Rob Ferguson, Toronto Star
A coalition of environmental groups is launching a website Monday urging the Ontario government and opposition parties to “come clean” on their environmental intentions.
The effort at www.comeclean.ca debuts as groups including Environmental Defence and the Sierra Club grow frustrated with mixed or conflicting messages, such as Premier Dalton McGuinty’s recent decision to flip-flop on a plan to create electricity from wind turbines in the Great Lakes.
“At one point they were gung-ho about offshore wind,” said campaign director Matt Price, quoting McGuinty from 2008 saying wind turbines can be installed “in a way that does not compromise ecosystems.”
When the projects were cancelled, the government said more scientific study is needed to be sure wind turbines are safe.
Critics said the offshore turbine plan was scrapped to protect Liberal-held ridings with the Oct. 6 election approaching and neighbourhood activists fighting the turbines.
“Our elected officials keep saying different things, creating confusion for citizens,” said Rick Smith of Environmental Defence.
It’s not just the Liberals in the crosshairs of the campaign, which includes radio ads in Hamilton and Kitchener.
Without naming names, one advertisement takes aim at the Progressive Conservatives over their opposition to the McGuinty government’s “Greenbelt” initiative that protected agricultural land from development around Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe.
“Would it be scrapped?” Price asked. “You can find a bunch of quotes (in old news stories) that they don’t like the Greenbelt, but what would they do?”
New Democrats also come under fire for different positions taken by MPPs on wind turbines, raising questions about whether they and other parties are trying to be “deliberately vague,” Price said.
“We want to be fair and point out inconsistencies for all the parties. We’re spreading the love.”
Election platforms from the parties are expected to start coming out this spring.