Gallery simply couldn’t sit there and listen to the Lies

Phil McNeely must have picked the short straw

Owen Sound Times

It is with some misgiving that I relate to you how I came to be part of a crowd of “unruly rabble-rousers” that got itself ejected from the visitors gallery of Parliament at Queen’s Park in Toronto.

It wasn’t our fault, honest! We had gone to demonstrate in front of the Parliament Building against the wind-turbine aspects of the government’s Green Energy Act. A good-natured crowd had listened to lots of speeches and songs, marched down University Ave. and filled the visitors’ gallery of Parliament to hear a Conservative motion requesting a moratorium on future wind-farm developments.

Our crowd looked quite unlike the normal visitors’ gallery full of students learning about democracy. The average age was surely several times that of a typical student crowd.

For a while everything went according to script. An all-party process unfolded, demonstrating — if nothing else — the scripted boredom of a puppet show run by a computer designed by a robot. Like a hockey game whose every move and final score are known beforehand. All was sweetness and light between the few politicians present (no more than 10 ever on either side of the aisle). They harmoniously sang the praises of a long-serving MPP and cabinet member who died some time ago. Petitions were read, and then came the motion that had brought us there: a moratorium on wind-farms and restoration of municipal planning authority over their deployment.

That’s when things got interesting as, slowly, the wheels began to come off this charade. The first Liberal to speak in defence of the Green Energy Act (someone said he looked and sounded like he had drawn the short straw) said some things that provoked a sudden coughing spell among the spectators. Until then we had all sat quietly, as instructed by the Speaker. The latter now warned us to behave-or else. That worked well enough right through the next Liberal MPP’s contribution, though the few Conservative MPP’s present became quite unruly. But when the third Liberal said something that our crowd found unpalatable, all h—broke loose. One lady, who lives very close to several wind mills and knows more about their effects than the party-line-spouting MPP, well . . . she could no longer keep silent. It was all very emotional but the message was unmistakable and clear: “don’t talk about what it’s like to live under one of these monsters unless you have been there”.

That was all the gallery needed to stand up, applaud and shout support. The whole show went off-script and we were all escorted out. Everything was polite and civilized after that, as we waited patiently outside to be allowed in to get our checked coats.

The upshot of it all: a firm conviction that the Liberals are in trouble over this in every rural riding in Ontario. They look well on their way to fossilization, if yesterday’s show is any indication. The Conservatives don’t look much better. There were very few of them present, given that this was one of these rare occasions when the opposition can introduce a motion. And where was Bill Murdoch? Perhaps he didn’t want to get thrown out again, along with us.

Today it’s back to splitting wood, with the odd look over to Coffin Hill and Griffith Island before these blasted machines occupy the horizon from one end to the other.

Andre Den Tandt,  Owen Sound