Ontario’s eco-fee hangover

Last summer Ontario’s Liberal government delivered consumers a new green stealth tax, on the same day they launched the unpopular HST.

But they were caught out by the  instant consumer backlash.  The new taxes were called ‘eco-fees’ and the government first suspended them, then axed them altogether.  Environment Minister John Gerretsen lost his job over the mess.

Good news for consumers and tax-payers, right?  Wrong.

The organization responsible for managing eco-fees, Stewardship Ontario, is unhappy the government left them swinging in the breeze as soon as voters balked at the new tax and has presented the Ontario Government with an $18 million claim for expenses:

The bill from Stewardship Ontario to taxpayers includes a charge of $8 to $10 million for research and development of the programs; legal fees; marketing campaigns, and the purchase of a $3 million computer system designed to track an array of household hazardous waste materials through the recycling process.

A separate fee of $8.6 million covers the payments that Stewardship Ontario made to the municipalities that collected recycled materials since the cancellation. The ministry asked Stewardship Ontario to continue managing the collection — now paid by government dollars — until it finds a replacement program.

You could argue the $8.6 million is for services rendered, but why are taxpayers being asked to reimburse an industry-funded group up to $10 million for losses made after a green-washing scam was scrapped?

If this sort of thing sounds familiar to Ontario citizens, it should.  Just last month consumers were told they’d have to endure price increases on energy to cover fines levied against utilities found guilty of usury.

Even when Ontario consumers win, they lose.

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Climate change policy has nothing to do with environmental protection

“Klimaschutz hat mit Umweltschutz kaum mehr etwas zu tun“

I have from day one written many, many posts in this blog about the intimidation of people and blatant censoring of facts done in the name of ”science” and Global Warming Hysteria. And that the Global Warming Hysteria has nothing to do with saving the Earth or the environment. It has always been a political agenda.

(See for example my post The Big Money & The Global Governance/Government Agenda That Fuels Environmentalism)

I have written extensible (over 120 of posts) about the scam called Cap and Trade, –  the Biggest Heist in History-  where BOTH BUYER AND SELLER BENEFITS FROM CHEATING. And we, as taxpayers and consumers pay the prize. It’s an open invitation to fraud and manipulation.

And recognize it for what it is – A GIANT FINANCIAL SCAM that puts all the burden on the common people and does nothing whatsoever for the environment.

Therefore it is refreshing to se that more and more of the Global warming Hysterics are coming out from behind their masks and are openly admitting their political agenda.

The latest one is Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III. He is also the deputy director and chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Berlin Institute of Technology. He will be co-chairing the Working Group “Mitigation of Climate Change”.

Here are some direct quotes from an article in Neue Zürcher Zeitung November 14:

Grundsätzlich ist es ein grosser Fehler, Klimapolitik abgetrennt von den grossen Themen der Globalisierung zu diskutieren. Der Klimagipfel in Cancún Ende des Monats ist keine Klimakonferenz, sondern eine der grössten Wirtschaftskonferenzen seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg….. da führt kein Weg daran vorbei, dass ein Grossteil der fossilen Reserven im Boden bleiben muss.

Aber man muss klar sagen: Wir verteilen durch die Klimapolitik de facto das Weltvermögen um. Dass die Besitzer von Kohle und Öl davon nicht begeistert sind, liegt auf der Hand. Man muss sich von der Illusion freimachen, dass internationale Klimapolitik Umweltpolitik ist. Das hat mit Umweltpolitik, mit Problemen wie Waldsterben oder Ozonloch, fast nichts mehr zu tun.“

Aber dann müssen wir sehen, dass erfolgreiche Klimapolitik eben eine andere globale Handels- und Finanzpolitik braucht.“

Und in den Industrieländern wird uns klar, dass für ein Klimaschutzziel von zwei Grad weder rein technische Lösungen noch Lebensstilwandel ausreichen. Die Leute hier in Europa haben die groteske Vorstellung, Einkaufen im Bioladen oder Elektroautos lösten das Problem. Das ist arrogant, denn der ökologische Fussabdruck unseres Lebensstils hat sich in den letzten 30 Jahren vergrössert, trotz Öko-Bewegung.

