Here is a time line to help readers understand the background behind some of the Toronto Star’s reporting of Ontario electricity news.
November 23, 2010: In an email exchange Ben Chin, Ontario Power Authority VP, former Ontario Liberal candidate, and also former senior media advisor to then Premier Dalton McGuinty discusses with senior communications staffer, Alicia Johnston, employed in the Ontario Minister of Energy’s office. Johnston complains about negative reporting by Tom Adams and proposes that “We’ve got to get him (Tyler Hamilton) out as an ‘expert’ commentator.” Chin replies, “We need to throw him (Tyler Hamilton) some work.”
Ben Chin has presented himself as an authority on politics and journalistic ethics, including this interview soon after he left his then prominent career in broadcast journalism.
May 3, 2011: The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), closely supervised by the Ontario government, released a report on “Smart Grid” development in the province. The Corporate Partners Committee participating in the report included a Who’s Who of international energy technology firms selling Smart Grid concepts around the world. The Ontario government’s electricity policies heavily emphasize promoting Smart Grid. In a footnote, the report thanks Tyler Hamilton for his assistance in preparing this report.
Here are two examples of Toronto Star Business Section articles that subsequently appeared on the subject of Smart Grid authored by Tyler Hamilton. Both news reports omit mention of Hamilton’s IESO funding:
May 11, 2012: The smarter the grid, the less you notice it
June 29, 2012: Smart Grid, Delayed Delivery
Here is the complete response of the IESO, issued earlier today, when I sought details on how much Tyler Hamilton got paid for his work on the Smart Grid report:
Tyler Hamilton was the successful respondent to a competitive procurement process for the delivery of this report.
The IESO uses competitive procurement processes, such as RFQs or RFPs, to evaluate proposals according to a pre-determined set of criteria – including costs and experience. As with standard procurement practice, all bids submitted through this process are subject to non-disclosure agreements.
On Twitter, I have been asking Tyler Hamilton to disclose how much the Ontario government and agents have paid him and his associates like Corporate Knights. As of this posting, no response from Hamilton has been forthcoming.
The evidence presented here indicates that Tyler Hamilton’s electricity reporting in the Toronto Star has been corrupted by a conflict of interest. I have previously reported on evidence of similar politicization developing within the Ontario public service. The Ontario public service has contributed to a cover-up of the gas scandal that includes responding to inquiries from the Information and Privacy Commissioner with information she has identified as “inaccurate and incomplete”.
Given the importance of an independent press and a professional public service in protecting the public interest, the corrupting effects of Ontario’s ongoing electricity policy challenges appears to represent a substantial threat to the province’s future.
Post Script (August 29, 8:21) Please help research this issue. After the OPA’s Ben Chin recommended grea$ing Tyler Hamilton in November 2010, was it only the IESO that started funnelling cash to Hamilton?