Murdoch does understand rural concerns like the wind at his back

Posted By MICHAEL DEN TANDT Owen Sound Sun Times

The provincial Green Energy Act assumes that wind power is good; that its rise in modern energy production is inevitable; that anyone concerned about health or other effects is a quack; and that the province, driven by green politics in Toronto, is therefore right to ram it through despite local objections.

That is a mistake.

What they have missed, and what Murdoch clearly understands, is that this debate over wind turbines taps something very deep in the character of rural Ontario. Many Ontarians are deeply, viscerally attached to the land and to the landscape. We want to preserve it.

Some day in the far-distant future, when Bill Murdoch passes on to the great legislature in the sky (we stress, the far distant future) they’ll prop him up and put sunglasses on him. And he’ll get reelected.

This week Murdoch showed yet again why every politician who tests him at the ballot box becomes cannon fodder. Simply put, he listens to people. He’s very good at it, in fact.

It’s hard to imagine sometimes how this is possible, given how much Murdoch seems to enjoy the timbre of his own voice. But somehow he pulls it off.

How else to explain the veteran MPP’s extraordinary rant this week, in which he urged that Toronto be hived off from the rest of the province?

Crazy, some will say. Sure. Crazy like a fox.

Is he serious? Will Toronto ever be a province? Is there anything in this but provocation from a man who loves to provoke? No, no and no again. But that doesn’t make him wrong. Far from it.

Toronto does have an outsized influence in the administration of government in Ontario. Toronto people, including MPPs, do not work hard enough to understand the concerns and needs of the country. Not even close.

The coyote bounty issue that Murdoch cites is one example. The Niagara Escarpment Commission, which he also cites, is another example. And wind power is yet another.

In each case, political imperatives are being set by urban leaders eager to satisfy a big, muscular urban constituency. But what about rural people and small landowners, scattered across north and central Ontario?

The provincial Green Energy Act assumes that wind power is good; that its rise in modern energy production is inevitable; that anyone concerned about health or other effects is a quack; and that the province, driven by green politics in Toronto, is therefore right to ram it through despite local objections.

That is a mistake.

It may be that the health concerns are overblown. he verdict is still out. But in some respects health issues have become a red herring.

Proponents say it’s really about NIMBY: Not in my backyard. The real issue, they say, is “just” esthetics. No landowner wants to stare at a giant turbine as it sits on another landowner’s property, smack in the middle of what used to be the view.

Fair enough. But isn’t the view a valid concern? When was it decided that rural esthetics don’t count? Who decided it?

We make decisions every day about real estate values, based on esthetics. Whether a property has a lake view or a valley view can dramatically affect its price. Why do Toronto politicians imagine these values can simply be set aside when it comes to wind power?

The province has not exerted a lot of effort to bring rural people aboard. It has not sold the virtues and benefits to landowners and to our communities. Nor does it seem to have tried particularly hard to develop alternatives that may be equally green, but less intrusive on the landscape.

Instead it rammed the Green Energy Act through, apparently figuring it has the votes in the big city to make it stick.

A bigger, better nuclear option would go over well in Grey-Bruce, eh? Solar power, farmers can clearly benefit from. Geothermal? Great idea. Micro-hydro generators, even better. Incineration of garbage, to run steam turbines? Bring it on. But none of those options, it seems, are satisfying to the government at Queen’s Park.

What they have missed, and what Murdoch clearly understands, is that this debate over wind turbines taps something very deep in the character of rural Ontario. Many Ontarians are deeply, viscerally attached to the land and to the landscape. We want to preserve it.

Wind turbines are supposed to represent a leap forward, a step into modernity. But for many rural people they have come to represent something else — the overweening and uncaring domination of country people by city people; the big over the small; the massive over the intimate; the industrial over the personal.

When was the last time Premier Dalton McGuinty came up this way to listen to people rather than flap his jaw? When was the last time he sat down with farmers and landowners, on their own turf, and opened his ears and mind to their concerns?

Murdoch, for all his foibles, knows how to listen. It is his greatest strength and his secret weapon.