Es muss Strafen und Anreize geben: weltweite CO 2 -Zölle und Technologie-Transfer.“

Was wir suchen müssen, ist eine Oase, das ist die kohlenstofffreie Weltwirtschaft. Es geht um den gemeinsamen Aufbruch zu dieser Oase.“

My english translation:

“Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War…. there is no getting around the fact that a large part of the fossil reserves must remain in the soil.”

“But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. That the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this, is obvious.

One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.”

“But then we need to see that a successful climate policy must specify a different global trade and financial policy.”

“And in developed countries, we have realized that for a climate protection target of two degrees neither purely technical solutions nor life style change will be sufficient. The people here in Europe, have the grotesque idea that shopping in the health food stores or in electric cars solved the problem. This is arrogant, because the ecological footprint of our lifestyle has increased in the last 30 years, despite the eco-movement.”

“There must be penalties and incentives: global CO 2-tariffs and technology transfer.”

“What we need to look for is an oasis that is the non-carbon global economy. It’s about the common departure for this oasis.”

The article from NZZ here:

http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/schweiz/klimapolitik_verteilt_das_weltvermoegen_neu_1.8373227.html

Klimapolitik verteilt das Weltvermögen neu»

Klimaschutz hat mit Umweltschutz kaum mehr etwas zu tun, sagt der Ökonom Ottmar Edenhofer. Der nächste Weltklimagipfel in Cancún sei eigentlich ein Wirtschaftsgipfel, bei dem es um die Verteilung der Ressourcen gehe. Interview: Bernhard Pötter

NZZ am Sonntag: Herr Edenhofer, beim Klimaschutz fordern alle eine Reduzierung von Emissionen. Sie sprechen jetzt von «gefährlicher Emissionsreduzierung». Was ist das?

Ottmar Edenhofer: Bisher ging Wirtschaftswachstum immer Hand in Hand mit dem Wachstum der Treibhausgasemissionen. Ein Prozent Wachstum heisst ein Prozent mehr Emissionen. Ins historische Gedächtnis der Menschheit hat sich eingebrannt: Wer reich ist, verfeuert dafür Kohle, Öl oder Gas. Und deshalb haben die Schwellenländer Angst vor Emissionsgrenzen.

Beim Klimaschutz sollten aber alle mitmachen, sonst funktioniert er nicht.

Das sagt sich so leicht. Aber vor allem die Industriestaaten haben ein System, das fast ausschliesslich auf fossilen Energien beruht. Es gibt kein historisches Vorbild und keine Weltregion, die ihr Wirtschaftswachstum von den Emissionen abgekoppelt hat. Da können Sie nicht von Indien oder China erwarten, dass die finden, dass das eine tolle Idee ist. Und es kommt noch schlimmer: Wir sind mitten in einer Renaissance der Kohle, weil Öl und Gas teurer geworden sind, Kohle aber nicht. Die Schwellenländer bauen gerade für die nächsten 70 Jahre ihre Städte und Kraftwerke, als ob es dauerhaft keinen hohen CO 2 -Preis gäbe.

Das Neue an Ihrem Vorschlag zu einem Global Deal ist die Betonung, wie wichtig Entwicklungspolitik für die Klimapolitik ist. Bis jetzt denken viele bei Entwicklungshilfe an Almosen.

Das wird sich sofort ändern, wenn global Emissionsrechte verteilt werden. Wenn das pro Kopf der Bevölkerung geschieht, dann ist Afrika der grosse Gewinner, und es fliesst viel Geld dorthin. Das hat für die Entwicklungspolitik enorme Konsequenzen. Und es wird sich auch die Frage stellen, wie diese Länder mit so viel Geld überhaupt sinnvoll umgehen können.

Das klingt alles nicht mehr nach der Klimapolitik, die wir kennen.

Grundsätzlich ist es ein grosser Fehler, Klimapolitik abgetrennt von den grossen Themen der Globalisierung zu diskutieren. Der Klimagipfel in Cancún Ende des Monats ist keine Klimakonferenz, sondern eine der grössten Wirtschaftskonferenzen seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Warum? Weil wir noch 11 000 Gigatonnen Kohlenstoff in den Kohlereserven unter unseren Füssen haben – und wir dürfen nur noch 400 Gigatonnen in der Atmosphäre ablagern, wenn wir das 2-Grad-Ziel halten wollen. 11 000 zu 400 – da führt kein Weg daran vorbei, dass ein Grossteil der fossilen Reserven im Boden bleiben muss.

