York profs weigh in on hydro rate increases

Conservative leader Tim Hudak slammed the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) as a wasteful entity, wrote the Ottawa Citizen Sept. 24 in a story about an Ontario Energy Board (OEB) decision to allow electricity distributors to make higher profits. The Conservative leader said that, while the agency has expanded, it has yet to fulfil its central mandate by producing a long-term energy plan.

But one energy expert says the OPA doesn’t deserve all the blame. York University Professor Mark Winfield, of the Faculty of Environmental Studies, says the Liberal government hasn’t enabled the OPA to fulfil its mandate. “There’s no direction from the government to the OPA,” Winfield said. “There’s no overall vision or strategy about where we’re going.”

  • The Ontario Energy Board thinks you’re not paying enough for hydro so it’s yanking another $60 out of your wallet, wrote the Toronto Sun Sept. 24.

Gordon Roberts, a professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University, who made a submission to the OEB on behalf of Pollution Probe, recommended a lower rate. “It’s generous,” Roberts said. “Clearly, if the answer comes out on the generous side (for utilities), it’s less fair for the ratepayers.”

  • Roberts also spoke about the hydro profits issue on CBC Radio and CBC-TV, Sept. 23.

Adjunct professor chairs task force on credit cards

Some businesses are crying foul after a credit card task force set up by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty asked industry players to pony up $1.35 million to help shape public policy, wrote the Toronto Star Sept. 24. The funds would go to pay for a “scenario planning” process, according to Kevin Wright, executive director of the Task Force for the Payments System Review.

Scenario planning is a technique sometimes used by large corporations and governments to try to forecast and plan for the future, based on a variety of plausible scenarios. The task force chair, Pat Meredith, is a fan of the process, Kelly said. Meredith was unavailable for comment, a spokesperson said.

A former senior executive at CIBC, Meredith is described on the finance ministry’s website as a consultant with the Monitor Group and an adjunct professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University.

“Technology and the Internet have fundamentally changed the way Canadians access and spend their money,” Meredith said at the time of her appointment back in June. "The work of the task force will therefore be dynamic and thoughtful, with the broad aim of laying the foundation towards making our payments system a leader and an example for the rest of the world to follow.”

Prestigious Performances: As You Like It

York Circle, a new organization at York University, will launch a series of high-definition TV arts performances on Sunday with As You Like It from London’s Globe Theatre, wrote the Toronto Star Sept. 24. It’s the first of four Sunday afternoon events in a series called Prestigious Performances, designed to attract a wider community to the York campus.

On air

  • The second of three Toronto Board of Trade debates by Toronto’s mayoral candidates took place last night at York University, reported 680News, Citytv and CP24-TV Sept. 23.
  • York students Adam Lancione, Marisa Carbone and Camilo Ariza spoke about the subject of student debt, on CFMT-TV’s “Studio Aperto” Sept. 23.