Note: During Tabun’s speech, several members of the gallery left in tears as they could not bear the revictimization from yet another mindless politician.
TORONTO — Tory MPP Bill Murdoch’s resolution calling for a moratorium on new wind turbines in Ontario pending confirmation that there are no adverse health effects on humans stalled in the legislature.
Murdoch said his resolution was drafted in response to concerns about wind power raised by hundreds of people in his riding and across the province.
“I’m disappointed and where the people go from here I don’t know,” Murdoch said yesterday. “The government of the day has decided that they don’t count by turning down my resolution.”
The Ontario government shouldn’t proceed with its ambitious wind energy plan until it gets the official green light from the chief medical officer of health, Murdoch said, adding people have a right to know if the wind turbines near their homes will make them sick.
Energy Minister George Smitherman said his government is paying close attention to the concerns that people are expressing regarding renewable energy and especially wind power.
The Ministry of Environment established a provincial minimum setback of 550 metres from the nearest homes, which is greater than the distances established so far by most municipalities.
“But we do think it’s important to remain very, very aware of the notion of health concerns,” Smitherman said. “And that’s why right now the ministry of the environment is working with the Council of the Universities to establish a research chair in the issue of safety of renewable energy technologies so that we can continue to add to the body of knowledge that we have about reputed health effects.”
Protesting outside Queen’s Park yesterday was one group of citizens worried that setbacks for wind turbines established by the province aren’t large enough to protect nearby residents from negative health impacts such as sleep deprivation and inner ear problems.
Lorrie Gillis, a resident of Grey Highlands near Collingwood, said at least 100 people in Ontario have filled out a survey indicating adverse reactions to existing wind turbines.
“There’s an awful lot of people who are experiencing a great deal of difficulty and that’s happening well beyond a kilometre setback,” Gillis said. “What we need to do is an independent third party study to understand the effects that these turbines are having on people.”
Smitherman said no wind project can move forward unless local landowners are prepared to make their property available.
“This is not the voice of the whole community; 50 or 60 people came here today,” Smitherman said of the protesters.
Murdoch said the group may not have been large, but they are not alone in their views.
“It’s not just a few, it seems to be a whole coalition across Ontario now,” the Tory MPP said. “They can’t all come to Toronto on a Thursday.”