De facto ist das eine Enteignung der Länder mit den Bodenschätzen. Das führt zu einer ganz anderen Entwicklung als der, die bisher mit Entwicklungspolitik angestossen wurde.

Zunächst mal haben wir Industrieländer die Atmosphäre der Weltgemeinschaft quasi enteignet. Aber man muss klar sagen: Wir verteilen durch die Klimapolitik de facto das Weltvermögen um. Dass die Besitzer von Kohle und Öl davon nicht begeistert sind, liegt auf der Hand. Man muss sich von der Illusion freimachen, dass internationale Klimapolitik Umweltpolitik ist. Das hat mit Umweltpolitik, mit Problemen wie Waldsterben oder Ozonloch, fast nichts mehr zu tun.

Trotzdem leidet die Umwelt unter dem Klimawandel – vor allem im Süden.

Es wird auch viel bei der Anpassung zu tun sein. Aber das geht eben weit über klassische Entwicklungspolitik hinaus: Wir werden in Afrika mit dem Klimawandel einen Rückgang der landwirtschaftlichen Erträge sehen. Aber damit kann man umgehen, wenn die Effizienz der Produktion gesteigert wird – und vor allem, wenn der afrikanische Agrarhandel in die Weltwirtschaft eingebettet wird. Aber dann müssen wir sehen, dass erfolgreiche Klimapolitik eben eine andere globale Handels- und Finanzpolitik braucht.

Das grosse Missverständnis vom Uno-Gipfel in Rio 1992 wiederholt sich in der Klimapolitik: Die Industriestaaten reden von Umwelt, die Entwicklungsländer von Entwicklung.

Es ist noch komplizierter. In den achtziger Jahren waren unsere lokalen Umweltprobleme für die Entwicklungsländer ein Luxusproblem. Wer schon satt ist und Auto fährt, der kann sich über sauren Regen aufregen. Für China ging es hingegen darum, wie man 600 Millionen Chinesinnen und Chinesen in die Mittelschicht bekommt. Ob da ein Kohlekraftwerk steht oder in den Kohleminen die Sozialstandards niedrig sind, das war erst einmal nachrangig – wie bei uns im 19. Jahrhundert.

Aber die Welt ist kleiner geworden.

Jetzt kommt etwas Neues: Es geht nicht mehr nur um unseren Luxus, unsere Umwelt. Den Entwicklungsländern wird klar, dass die Ursachen im Norden liegen und die Folgen im Süden. Und in den Industrieländern wird uns klar, dass für ein Klimaschutzziel von zwei Grad weder rein technische Lösungen noch Lebensstilwandel ausreichen. Die Leute hier in Europa haben die groteske Vorstellung, Einkaufen im Bioladen oder Elektroautos lösten das Problem. Das ist arrogant, denn der ökologische Fussabdruck unseres Lebensstils hat sich in den letzten 30 Jahren vergrössert, trotz Öko-Bewegung.

Sie sagen, für die erfolgreiche Klimapolitik sei ein hohes Mass an internationaler Kooperation nötig. Gerade die sieht man aber nicht.

Ich teile die Skepsis. Aber haben wir eine Alternative? Derzeit gibt es drei Ideen, wie man die schwierige Kooperation umgehen kann: Man verlegt sich auf unsichere Experimente wie das Geo-Engineering, man konzentriert sich auf den Ausbau von sauberer und sicherer Energie, oder man vertraut auf regionale und lokale Lösungen. Es gibt allerdings keinen Hinweis darauf, dass eine dieser Ideen das Problem löst. Wir müssen die Kooperation also wollen, so wie man auch für die Regelung der Finanzmärkte zusammenarbeiten muss.

Aber anders als bei der Finanzkrise hat in der Klimapolitik ein Land Vorteile, wenn es nicht mitmacht.

