By Peter Jackson, www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca
The Progressive Conservatives in the Legislature continue to turn up the heat on the governing Liberals — this time on the issue of municipal decision-making powers. Sarnia-Lambton Tory MPP Bob Bailey attended the recent conference of the Ontario Rural Municipalities and Ontario Good Roads Associations at which PC Leader Tim Hudak received an encouraging reception from delegates.
Among the issues discussed was how decisions on alternative energy developments have been taken out of municipal hands.
Bailey says the McGuinty government is practicing a double-standard on what should be a municipal planning matter.
He recounts that municipal councils’ hands are tied when dealing with proposals for industrial wind farms.
Bailey believes local government should have the same say in approving wind turbine developments as they have in giving the go-ahead to proposals like variety stores and fast-food restaurants.
If the Tories win the provincial election Bailey says many changes would be on the drawing board.
Returning decision-making powers to municipalities on commercial green energy proposals is one of the changes a Hudak government would propose.
Bailey predicts another change would be to dismantle the Local Health Integration Networks and return the money to front-line locally-based health care.
He says rural landowners have been shut out of any opportunity to benefit from wind turbine development.
Bailey repeats the Tory opinion that the Liberal government would rather deal with large offshore energy companies than Ontario farmers in the development and promotion of green energy.