no.”

New power line through Danforth Peninsula still needed, province says: Case Ootes still silent, sez ALLDERBLOB

Friday, May 11th, 2007

When bikelanes were proposed for Cosburn Ave, in the heart of Toronto Councillor Case Ootes‘s ward 29, the esteemed councillor was on it like white on rice. He was pretty concerned about a possible delay of up to a minute or two for those motorists trying to get through ward 29 in a hurry.

He would know. He’s one of them.

Now that Ontario Power Authority has made it clear a hydro corridor is to be carved north-south along some street like Donlands Avenue, a corridor to bring electricity from nuclear plants northeast of Toronto down to the new Portlands Emissions Centre, Case Ootes is strangely silent. Where is he? Where is his concern for property values, for possible health risks associated with electromagnetic fields, and for the blight on the landscape this scheme portends? Surely Case Ootes’s “conservative” values would be offended by a $600 million scheme that flouts the province’s and city’s “Green Plans” by encouraging ever-increasing electricity consumption?

Or is the problem for Ootes–and the problem for ward 29–that a majority of exactly 20 votes won him his office in the last election? Is the problem that a clear majority of voters actually picked someone other than Ootes, leaving the man bitter, galled and indifferent? Is the problem that the 20-vote “majority” came from the tony “Governor’s Bridge” section of ward 29, across the Don Valley to the west, where no OPA would ever dare propose something as terrible as a $600 million hydro corridor? Is the problem that Ootes himself lives well outside Ward 29, on a ravine lot north of Taylor Creek, where no hydro corridor will ever touch?

The term NIMBY is sure to be heard in this debate. But the fight against hydro corridors on Donlands or Pape or Jones Ave is not about NIMBYism. NIMBYs are hypocrites who pay lipservice to the greater good–something like social housing–only when it’s not in their “back yard.” In this debate, folks both support a greater good–energy conservation–and believe $600 million could be more wisely spent on programs to encourage it.

This debate, like the debate about bikelanes all across Toronto, is about the most troubling dilemma facing humanity in the 21st century: Climate Change, and our role in creating or slowing it.

Where is Case Ootes in this debate?

Nuclear Power Plants and Climate Change

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

The Toronto Star and Car Advertiser published a story in the Sunday paper suggesting Ontario might need to build more nuclear power plants to meet the province’s energy needs. The matter is coming to a head with the province’s stated intention to close its coal power generating stations.

The McGuinty government is determined to close all coal plants in the province, including the massive Nanticoke Generating Station that employs 600 workers in the area. Surrounding communities, fearful of more job loss, are cautiously exploring their options as a 2014 shutdown deadline approaches.

Desperate, they keep coming back to one controversial word: nuclear.

The debate that followed on the letters page concerned whether this is an appropriate response, not only to possible job losses, but to the climate change dilemma.

We guess you know how the ALLDERBLOB sees this. After all, if the ongoing buildup in carbon dioxide gas is leading our planet to a venus-like future, and it’s electricity that powers the ALLDERBLOB computer (and the computers of our readers), it’s essential that the technology of how we produce electricity change to one that produces less carbon dioxide.

What’s essential is that access to the ALLDERBLOB not fade away.

We’d be hypocrites to support nuclear power, with all its problems, after griping about the hydro corridor the current Ontario Power Authority is threatening, like a meat axe, to chop through Case Ootes‘s ward 29. After all, if it’s the hydro corridor we object to, what difference does it make if it’s carrying power generated by coal, natural gas, nuclear or wind power.

But there are differences between these power sources, let us not kid ourselves. Not least among these differences are the costs associated with them. And nuclear power is just about the most expensive way we know to generate electricity.

The cheapest source of energy “generation” is still conservation.
This chart demonstrates that the cost of building new nuclear power plants is up to three times higher per kilowatt-hour generated than the cost of saving a kilowatt-hour of energy through conservation measures.

It shows generating power through wind turbines to be half the cost of nuclear power, and the cost of “solar thermal” electricity generation to be two-thirds the cost of nuclear power.

All these measures, of course, do not take into account the “cost” associated with the safe storage of deadly used fission material–a direct by-product of nuclear energy generation. They do not include the “cost” associated with simple accidents that can happen: if a wind turbine falls over, someone could be killed. How many are killed if a nuclear plant melts down?

this is what the chernobyl meltdown looked like

Nuclear power is currently one of the most expensive forms of electricity:

Source of energy

Cost per kilowatt-hour

Energy Efficiency

0-5 cents


2-8 cents


5-6 cents


5-8 cents


6-8 cents

Solar Thermal

9 cents


10-12 cents

Solar Photovoltaic

15-20 cents

The Star and Car Advertiser story on new nuclear power stations for Ontario makes it clear that someone’s selling something. This isn’t being offered as a gift to the province from an altruistic non-profit corporation. The big lie is that just “600 jobs” are on the line with the closing of Nanticoke. Jobs? What good are jobs on a planet with the climate of venus?

Fact is, as Ontario’s Energy Minister Dwight Duncan stated in a 2004 speech, energy conservation is a job creator:

I’d like to close by saying there can be no doubt that Ontario faces a real challenge in meeting its energy needs, but the McGuinty government is seizing the opportunity to promote a genuine conservation culture — in communities, businesses and homes.

The benefits of conservation go far beyond what people will see on their monthly bills.

A culture of conservation will help Ontario build a high-skills, high-tech, high-performance economy by rewarding and encouraging innovation.

This, in turn, will help stimulate investment, create jobs and build a stronger, more sustainable economy.