Die Finanzkrise war eine Notoperation – angesichts von Gefahr verhalten wir uns kooperativer. So etwas wird es beim Klima nicht geben, denn es bleibt immer fraglich, ob ein konkretes Ereignis wie eine Überschwemmung ein Klima-Phänomen ist. Aber es gibt immer die Gefahr, dass individuelle Rationalität zur kollektiven Dummheit führt. Deshalb kann man das Klimaproblem nicht allein lösen, sondern muss es vernetzen mit anderen Problemen. Es muss Strafen und Anreize geben: weltweite CO 2 -Zölle und Technologie-Transfer.

In Ihrem neuen Buch ist viel von Ethik die Rede. Spielt sie bei den Klimaverhandlungen eine Rolle?

Ethik spielt immer eine Rolle, wenn es um Macht geht. China und Lateinamerika betonen zum Beispiel immer die historische Verantwortung der Industriestaaten für den Klimawandel. Diese Verantwortung ist nicht zu leugnen, aber es ist auch ein strategisches Argument der Länder. Ich würde eine Verantwortung für die Zeit seit 1995 akzeptieren, weil wir seither wissen, was den Treibhauseffekt verursacht. Die Verantwortung bis zur industriellen Revolution auszudehnen, ist ethisch nicht gerechtfertigt.

Kann man die Ethik nutzen, um den Stillstand zu beenden?

Das Buch enthält eine Parabel: Eine Gruppe Wanderer, die Weltgemeinschaft, ist in der Wüste unterwegs. Die Industriestaaten trinken das Wasser zur Hälfte aus und sagen dann grosszügig: «Jetzt teilen wir den Rest!» Da sagen die anderen: «So geht es nicht, ihr habt das Wasser ja schon zur Hälfte geleert. Wir reden jetzt mal über eure historische Verantwortung.» Wir meinen: Wenn wir nur um den Wasservorrat streiten, weil wir uns auf die ethischen Prinzipien nicht einigen können, werden wir verdursten. Was wir suchen müssen, ist eine Oase, das ist die kohlenstofffreie Weltwirtschaft. Es geht um den gemeinsamen Aufbruch zu dieser Oase.

Copyright © Neue Zürcher Zeitung AG

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The Big Money & The Global Governance/Government Agenda That Fuels Environmentalism

I have written many, many posts in this blog about the intimidation of people and blatant censoring of facts done in the name of ”science” and Global Warming Hysteria. And that the Global Warming Hysteria has nothing to do with saving the Earth or the environment. It has always been a political agenda.

I have written extensible (over 120 of posts) about the scam called Cap and Trade, –  the Biggest Heist in History- where BOTH BUYER AND SELLER BENEFITS FROM CHEATING. And we, as taxpayers and consumers pay the prize. It’s an open invitation to fraud and manipulation.

And recognize it for what it is – A GIANT FINANCIAL SCAM that puts all the burden on the common people and does nothing whatsoever for the environment.

The European model is a carnival of corruption, profiteering, speculation and multi-billion-dollar fraud. It’s done nothing to improve the environment while handing undeserved profits to big business and driving up the cost of energy to consumers.

What they are really advocating is huge price increases in the cost of energy, meaning the cost of everything.

That’s it. That’s their plan.

Anything else they say is a lie.

This is a scam to enrich the corrupt.

As always – Follow the money.

Here are some good videos on the big company, organisations and political money behind the Global Warming Hysteria.

See my previous post on the biggest heist in American history:

The Biggest Heist in American History – Cap and Trade 4

The Biggest Heist in American History – Cap and Trade 3

The Biggest Heist in American History – Cap and Trade 2

The Biggest Heist in American History – Cap and Trade

More on cap and trade on my blog: http://uddebatt.wordpress.com/tag/carbon-trading/

Part 1- The Big Money & The Global Governance Agenda That Fuels Environmentalism

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Part 2- The Big Business of Scaring America to Death

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Part 3- Green Gold: BP, GE & the World’s First Carbon Billionaires

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Ontario’s eco-fees canceled

Ontario announced today that the unpopular eco-fees that were sprung onto an unsuspecting public last July 1st have been canceled.

An email from a Ministry of the Environment spokesman received at The Daily Bayonet today (emphasis mine):

I recently noticed your blog and thought I would say hi and provide some additional information about our simplified municipal hazardous waste program.   This simplified program removes the confusion surrounding the eco-fees rolled out on July 1. Those fees are gone permanently. They will not be coming back.

