Michael Bryant speaks at the Green Energy Act Finance Forum at the MaRS Centre. Photo by Alixandra Gould/Torontoist.
For the first time in months since the altercation that led to the death of bike courier Darcy Allan Sheppard on August 31 last year, and since he was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle for it, former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant spoke semi-publicly today—but not about that.
Bryant was supposed to moderate a discussion scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Green Energy Act Finance Forum at MaRS. (Other notable speakers at the one-day summit included Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty; head of the Alliance for Renewable Energy Paul Gipe; and Saad Rafi, Ontario deputy minister of energy and infrastructure.) The discussion’s topic was the Ontario Green Energy Act—which was passed in September 2009 to foster renewable energy projects in the province—and how it can benefit investors, market players, and workers.
When his name was called by Tom Rand of MaRS at the beginning of the talk, though, there was no answer; Bryant was nowhere in sight, and the audience scanning the room could find no trace of him. Ten minutes in, after Uwe Rorper of Ortech Power was finishing speaking, Bryant came in through the room’s main doors, and quietly walked up to the stage, before introducing the next panellist, James Padwick of Ogilvy Renault, a Canadian law firm specializing in business law. No word on the reason for the delay, though Bryant half-joked that “the fact that I was late for this shows how tough the moderator job is.”
It was all business from then on. The panellists paid special attention to the Feed-In Tariff Program, which guarantees stable pricing for long-term contracts with renewable energy sources including water power, solar power, biomass, and wind power, all of which means big investors from around the world will be more inclined to invest in Ontario’s renewable energy projects. In December, the Ontario Power Authority announced they had received 2,200 FIT applications since the initiative was launched in September 2009.
Bryant, meanwhile, stayed mostly quiet, barely speaking over the course of the hour-long session except to introduce the other panellists. “A successful Ontario will lead to success elsewhere,” he noted at one point; it was the panel’s shared hope that these investments will extend to the rest of Canada with time. Bryant’s ambitiousness didn’t extend to himself: his first steps back into the public eye were quiet ones.
Saad Rafi is Ontario’s deputy minister of energy and infrastructure—not, as this article originally said, its minister.