4 thoughts on “Murdoch does understand rural concerns like the wind at his back

  1. Other aspiring politicians outside of Toronto could learn something from Murdoch…except for aspring Liberal MPP’s….They are done because of the Green Energy Act…

  2. Dear fellow Rural Ratepayers,

    I have written to Bill Murdoch MPP and asked him to notify the Legislation of Ontario at Queen’s Park of my intention to withhold my property taxes on three farms in Clearview Township.

    I explained that I could not in clear conscience support the ideology of wind power that has proven to cause serious health issues around the world and has had a negative impact on the economy throughout the world.

    I have expressed my lack of faith in the Government of Ontario.

    I have expressed my resolve to make a stand that will impact the Ontario government and in my belief in the unprecedented grass roots ground swell of the rural population of Ontario that is in opposition to the Green Energy Act as brought forth by the Liberal Majority Government and our Premier Mr. Dalton McGuinty, and to the encroachment on our rural lands of the insult to democracy that the Green energy Act has imposed and foisted on rural Ontario.

    Our forefathers fought and sacrificed so much to preserve democracy in our land only to have it challenged by our own Ontario government.

    We must stand up now and make an unprecedented stand for the values we believe in.

    We must protect our rural lands for our children and our children’s children. Their legacy for which we have sacrificed so much.

    I believe that we have no choice but to secede from Ontario. We have been pushed into a corner by the Ontario government, our democratic input removed from the prudent municipal government that we elected. This is an unprecedented violation of our trust and therefore we must react in an equally unprecedented fashion.

    I am asking you to join me in protecting our rural lands from this form of exploitation by the wind industry and the Ontario government that has embraced it, rewrote laws for it and cares not one whit about our health or our economy, as evidenced in their failure to grant an INDEPENDENT study of health issues. They have ignored the economic warnings coming out of Spain, Germany and Denmark.

    The Ontario government and Premier Dalton McGuinty have abused power and lost the trust of the Ontario people that voted for them.

    We must let them know of our intention to secede form this scandalous and obnoxious government.

    Will you make a stand Rural Ontario? Write to your MPP and MP today. Let them know you have done the research and have had enough of their blind leadership and dictatorship!

    I truly thank you.

    r

  3. Murdoch is calling for the City of Toronto to secede. What’s wrong with this picture?
    If he was truly fighting for “us” in Rural Ontario he would have called on the people OUTSIDE Toronto to secede from the Province.

    Ever heard of a “Native Reserve”?

    Could call it the Federation of Ontario Municipalities.

    A Federal Territory that has absolutely no links to our present Ontario Government. They would lose all control over us and our money and produce. Then we would only have to deal with one Government body …………the Federal Government!

    Federally run Hospitals, Federally run Roads, Federally run Schools. On tax bill to forward to one Government body.

    Then McGuinty could be King of Toronto where 4 million people would be hounding him every time he opened his mouth!

    If he wants Toronto to become the centre of the Universe then give it to him…bet you he couldn’t handle it!

  4. The 2010 municipal elections in Ontario, will be held on October 25, 2010

    If the people who want to save and re-new Rural Ont. do not step up and get control of power available at the municipal level, it’s over.

    Ask yourself some serious questions-

    Why did the councils not stand up and fight the GEA?

    Why were Murdoch and Hillier not in the house for the vote on the GEA, arguably the most devastating piece of legislation ever foisted on Rural Ont.

    Why have municipal govt. waited until after the passing of the GEA to say they want moratorium, when they know their voice has no weight and they have no power to do anything? Great way to pretend to offer their support. It’s not real.

    Every municipal govt. is on board with Agenda 21.

    So, if you want to try and save Rural Ont., everyone is going to have to get politically active.

    With majority municipal vote comes power.

    If this is not accomplished this fall, Rural Ont. is doomed.

    Without control of municipal govt., who wins the Provincial election in 2011 is irrelevant, as the train from hell will continue unabated down the track called Agenda 21.

    The future of Rural Ontario rest squarely upon our shoulders.

    Will we rise to the occasion?

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