We are partnering with municipalities to divert fire extinguishers, rechargeable batteries, pharmaceuticals and sharps, CFL light bulbs, and products containing mercury. Consumers can now take them back to their municipal depot or their local Environmental Days easily and free of charge.

This is the best way to ensure we divert more products from our landfills in a way that’s transparent and easy for consumers.

The Ministry web page has a formal statement from Environment Minister John Wilkinson:

“On July 1st, a new program run by Stewardship Ontario took effect to divert household hazardous waste from landfills. Ontarians quickly recognized that the program that started July 1 was flawed because it applied to some products that made little sense to consumers — and forced consumers to pay fees, in some cases inconsistently, on some routine household purchases.

The Ontario government has listened to the concerns of families. The government is permanently ending the household waste program that took effect on July 1. The end of the program means the end of any consumer fees being charged to pay for that particular program.

Programs that existed prior to July 1, 2010, which currently divert, recycle and dispose of electronics, tires and household hazardous wastes such as paint and single-use batteries, will continue. To help ensure these programs are fair and transparent, and that money is used solely to keep hazardous waste out of landfills, the province will:

  • Establish a special team that will investigate incorrect or misleading fees being charged by retailers to Ontarians
  • Request that consumer representation sit on the independent boards that deliver waste diversion programs
  • Improve oversight by including provisions for both increased reporting and third-party audits.

Ontario will continue to make progress in diverting hazardous waste from landfills to protect our water and land for future generations. The province will begin to provide funding to municipalities to properly manage, recycle and dispose of fire extinguishers, rechargeable batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, needles, mercury-containing devices and pharmaceuticals.

These changes will ensure that Ontario strikes the right balance between consumer protection and effectively managing waste that is harmful and hazardous to our families.”

The province has folded on the thousands of items that the eco-fees covered, instead focusing on the proper disposal of ‘hazardous waste’ in an effort to keep harmful materials from the landfills.  It’s better policy, better communication and a win for Ontarians that are, to use a popular expression from our friends south of the border, Taxed Enough Already.

There’s even a video.  I’m not sure how my neighbors would interpret me dropping off a used bottle of bleach, but at least they’re giving the communication all the effort:

..

The list of hazardous materials to be diverted from landfills is short:

  • Paints and coatings, plus their containers
  • Solvents and their containers
  • Used oil filters
  • Empty lubricating oil containers
  • Single-use batteries
  • Antifreeze and its containers
  • Pressurized containers (e.g., propane tanks and cylinders, oxygen and helium tanks)
  • Lawn fertilizers that contain pesticides
  • Pesticides and their containers
  • Fire extinguishers*
  • Rechargeable batteries*
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs*
  • Sharps (needles, lancets, pens and syringes)*
  • Mercury-containing devices (e.g, thermometers, thermostats)*
  • Pharmaceuticals (prescription and over-the-counter medications for humans and pets)*
  • * The province will begin to provide funding to municipalities to properly manage, recycle and dispose of these items.

If you don’t know why I highlighted CFL’s, it’s because the disposal of these mercury laden, health problem causing eco-disasters is a governmental own-goal that was sired in Ontario and adopted by the Feds in a greenwashing exercise.

Eco-fees are dead, which is what sensible people wanted, but we’ll keep an eye on this disposal business – any hint of a new fee, tax, levy or charge will re-ignite the issue.  Promise.

Previous Eco-fee posts:

Eco Fees in Ontario

Eco-Fees 2: Stewardship Ontario

Ontario’s eco-fees: an update

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Global warming hysteria is horse….

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary was interviewed today by the Independent on “Global warming”:

“The scientific community has nearly always been wrong in history anyway. In the Middle Ages, they were going to excommunicate Galileo because the entire scientific community said the Earth was flat… I mean, it is absolutely bizarre that the people who can’t tell us what the f** weather is next Tuesday can predict with absolute precision what the f** global temperatures will be in 100 years’ time. It’s horseshit.”

Hear, hear!

Interview here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/global-warming-it-doesnt-exist-says-ryanair-boss-oleary-2075420.html

Global warming? It doesn’t exist, says Ryanair boss O’Leary

“Nobody can argue that there isn’t climate change. The climate’s been changing since time immemorial,” he said.

