Guelph Chapter AGM: Brent Patterson on “What’s to be Done?”

November 14th, 2018

Join us on Wednesday, November 28th at the Guelph Public Library Main Branch to hear our guest speaker, Brent Patterson, on the way forward for today’s activists.

Doors open at 7:00 pm for this free public event.

Brent speaks at 7:30 pm sharp.

(Please do not enter the room before 7:00 pm if you are not attending our private AGM.) This public event immediately follows our Annual General Meeting.

2nd Floor
Guelph Public Library (Main Branch)
100 Norfolk st., Guelph St.

Brent Patterson will be speaking on
“What is to be Done? Thoughts on How Activists Can Navigate the Current Political Moment”

Things We Should Be Considering as Activists:

1 – Read as much as possible
2 – Study movement history
3 – Support independent media
4 – Articulate a vision of a better world
5 – Embrace being a radical
6 – Develop a theory of change
7 – Be audacious
8 – Mobilize beyond e-petitions
9 – Think beyond the protest march
10 – Weigh the utility of electoral politics
11 – Up your militancy
12 – Confront racism
13 – Commit to decolonization
14 – Take Indigenous leadership
15 – Offer tangible solidarity
16 – Be hopeful


Brent Patterson is a political activist and writer. He has worked in solidarity with revolutionary Nicaragua, advocated for the rights of prisoners in jails and federal prisons, taken part in civil disobedience actions in Toronto’s financial district and at the Ontario Legislature, and participated in street protests at the Battle of Seattle and at UN climate summits. He supported cross-country activism at The Council of Canadians for almost 20 years. Brent has a BA in Political Science from the University of Saskatchewan and an MA in International Relations from York University. He lives in Ottawa on the traditional, unceded and unsurrendered territories of the Algonquin nation.


Free admission. Everyone welcome. Donations welcome.

Coffee, tea, water, and cookies provided.
Bring a friend. Share this notice with your contacts. Let’s network.

Please keep water issues in mind when you vote in the upcoming federal election.


Our events are open to the public and never include a business meeting. Our monthly business meetings are separate meetings for our board members and a few invited guests only. All of our planning and other business are carried out at these steering meetings.

This event takes place on the ancestral lands of the Attawandaron people and the treaty lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit.

Facebook event details here.

Posted in Events, Human Rights, Latest News, Right to Protest | Comments (0)

Mayoral Debate – Oct. 10 2018 – 7:00pm

October 10th, 2018

Join us for an evening of debate as the incumbent, Cam Guthrie, and the candidate, Aggie Mlynarz, square off on the issues facing Guelph this election.

Our moderator for this event will be retired MP for Guelph, Mr. Frank Valeriote.

This debate will take place in the City Hall Council Chamber.

Doors open at 6:30 – come early to ensure a seat.

Come with your questions to submit in written form or ask at the mic.

Get to know your candidates for mayor and the issues for Guelph moving forward.




Posted in Democracy, Events, General | Comments (0)

Maude Barlow, Renowned Water Warrior to Speak in Guelph

August 23rd, 2018

Maude Barlow


Maude Barlow, Renowned Water Warrior to Speak in Guelph

Aquifers Under Siege – What Happens when the Wells Run Dry?

Guelph, Ontario, August 15, 2018. It is largely believed that the wells in the Guelph area will never run dry.  Even if we believe that the water quantity is not threatened, the disturbing fact is, given the increasing demands put upon the aquifer, the quality of water necessary for drinking and sustaining life could easily be at risk.

The aquifer which feeds the water supply for this area is under siege.  It’s unique and special qualities have not escaped the attention of corporations who want to use our drinking water for profit.  Nestlé, and more recently Xinyi Glass, have welcomed themselves (or tried) to this area to help themselves to free resources.

On September 12, 2018, at 7 p.m. at the Italian Canadian Club in Guelph, Maude Barlow will speak about the spreading international crisis over water shortages.  Barlow is a world-renowned Canadian activist and author who campaigned to have water recognized as a human right by the UN.  She has authored 17 books, is recipient of 12 honorary doctorates, and campaigns against governments which allow water to be squandered by corporations.

Maude Barlow will talk about the international and national situation, and explain why it is vital to be aware and vigilant today, about our own watershed and local situations to preserve our drinking water for future generations. This event is free to attend, but it is important to pre-register as there is a limit number of seats.  To sign up go to:

Get Concerned, Wellington Water Watchers are advocacy groups focused on the conservation and preservation of water. Council of Canadian is a national organization advocating for clean water, fair trade, green energy, public health care, and a vibrant democracy.

