Voters Rebel, professional NGOs turn against political recycling

Rick Smith to attack "anti-wind" movement

Also Read more about Rick Smith and his questionable abuse of Ontario public funds

By Martin Regg Cohn, Toronto Star

There’s nothing wrong with having second thoughts on wind power. But third thoughts?

Queen’s Park has rightly been put through the wringer for announcing so sneakily on a Friday afternoon that offshore wind turbines are dead in the water — hoping to submerge the issue in a busy news cycle.

Almost ignored, though, is how the Liberal government dipped into its old playbook to reprise a five-year-old stunt that it pulled off, with similar expediency, on the eve of the last election. Yes, we’ve seen this movie before. It turns out that Ontario’s latest twists and turns on offshore turbines are recycled spin from 2006-08.

Back then, the Liberals did a 360 on offshore wind, first imposing a moratorium (ostensibly awaiting more research), then conveniently giving the all-clear signal after winning re-election. Having come full circle, they’ve now done a 180 again — with a rerun of that same science fiction theme.

The Liberals are not alone in their environmental expediency. The opposition parties are no less shameless in bending with the political winds, but more on that later.

Confused? Here’s a second look at the zigzagging turbines timeline:

In 2006, ahead of a tough election, the Liberals quietly announced a moratorium on offshore projects because of “concerns raised” about the impact on birds and other environmental risks — pending further scientific study.

Fast forward to January 2008, just after the Liberals won re-election. Boasting that the province had done its science homework, then minister of natural resources Donna Cansfield proclaimed: “The information we have acquired will help us and wind developers make better-informed decisions on offshore wind power projects.”

Until the next election, that is. Now the Liberals have rediscovered (political) science. Announcing the latest moratorium, Environment Minister John Wilkinson claimed that offshore wind requires “a cautious approach until the science of environmental impact is clear.”

Most people have forgotten the ever-changing wind patterns at Queen’s Park, but John Kourtoff has a long memory. As head of Trillium Power Wind Corp., which planned a $15 billion bet on offshore wind farms, he is the forgotten victim in a political squeeze play.

Kourtoff was signing a deal with a major investor late on that fateful Friday, Feb. 11, when Blackberrys and iPhones started buzzing at the table: “We all looked, and it was a bombshell.”

Kourtoff believes his company was worth $100 million until that moment. Now it is “worth 100 cents.” And he is threatening legal action to recover the cost of being electoral road kill.

But it is the price paid by all Ontarians that remains to be calculated. And as MPPs return to the Legislature this Tuesday, environmental groups want to head off future tactical retreats by the Liberals — and any further ambushes by the opposition. With Ontario becoming ground zero for the anti-wind movement, it’s time for a counterattack, says Rick Smith of Environmental Defence.

A coalition of like-minded lobby groups will launch a campaign this week to stiffen the spines of politicians who have been supine for too long.

“Each party in its own way is fumbling the ball and the environmental movement is not going to take this lying down,” Smith said.

A sensible strategy. Unless, of course, voters are having second thoughts about whether they’re really willing to make sacrifices for the environment — and still pay the price for it.

Are voters, like the Liberal government, having a few third thoughts on the environment?

21 thoughts on “Voters Rebel, professional NGOs turn against political recycling

  1. Rick Smith:

    The voters do want to make sacrifices for the environment. That is WHY they have taken a second look at wind turbines and got the facts I suggest YOU DO TOO!

    Bring it on Rick, we can’t wait to respond! Get your facts straight though because you will be crucified by the educated thousands if you blather on all the misleading info from the Ministry and the wind industry.


  2. Here’s a money saving idea and a real issue that Hudak can deal with when he becomes our New Premier. END THE NGO’S NOW!

    People like Rick Smith are making their living off destroying Ontario’s Rural Lands in the name of the Green Scam!……these “pariah’s of society” are a huge part of the problem, not the solution!

    They are the “foot guard of the ‘eco-whacko politicians’ and Wind Companies”!

    If all funding for any NGO involved in the Green Movement was stopped now, we would see our debt reduced faster than our heads could spin. While we are at it, cancel all lobby groups registrations until they can re-apply showing the public that their efforts are having a “positive” result in Ontario Citizens Quality of Life and not being “bag men” for their Politico partners!!!!

    When it was quoted there is “something rotten in Denmark”…….now that should be changed to ONTARIO!

    Bring it on Rick!………informed citizens will eat you alive!

  3. Mr. Kourtoff made a “deal” with the present govenment’s backing and NOT with the people of Ontario. Seems Mr.Kourtoff forgot who really runs Ontario.

    Mr.Smith will be astonished at the information on IWTs that honest Ontarians have gathered.

    Mr. Smith take your propaganda elsewhere!!!

  4. IWTs destroy the environment as they are not designed to save it. Rick Smith: Do your homework on IWTs. Supporting the IWT movement means you are supporting the industrialization of what is left of the world’s natural environment which is needed to support biodiversity. Trying to sell IWTs as good for the environment makes your group anti-environmental. True environmental groups promote to reduce foot prints and do not make indefensible excuses to increase shoe sizes. Your ignorance is disgusting as you have no excuse.