“Do I believe there is global warming? No, I believe it’s all a load of bullshit. But it’s amazing the way the whole f** eco-warriors and the media have changed. It used to be global warming, but now, when global temperatures haven’t risen in the past 12 years, they say ‘climate change’.”

“Well, hang on, we’ve had an ice age. We’ve also had a couple of very hot spells during the Middle Ages, so nobody can deny climate change. But there’s absolutely no link between man-made carbon, which contributes less than 2 per cent of total carbon emissions [and climate change].”

He suggested scientists had invented and perpetuated the theory in order to gain research grants. “Scientists argue there is global warming because they wouldn’t get half of the funding they get now if it turns out to be completely bogus,” he said.

“The scientific community has nearly always been wrong in history anyway. In the Middle Ages, they were going to excommunicate Galileo because the entire scientific community said the Earth was flat… I mean, it is absolutely bizarre that the people who can’t tell us what the f** weather is next Tuesday can predict with absolute precision what the f** global temperatures will be in 100 years’ time. It’s horseshit.”

He mocked global warming campaigners, describing the United Nations as “one of the world’s most useless organisations”, its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as “utter tosh”, and US politician Al Gore as someone who “couldn’t even get f** re-elected” after a boom.

See also

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/7993367/Ryanair-boss-Michael-OLeary-denies-man-made-climate-change.html

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Ontario’s Eco-Fees: An Update

After the announcement that the unpopular eco-fee stealth taxes would be suspended for 90 days, Stewardship Ontario sent an email to current ‘Stewards’ detailing what the announcement meant.

Remember, ‘stewards’ is simply a name Stewardship Ontario uses to describe any business that they force to pay into their scheme, it is not voluntary and is a cynical branding exercise to hide the truth that Ontario is double-dipping for handling garbage.

Thanks to a reader who works for a ‘steward’, we can see how Stewardship Ontario communicated the announcement to industry:

Minister of the Environment: Eco fees suspended

John Gerretsen, Ontario’s minister of the environment, has ended “eco fees” on all materials that were added to the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program on July 1, 2010.

The move, announced at a press conference this morning, applies to phase two materials only (materials added to the program on July 1, 2010). Consumer eco fees can continue to be levied on the nine phase one materials introduced in July 2008.

To make this happen, government has told Stewardship Ontario that the steward obligation to pay Stewardship Ontario fees for phase two materials – the 13 additional classes introduced July 1, 2010 – will be suspended for 90 days.

There are no changes to the steward obligation for the last quarter of phase one (April 1, 2010-June 30, 2010). Stewards should report their sales of phase one materials for this period as required by July 31, 2010.

Changes to reporting processes will be required to accommodate this decision for the third quarter of 2010 (July 1 to September 30). Please do not report data for this period at this time. Further instructions on Q3 reporting will be provided in the near future.

What You Need to Know
•    Business as Usual for MHSW Program: Both phase one and phase two of the MHSW or Orange Drop will operate as usual.  Stewardship Ontario will continue to collect, transport and process all 22 designated materials, and to educate consumers about the importance of the program – and our success in diverting these materials from our landfills and waterways.

•    Steward Reports and Fees on Phase One Stay: Stewards will continue to report and pay fees on phase one materials as they were defined at that time (paints and coatings, solvents, oil filters, oil containers, single-use batteries, pre-packaged antifreeze (under 30 litres) and related containers, pressurized containers and pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and their containers).

•    Please Report Sales for Phase One Second Quarter Only: No changes have been made to steward reporting or payment for phase one for the period from April 1 to June 30, 2010. Stewards are asked not to submit a report for Q3 (July 1 to September 30, 2010) at this time. Instructions for reporting and paying fees for phase one materials for this period will be issued in the near future.

•    Eco Fees Banned on Phase Two Materials: Retailers may continue to charge an eco fee on phase one products. Government has implemented a consumer-protection hotline (1-800-889-9768 or TTY: 416-229-6086 or 1-877-666-6545) to receive consumer complaints.