Posted in CETA, Campaigns, Events, FIPAs, Human Rights, Latest News, NAFTA, Rights of Nature, Water | Comments (0)

Hidden Quarry Media Release

August 9th, 2018

August 7, 2018
Rockwood…Guelph Eramosa Township Council (GET) will receive a special delegation from the Concerned Residents Coalition (CRC) on Monday, August 13 at 7 pm.

Dr. Emil Frind, retained by CRC to review the potential impacts of the proposed Hidden Quarry, will present his findings in a presentation entitled: “Uncertainties in the Modelling of the Impact of Hidden Quarry on the Groundwater.”

Emil O. Frind Ph.D, P.Eng is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Groundwater (modelling) at the University of Waterloo. Together with hydrogeologist Garry Hunter, he has assessed, on behalf of CRC, the James Dick Construction Ltd. (JDCL) application to mine aggregate 23 metres below the water table in the Paris Galt Moraine at Hwy. 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just a kilometre east of Rockwood.

Dr. Frind pioneered the field of quantitative groundwater science and over his career he has been a leader in the development of modelling methodologies for groundwater processes. He has been recognized as a Thomson-Reuters Highly Cited Researcher and honoured with a Life
Member Award from the US National Ground Water Association.

His recent work has focused on source water protection and water sustainability, both vital issues as water resources become stressed due to growth, pollution, and climate change. His work with Waterloo Region to develop a strategy for the sustainable use of local groundwater as a drinking water source is saving taxpayers billions in infrastructure costs.

The proposed Hidden Quarry is surrounded by dozens of private wells and is just 1000 metres from a newly drilled Rockwood municipal well. As GET Council considers the JDCL request to re-zone this agricultural and Greenland property, the protection of both water quality and
quantity are key considerations.

The OMB Hearing on the Hidden Quarry proposal (#PL170688) begins on May 21, 2018 and will be adjudicated over 6 to 8 weeks. CRC, Halton Hills and Halton Region are opposed to the quarry application, and will be parties at the Hearing. Both GET Council and Wellington County will be taking positions on the application, taking into account expert scientific analysis.

The application appeal by James Dick Construction Limited to the Ontario Municipal Board will be adjudicated over 8 weeks starting on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Event Details:
Monday, August 13, 2018
7 pm
Guelph Eramosa Township Offices
8348 Wellington Road 124 (west of Brucedale)
Rockwood, ON N0B 2K0

Media contact:

Linda Sword 519-853-1896 until Friday, Aug. 10
Doug Tripp (226) 820-5085 after Friday, Aug. 10
Concerned Residents Coalition website:

Posted in Food Protection, Latest News, Water | Comments (0)

How to Reduce Poverty and Re-connect People to Nature

August 6th, 2018

“Access to food and water — once considered common goods and a basic human right — are increasingly treated as commodities, like precious metals or lumber. Instead of being necessities for life that are available to all, they are being kept from people who cannot afford them.

The perils of this commodification are rife — and sometimes tragically untold — yet several stories have survived.”

Read the entire article here.

Farmer in São Paulo, Brazil grows vegetables on a small farm.

Posted in Food Protection, GMO, General, Rights of Nature, Water | Comments (0)

Follow Us on Twitter

July 17th, 2018

You will find us at here: @GuelphCoc

Posted in General, Home, Latest News | Comments (0)

Good News: Proposed Xinyi Glass Plant Stopped

July 17th, 2018

Guelph Eramosa Township blocked the proposed Xinyi glass plant from development.

protesting the thirsty xinyi glass plant

Read more here.

Posted in FIPAs, Food Protection, Latest News, Water | Comments (0)

National Day of Action to Defend Water

March 19th, 2018

Gathering at MP Lloyd Longfield’s office, 40 Cork St East, Guelph

On March 23rd, people across the country will take to the streets for a National Day of Action to Defend the Water. We’ll gather outside our MP’s offices, and then go inside to deliver samples of water collected from the coastline in BC threatened by Kinder Morgan oil spills. With the power of water from the frontlines of resistance, we’ll demand that our MPs put pressure on Trudeau to stop pushing for the pipeline. Guelph needs to support First Nations people, and coastal ecosystem on the coast, lets fight this pipeline together!