  5. “he is the forgotten victim ….”
    “willing to make sacrifices”

    oh puleeeze. I’d say anyones health and home being “sacrificed” is 100 x’s more important than your phony green concerns.
    It is chilling to read this crap! Where o’ where did his sanity go? Into the $dough$ pile, no doubt.

  6. Maybe “Dr” Rick Smith should go to China and tell THEM they shouldn’t be building a coal fired generator a week!..he wouldn’t last one day there!

  7. THE WASHINGTON POST ,”U.S.urged to sageguard supply of ‘energy-critical elements” , Feb.19,2011, by Brian Vastag.

    Energy-critical elements are rarer than gold and essential for a broad range of new technologies such as electric cars,wind turbines and solar cells.

    These elements which include lanthanum,cerium and neodynium are important for national defence and the clean energy sector. China produces about 95% of them.

    Should these crucial elements be wasted on useless wind turbines when they are vital to national defence? Perhaps the likes of Rick Smith would like to answer this question?

  8. So can we assume that Rick Smith gets “paid by the word” by our Government to “rail on” against honest hard working citizens who are being forced from their homes by the Industry he represents?

    Can we assume he belongs to the same “club” as Tyler Hamilton and Kris Stevens where they get PAID to “peddle this tripe” on behalf of a “failed Provincial Cabal of Greed (Green)?

    The closer we get to the truth behind this Scam expect the “crazy rhetoric” to get even more absurd!……….word out to Smith and boys………keep it up lads…………..every time you open your mouth the more we find out that your “in pretty deep” eh?

  9. Environmentalists have made themselves rich by attacking corporations and they expect to get even richer promoting wind turbines all over North America.

    The Tides outfit collects money from un-named sources and distributes it to causes they believe in. Keeps the source of the money hidden.

  10. Odd isn’t it that light bulbs attacked by environmentalists & auto manufacturing also attacked? Business lost to overseas.

    Wind and solar promoted by environmentals when 75%- 95% necessary materials come from overseas so essential parts need to made overseas?

    Is a pattern emerging here?

  11. Barbara, it is call wealth redistribution.

    With the fall of the Soviet Union, there were a lot of communists, academia, and left wing communist sympathizers who lost their cause celebre. A lot of them jumped on the environmental bandwagon, not to save the planet so much as to take from the rich and give to the poor. People like Van Jones, an avowed communist who became Obama’s ‘Green Jobs Czar’ before he was dumped for joining a ‘911-truther’ group. Along the way, they purport to be the new intelligentsia and it does not hurt when governments and industry throw lots of our money at them to curry favour and avoid being targeted. They have the ear of the media, and woe any politician who challenges the mantra. How many quotes have you seen from Mr. Smith in the last week? Before that you probably did not know who he was. They are not quotes per se, but veiled threats.

    There is quite a division between the traditional environmentalists that worried about the Amazon jungle and ecosystems and the new green climate movement. You can see this split in some of the groups such as Greenpeace where original founders are starting to renounce what the organization has become.

    When you hear phrases like “environmental justice”, “social justice”, “climate justice”, and now, not unsurprisingly, “islamic justice”, pay attention; these are the code words for the new communism.

    And yes, I probably watch too much Glen Beck.

  12. It seems to me that many of the actions taken by environmental groups against something or someone they don’t agree with border on extortion. Yet, nothing is done about this situation. Many of these groups are so well financed that it makes it difficult to fight them.

  13. There is a new “awakening” around the World and these NGO’s ravings are just the “Death Throes” of a dying movement!………….if everyone just turned their back on these “pariahs of society” they would just slither away into the dust of history!

    Let’s hope they slither really fast!

  14. Our tax dollars need to go towards cleaning up the environment, keeping sewage out of our lakes, waste treatment, etc. These are initiatives with measurable outcomes. What we do not need is government funding disappearing down the wormhole of environmental lobby groups. Pass this on to your MP and MPP and let them know that these ENGOs do NOT speak for you.

  15. I have a humble suggestion for Mr. Smith.

    You a riding a green energy train that is quickly approaching a canyon. That canyon is crossed by a bridge. You need to decide how secure the bridge might be:

    1. A decision by the Divisional Court.
    2. A review by the Kent Breeze ERT.
    3. A provincial election in October where your Liberal buds will answer to the public for ever increasing Hydro bills.

    Non of these obstacles is a given. #1 and #2 may be low odds. #3 however grows more and more likely as time passes. But the wrong guess on any one of them will derail the entire train.

    Might I suggest you take a different track. Suggest to your Liberal friends that a moratorium on onshore wind for six month “to review the current science”might just bypass #1and #2 and avoid #3.

    Just saying. Might save your butt to fight another day.


  16. It is phony, self serving “green” types like Rick Smith who continue to peddle their BS and turn off many citizens who work hard at being true, enthusiastic environmentalists. As someone in the Toronto mayor’s office reportedly said: (Ricky) get a (real) job.

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