On July 21st Environment Minister John Gerretsen announced that eco-fees are gone for good, but the day before, according to Stewardship Ontario, industry is still being charged fees on Phase One products.  Which probably means that consumers are being charged too.  Perhaps secretly, as Stewardship Ontario prefers.

Where the truth lays is yet to be determined, more on this later.

Previous posts:

Eco Fees in Ontario

Eco-Fees 2: Stewardship Ontario

Take that Hippies

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Take that Hippies: Eco Fee Axed! – Or is It? UPDATED

Following the announcement by Environment Minister John Gerretsen, it’s clear that the McGuinty government has only put eco-fees on hold for 90 days pending a ‘review’:

The Ontario government says it will scrap the controversial “eco fee” for 90 days to develop a new system “that works for consumers,” but will kick in $5-million during that time to make up for the money no longer being charged to consumers at the cash register.

You see, the Ontario government and mysterious entity Stewardship Ontario don’t believe there is a problem double-dipping on taxpayers.  Instead it’s a communication problem, in other words they think we’re too stupid to understand it:

“For their part, Stewardship Ontario did not do a good job in preparing Ontarians for these new fees,” the company said in a statement. “They did not properly communicate why the fees exist or the importance of safely recycling these hazardous products.”

So, can we expect any of the Liberal-cronies running Stewardship Ontario to be fired?  Thought not.

Gerretsen’s statement suggests that consumers will be consulted during the 90-day suspension.  What that means is that they think the anger will have died off and no one will care when they reactivate it.

Here’s how to contact Gerretsen:

The Honourable John Gerretsen
Minister of the Environment
77 Wellesley Street West
11th Floor, Ferguson Block
Toronto ON
M7A 2T5

Telephone: (416) 314-6790
Fax: (416) 314-7337

If you prefer to email, there is a link on this page

The 90-day hiatus is a cynical political move aimed to exploit the passive nature of most Ontarians.  Get mad and get calling, writing and emailing.  Tell your friends and neighbors, call your MPP (find them here).  While Stewardship Ontario exists, the eco-fee will remain a threat, so lets kill a few unnecessary green jobs.

Original Post:

Ontario’s government has folded and will eliminate the controversial eco-fees after facing a consumer backlash:

Environment Minister John Gerretsen will announce on Tuesday that fees attached to thousands of household items will be eliminated, according to government sources. The fees went into effect on July 1, the same day as the Harmonized Sales Tax, without the knowledge of most Ontarians. They were attacked by politicians of all stripes, along with retailers, including Canadian Tire, which announced on Monday it was refusing to collect the fee.

A spokesperson for Mr. Gerretsen declined to comment on Monday night, but confirmed the Minister would make an announcement at Queen’s Park on Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Whether the decision was made because of consumers and retailers rising up, or the threat of an ombudsman investigation, the end result is the same, a cynical green tax is killed off.  In Ontario!

Next.. the HST?

Previous posts:

Eco Fees in Ontario

Eco-Fees 2: Stewardship Ontario

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Eco-Fees to be investigated? Updated

Ontario’s ombudsman has announced they may launch an investigation into the secretive stealth tax known as eco-fees:

…spokeswoman for Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin, said an investigation into the fees — which slipped into effect without the knowledge of many Ontario residents on July 1 — is not guaranteed, but said the office is covering its bases.  “Mr. Marin has asked the special ombudsman response team to conduct an assessment of the issues raised in the complaints we’ve received about eco fees — about a dozen so far, including the one from [Ontario NDP leader] Andrea Horwath,” Ms. Williamson said in an email yesterday.

“Before the ombudsman makes any decision on whether or not to launch an investigation, the complaints and issues have to be assessed.”

My prior posts on eco-fees have been some of the most searched in the history of the blog, and from the many comments, Ontarians are angry.  The first post is here, but the post with all the information about Stewardship Ontario is here.

Now it’s time to push Andre Marin to investigate this cynical fee, here are his contact details:

Phone: 1-800-263-1830 – Complaints Line
Fax: 416-586-3485
TTY (Teletypewriter): 1-866-411-4211
E-mail: info@ombudsman.on.ca

Address:
Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
Bell Trinity Square
483 Bay Street, 10th Floor, South Tower
Toronto, ON
M5G 2C9

We can stop this greenwashed tax grab, just write, call or email and ask the ombudsman to crawl all over Stewardship Ontario’s operation.