Posted in Actions, CETA, Energy, Events, Rights of Nature, Water | Comments (0)

World Water Day Movie Night – March 22

March 19th, 2018

Come for the free popcorn, stay for the riveting short films and engaging discussion.

This movie night event is free. We are screening two fantastic films on the current water crisis: “Water Warriors” and “A Tale of Two Cities”.

Free refreshments of lemonade, ice tea, water, and delicious popcorn! Please bring your water bottles.

There will be a post movies input session of your ideas on how we can support water as a public commons at the provincial, federal, and international level, so be ready to share your ideas, Folks, if you so please.

When: March 22nd, 7 – 9 pm

Where: 42 Carden Street, Guelph — this facility  is fully accessible.

World Water Day Free Movie Night

Posted in CETA, Campaigns, Democracy, Events, FIPAs, Food Protection, Rights of Nature, Water | Comments (0)

Guelph Hydro Merger

December 6th, 2017

Guelph Hydro Proposed Merger

With Alectra Utilities Inc.

December 4, 2017

Background Observations (updated):

This backgrounder contains summary information from the City of Guelph released report on December lst, 2017.   The report is 231 pages long and can be found here:

report starts at page 13 of the council agenda

Corporate Analysis

Guelph Hydro is an independent Electrical Utility with 55,000 customers, serving Guelph and Rockwood. It is growing quickly, and will have an estimated additional 10,000 to 15,000 customers in the next ten to fifteen years. There are presently three major commercial users – Linamar, The Guelph Hospital, and the University. It has an asset value of $228,000,000.00 and a market value estimated at $250,000,000.00. Guelph Hydro is a solely owned subsidiary of GMHI, as is Envida Community Energy Inc., responsible for green energy innovation. They both report directly to the City and are administered by a board of directors, appointed by the City. Last year Guelph Hydro Systems Inc. reported a $3,000,000.00 surplus paid to the city, representing a return of 10.57% on investment. It provided $65,200,000.00 in direct economic benefits to the City and Province last year. It is ranked as a well-run utility in the Province. It has an overall customer satisfaction rating of 89%. According to their annual report:

“Guelph Hydro continues to facilitate the adoption of alternative energy sources in the community. In 2016, the company connected five Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) and 45 microFIT solar installations to the grid bringing the total of such connections in the City of Guelph and Village of Rockwood to 38 FIT and 365 microFIT installations with a nameplate capacity of more than 8 megawatts and 3 megawatts respectively. Solar installations on the rooftops of Guelph Hydro’s head office and service centre, and the Arlen transformer station generated 139 megawatt-hours of electricity for the Ontario grid. With an eye on the future, Guelph Hydro has established new partnerships and will be conducting research and development work associated with smart grids, microgrids, energy storage, and electric vehicle charging stations and networks.”

This means that Guelph Hydro already has the expertise and experience necessary to implement alternative energy sources and smart grids.

“Guelph Hydro’s operation, maintenance and administration costs per customer in 2015 were

about average when compared against the 69 other utilities in the province.” (Annual report)

79% of the billing cost comes from generation controlled directly by the Province, and 21% comes from distribution (Guelph Hydro). Guelph Hydro provides over 120 local jobs.

Alectra Utilities Inc. is a private corporation formed jointly by Horizon Utilities Corp., Collus Powerstream Holdings Inc., Enersource Corp., and Hydro One Brampton Networks Inc. It is the second largest publicly owned electric utility in North America. It has over 1 million customers, and 1,600 employees.

According to the President and CEO Brian Bentz (formerly CEO of PowerStream) the company wants to grow bigger through additional mergers and acquisitions. Every time they acquire more assets the shares held by Guelph will be diluted. Alectra can also debt finance, in other words acquire more private investors who can supply additional capital.

The Deal:

Cash and Shares There is a cash settlement paid to the City of $18.5 million involved, and shares in Alectra Utilities – 4.63%. It has cost the City approx. $2,500,000.00 to arrange the deal. Alectra will acquire all of the assets and the workforce.

Jobs:   While Alectra has promised to safeguard jobs, they estimate a loss of around 40 – 49%.  There will be two call centres for help located in Vaughan and St. Catharines, for the 1 million customers of Alectra.  Staff will be able to apply for jobs in these locations; there are no guarantees. In addition, the senior management of Guelph Hydro will get a golden handshake estimated at around $500,000.00 each.

Guelph will become a minority shareholder in Alectra, effectively locked in to this deal, as we cannot sell our shares without incurring a 22% tax, and the majority shareholders (Horizon, PowerStream, Enersource, and Brampton) hold most of the shares and therefore will dictate policy. Obviously, the company is run entirely by the management team, headed up by Brian Bentz, the CEO and President.