UPDATE: Ontario MPP Jim Wilson has blogged about the eco-fees, and he doesn’t mince words:

…this is a Liberal tax.  It started in 2006 when the Environment Minister sought a proposal from Waste Diversion Ontario on how to implement an eco-tax.  The scheme was presented to the Liberals in 2007, and in February 2008 the Minister personally approved the plan to implement the tax on 4,000 items.  On July 22, 2008 the Minister requested that the tax be expanded to a wider array of goods.  On September 22, 2009 the Minister personally approved a plan to apply the tax to 5,000 additional products.  After the outcry that began on July 1 of this year, the Minister began blaming businesses and the PCs for the tax.  Aren’t they a deceitful bunch!

The Liberals have also claimed that they have nothing to do with Stewardship Ontario, the agency that collects the tax on the government’s orders.  That’s also a load of bunk.  The CEO of that organization is a former Liberal staffer.  Much like eHealth Ontario, it is run by Liberal insiders, is unaccountable to the public, and is funnelling an untold amount of eco-tax dollars to consultants.  This agency is so secretive that they are not even subject to Freedom of Information laws.

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Eco-Fees 2: Stewardship Ontario

Yesterday’s post on Ontario’s eco fees generated quite a few emails and a couple of comments, and I promised to dig a little deeper into Stewardship Ontario.  The main questions asked were who is Stewardship Ontario, who collects the money and where does it go.  A long Friday night and a bottle of wine later, I have answers.

Who is Stewardship Ontario?

According to their 2009 Annual Report, Stewardship Ontario was incorporated as a ‘corporation witout share capital’ in 2003.  All that means is they are a not-for-profit operation regulated by the Ministry of the Environment, but not a government agency.

Stewardship Ontario defines their business as:

Originally established in 2004 to serve as a financing organization mandated under the Waste Diversion Act to raise industry funds to reimburse municipalities for 50% of the costs of Blue Box recycling, Stewardship Ontario has since evolved into a reverse supply chain business. We are responsible for the end-of-life management of several materials including paint, batteries, solvents, oil filters, oil containers, antifreeze, pesticides, fertilizers and pressurized containers. The municipal hazardous and special waste program launched on July 1, 2008. 2009 marked the first full year of operation for that program.

While our financing mandate continues under the shared responsibility model for the recycling of residentially generated printed paper and packaging, our direct end-of-life management responsibilities have led to the acquisition of new competencies and the development of a new strategic direction. We are no longer just in the business of funding sustainability – we are in the business of doing it.

Quick summary, Stewardship Ontario was formed to take money from business and pass it municipalities to ‘support the blue box recycling program’ but has engaged in mission creep since its formation.

Who collects the eco-fees?

The language is slippery, but here is how it works.  Stewardship Ontario collects revenue from businesses (‘stewards’) who sell any product on the fee schedule (pdf).  The ‘eco-fee’ on a consumer’s receipt goes to the retailer, distributor or manufacturer to offset the levy.  While technically the eco-fee goes to the entity that was charged by Stewardship Ontario, in reality there would be no need to charge consumers anything if it were not for the Stewardship Ontario programs.

This is how Stewardship Ontario can claim that eco-fees are not mandatory, but it’s a cynical argument that relies on the belief that businesses will not pass the cost to consumers.  Perhaps some businesses don’t, but the furor in the press about the surprise appearance of the fees on customer’s bills tells the true story.

In 2009, Stewardship Ontario collected almost $100 million from Ontario businesses:

Where does the money go?

The chart suggests that Ontario municipalities are indeed double dipping, charging property taxes for garbage collection and collecting funding from Stewardship Ontario.  No doubt local authorities would claim the need to raise property taxes if the back-end funds were unavailable, but the result is the same.

Only the way the cash leaves your pocket is different; as a tax payer or as a consumer.

The backlash against yet more fleecing of Ontarians has clearly caught Stewardship Ontario flat-footed, how else to explain the PR disaster now under way from their advice to stewards to ‘hide the fees’ to make ‘consumers none the wiser’?

This business needs to be folded.  If municipalities need more cash to fund recycling programs, let them increase taxes and face their voters, stealth taxes are dishonest at best.

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