The Green  Energy & Technology Centre

Currently located in Vaughan – who seem to be quite willing to give it up.  It MAY bring 8-10 new jobs to Guelph – see page 3 for the catch to this.

Supposedly Council and city staff considered other offers, but we have no information about this. It is apparently confidential, so there is no way of assessing the quality or quantity of other options.   Kitchener/Wilmot Hydro, run by the City of Kitchener, has 90,000 customers and is considered the best municipal utility in the Province. They already have a co-operative arrangement with Cambridge, Waterloo North, and with Guelph Hydro, and are considered by the Ontario Energy Board as one region. This would have been a logical alternative, in which these utilities could have pooled resources and maintained corporate integrity. This would not have been a sell-off and Guelph could have achieved economies of scale, and maintained its independence. Instead we face the prospect of being at the mercy of a large private utility. This is not what we signed up for.

The Future:  The 3 biggest changes that are coming are electric cars, local alternative energy generation (most likely solar and batteries for storage), and smart control technology. They will be phased in over the next ten to fifteen years. Electric cars will need to be charged – usually overnight. The additional cost in electricity will spur people to start to generate their own electricity through solar generation and battery storage, so they will be tied together. Guelph Hydro already has the ability and experience to accomplish this change at the local level. Installing charging outlets and solar systems in private homes will be largely sustained by the homeowner. Here is a part of the business case taken from European electrification researchers:

“This business case aims at deferral of grid reinforcements and enhancement of network utilization. The need clearly arises in areas with a large amount of DG [distributed generation – e.g. cities] near one location. Non-coordinated control of (new) electric devices (e.g., heat pumps and electric cars) may lead to a sharp rise in needed capacity on lines and transformers. By coordination of these devices, there can be allocated timeslots for operation that are spread out over time. Furthermore, coordination can increase the simultaneousness of local supply and demand in case local generation is integrated. Congestion management as a service can be used to better match own generation and consumption for prosumers [pro-active consumers]; also, distribution system operators (DSOs – local utilities) may be interested in improving the quality of supply in areas with restricted capacity in lines and transformers.” (Smart Houses in the Smart Grid: Developing an Interactive Network, IEEE Electrification Magazine, Volume: 2, Issue: 1, March 2014)

The Green Energy & Technology Centre promised by Alectra is not a research facility, since the research is already being done elsewhere. The implementation process is already established, so what will they do exactly? It seems as if they will act like a ‘big box store’ (think Walmart) which will absorb all of our smaller local initiatives, and will focus on its major customers. It will create a few jobs (8 – 10) and Guelph will lose all of the independent development and research already going on.

Alectra has the capacity and framework to channel much of this green energy business growth into subsidiaries of Alectra Utilities, which are unregulated, and the relationship to the parent company stays at arm’s length. Much of the increased revenue generated by these subsidiary companies will most likely go towards their own business development, at the expense of shareholders in Alectra Inc.

A recent study in the US has concluded that, in the last ten years, all public utilities that have been privatized have resulted in a 43% average increase in rates. A similar scenario has happened in Europe, and many utilities have been ‘de-privatized’ (taken back by municipalities) as a result.

PLEASE NOTE: Canada has just signed a trade agreement with Europe:  Canada European Trade Agreement.  This is the first such international trade agreement in which what are called sub-national levels of government must adhere to the terms of the agreement.

What that means for Guelph, is that once we have ‘merged’ with Alectra we can leave the agreement (with a 22% penalty), BUT we cannot put our hydro services back into public hands we MUST sell to another private company.

Here is what City Council agreed in February of  2017

Council Meeting held on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 Resolutions:

Clause 1 (b)


That the Strategies and Options Committee (the “SOC”) of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. (“GMHI”) further examine a merger of Guelph Hydro with one or more publicly-owned

local electricity distribution companies (“LDCs”) as an option for Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. (“Guelph Hydro”).

Voting in Favour: Mayor Guthrie, Councillors Allt, Downer, Gibson, Gordon, Hofland,

MacKinnon, Piper, Salisbury, Van Hellemond and Wettstein (10)

Voting Against: Councillors Bell, Billings, and Salisbury (3)  Carried

Clause 2

Third Amendment

7. Moved by Councillor Downer

Moved by Councillor Billings That reference to “sale” be removed from clause 2.

Voting in Favour: Mayor Guthrie, Councillors Allt, Bell, Billings, Downer, Gibson,

Gordon, Hofland, MacKinnon, Piper, Salisbury, Van Hellemond and Wettstein (13)

Voting Against: (0)



That in carrying out Recommendation 1, the SOC: (a) conduct an environmental scan of potential transaction partners and potential transactions, with the assistance of an independent advisor, in order to compare merger options against maintaining full ownership; (b) enter into preliminary discussions with potential transaction partners to discover whether a merger could satisfy the decision-making criteria adopted by the SOC; and Wednesday, February 15, 2017 Guelph City Council Meeting as Shareholder of GMHI

(c) continue its public and stakeholder engagement to inform its work, but, without receiving further Council direction, SOC shall not make commitments to any potential transaction partner, whether binding or not, apart from entering into confidentiality agreements and other ancillary agreements to complete its preliminary assessment of a potential transaction.

Voting in Favour: Mayor Guthrie, Councillors Allt, Bell, Billings, Downer, Gibson,

Gordon, Hofland, MacKinnon, Piper, Van Hellemond and Wettstein (12)

Voting Against: Councillor Salisbury (1)      Carried

Who is Alectra?

Alectra is a private company which is governed by the business corporations act of Ontario.

It is not listed on the TSX or with the Ontario Securities Commision.

It’s energy business is governed by the Ontario Energy Board

As a private company it will have shares and it may distribute them as it pleases, with a majority of the board of directors (shareholders) voting in favour.

Basically, as a private company they can do whatever they wish within the boundaries of  the Business Corporations Act:  the act is not designed to ensure that private businesses act with in the law.  However, selling off shares in whole or in part is an option.   Vaughan and Mississauga between them own in excess of 50% of the share in Alectra Utilities and there is no mention of minority share holder protection in the report provided by the company that the city hired to do the due diligence on their behalf (Aird Berlis).  Essentially Guelph will have no power in the decision making process.

The sweetener for Guelph is the $18.5 million cash settlement up front, plus  4.63% of the shares.  There are 2 sets of value for Guelph Hydro

  1. the book value – this is what Guelph citizenry would get if they sold off the    infrastructure if Guelph Hydro – the lines, Eastview and Southgate nodes  and related business – Envida

Estimated book value between $150 million and $200 million

  1. Market value  – this is what Guelph citizenry would get if they sold the asset

and includes all of the infrastructure above PLUS – that it has 55,000 customers

which will grow over time and has a track record of providing a good return for

its shareholders (the citizenry of Guelph – stewarded for them by the GH board)

Estimated market value:  between $200 and $250 million


The proposed merger agreement document compares a possible merger with Alectra, as opposed to standing alone as Guelph Hydro. However the comparison figures presented  are not for the same thing.

For Alectra they are averaged over a 24 year period

For Guelph Hydro it is only ‘as is’ and does not take into account its growth potential over a similar period. There are so many variables to be accounted for with changing technology that it is a very optimistic review for Alectra and does not provide an equally strong case for Guelph Hydro.

Most likely, once the technological and green energy transformation kicks in (the so-called death spiral for existing utilities) the conditions outlined in the current agreement concerning return on shares will alter so radically that the agreement can no longer stay in force. Technological change will quickly overtake this agreement and make it redundant, and Guelph as a minority shareholder with no control over the outcome will quite likely lose its investment.

In Summary

  1. The public who are owners of Guelph Hydro have been provided with ONE option.  Since council made its decision in February 2017, the public have not been provided with substantive information to allow them to make a considered and educated decision on this “merger”

There is no information on the quality of alternatives – the experts Aird Berlis were only brought in to consider the offer from Alectra not any other options.  The report does not do an analysis of the potential of Guelph Hydro as a stand alone or in collaboration or partnership with other providers.

  1. Factual Information – there is a dearth of factual information on what Alectra will provide, the information provided indicates that there is no real alternative – ‘this is the best deal and the only deal’.
  1. The political climate:  the province is committed to merging utilities in Ontario with the assumption that bigger is better and that economies of scale will keep hydro rates low. Unfortunately, the energy sector experts are telling anyone who will listen that the old system is in a death spiral and that the future will be small and nimble and local – many of the current energy customers will be generating their own power – this includes both industrial, commercial and residential customers.

Ron East

Chair, Council of Canadians

Guelph Chapter

Posted in Energy, General, Latest News, P3s | Comments (0)