PCs promise swift and immediate moratorium

by Chris Fell, Simcoe.com
If a Progressive Conservative government is elected provincially in October it will introduce a moratorium on further wind energy development and will restore local municipal decision-making power on such projects.  PC MPP and energy critic Toby Barrett was in Owen Sound last Tuesday afternoon (August 16) to discuss PC energy plans if they form a government. Barrett was at local candidate Bill Walker’s office to discuss wind energy, turbines and the Green Energy Act.

A number of local residents and municipal councillors attended the meeting to speak to Barrett and ask questions about PC policies on the matter.

Barrett said a Tory government would immediately scrap the Samsung deal that the current McGuinty government signed and introduce a moratorium on new wind energy projects until all scientific and health issues have been explored. He also said a PC government would do away with the parts of the Green Energy Act that take away municipal planning authority on alternative energy proposals. Barrett said a PC government would honour existing contracts for alternative energy projects.

“We will restore decision power to municipalities. They have been neutered,” Barrett said at the meeting.

Barrett also said the Tories would do away with the FIT (Feed In Tariff) program that sees the provincial government paying alternative energy companies a massive premium for any energy they generate.

“You will not see the expensive FIT program in the future. It’s too much. Nobody else does it in North America,” said Barrett. “We support renewables like solar and wind, but they have to be in the right place with the permission of the community,” he said.

Barrett said the concerns of every day people and small business owners are behind the policies of the PC party.

“A lot of what is driving our policy is the personal electricity bill of the residents and the small business people,” said Barrett, who said the Tories are also promising to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy within the government, to get rid of the HST on all energy bills (hydro, gas, oil, etc) and eliminate the debt retirement charge that appears on all hydro bills.

“That debt was paid off last year, but Mr. McGuinty passed a regulation to leave that debt retirement charge on your bill until 2018,” he said.
Barrett also said a Tory government would make smart metres voluntary. In recent years all homes in Ontario have been outfitted with a smart metre that measures their power usage 24 hours per day. Power consumers pay different prices for power during different times of the day. Power is most expensive from Monday to Friday during the day (called the peak period). Off peak hours are nights, weekends and holidays.

Barrett said changes to the Green Energy Act could come almost immediately after Tim Hudak is elected Premier. He said the new government could put an end to new contract “the next day.”

“Tim Hudak is going to take action right away,” he said, noting that the moratorium would also be implemented immediately.

“The whole intent of the moratorium is to slow things down instead of ramming them through, let’s take some time,” explained candidate Bill Walker. “We are currently paying the U.S. to take our surplus power. We don’t need this big surplus of energy. The moratorium will give municipalities back the abilities that have traditionally had. We don’t need to keep ramming these down people’s throats,” said Walker.

86 thoughts on “PCs promise swift and immediate moratorium

  1. What your smart meter can do for you!

    Barrett also said a Tory government would make smart metres voluntary. In recent years all homes in Ontario have been outfitted with a smart metre that measures their power usage 24 hours per day. Power consumers pay different prices for power during different times of the day. Power is most expensive from Monday to Friday during the day (called the peak period). Off peak hours are nights, weekends and holidays.

    Get it off my home – please –
    thank you!

  2. So from what I get out of this and talking with Walker..our next battle will be with councils and county.

    So John..our work is not done.

    You can’t give council the power and say over these issues…….what will we have to do ? Pull these people out of their homes and hog tie them and parade them around the streets?? LOL!
    Do we have to get a few tractors and pull these things down ?…LOL!

    The people who live there must have the say. , not some yoyo that is a bartender or massage therapist by day and councillor at night . Most people on council are just as uninformed as a class of children listening to Suzuki.
    The people Must have the say. or we are standing still.on this.
    This is not a sloution that will work well for us .

    Not implyng anything negative about bartenders or massage therapists.

    • Ernest:

      You just nailed it right on the head.

      The idea of the GEA as a set of MINIMUM standards does have some merit. I would go so far as to say it is an absolute necessity.

      It is much cheaper to — shall we say influence — a town or regional council than a provincial or federal politician — but I do not think that the CAGW mega-business wants for funding.

      Having said that some faceless poll in the Liebral government blamed the mess on Wolfe Island on not having the GEA and minimum standards — they were right.

      I have been reluctant to raise this topic before — but since you did… (hah — you have the blame!)

      Something like the GEA with minimum standards for wind turbines, solar panels and bio-fuels are a necessary requirement. If we do not have minimum standards some cleave wag will have wind turbines running at the immediate roadside — and maybe string power and service cabling on them. You heard the prediction here first.

      Canceling the GEA in entirety would be just as stupid as the current version of the GEA. We will also have some idiot proposing that we chop down 4 to 5% of the Boreal Forest yearly to feed the maw of the old coal generators — all for a hundred additional union jobs and a support deal. Oh — wait — we’re too late for that deal! Too bad.

      People need to discuss not just the repeal of the GEA — but what must be done in its place.

      Proper standards that respect property rights and health issues would virtually eliminate future installations of Wind Turbines from Southern Ontario — and require the removal of most of what has been installed.

      Further elimination of the disgracefully high FIT rates would eliminate most Green Energy projects and allow time for a re-evaluation of the technology, economics and health issues. The FIT rates must be eliminated regardless of the present cost and of potential lawsuits. Government has no place picking technology winners at the adaptation stage — perhaps at the trial stage but that is another R&D funding issue.

      It’s time for some of the brain power in this group to come together with firm proposals for the aftermath of the election. If we do not, we could inherit a worse mess and provoke a free for all where no standards exist.

      I have spoken 😉

      • WHOA, David and Ernest

        Let’s NOT get so far ahead of ourselves that we distract the readers of these pages from the PRESENT NEED to UNSEAT 25 to 30 Liberals IN their ridings RIGHT NOW!

        David and Ernest, WHICH Liberal are YOU working to UNSEAT? WHAT is it exactly that you are DOING for the NEXT 40 days and nights to convince the necessary # of voters to vote for the candidate who came 2nd in that Liberal riding last time so that the Liberal candidate can’t possibly win a FALSE majority AGAIN?

        [Just a brief reminder – Wilkinson did NOT get a MAJORITY, only 46.6%; his opponent got 5758 FEWER votes . So by getting ~ 2900 voters to switch, Wilky would be GONE]

        So, what say you, Wind Warriors? whom are you WORKING to unseat?

      • Dave,
        That sound you here is me, snapping like a crisp white sheet in the wind, as I hang from the clothes line to dry …

    • Great letter you had in the Orangeville paper, Ernest. Absolutely socked it to ’em! Keep up the great work.

  3. there are good ethical people and there are self serving people that can be bought..there is no way I would trust the council my area has to make that decision.. …Grey Highlands is rare indeed.
    You have to keep in mind the CAO as well….we will be right back to where we started unless we take the say in what goes on

    Thanks about Orangeville..just telling the truth…hopefully one more person begins researching..then we have one more on our side.

  4. Ernest, you are absolutely correct.

    If we leave IWT decisions to the descetion of local councils, the Wild West Show is going to begin all over again. Instead of having wind proponents blazing around the backroads in their pickup trucks, looking for landowners willing to host turbines (and maybe enjoy some tea and scones while brandishing the payola), the new wind cowboy will be stalking less than stellar councillors and politicians in the backrooms and parlours of smalltown Ontario.

    Dave, you have spoken … and spoken well.

    As you have pointed out, we need to be preemptive to avoid a messy election aftermath. We must have a solid plan with sensible guidelines in place for Hudak to act on BEFORE October 6.

    I may not be “brain power” material, but I would be pleased to attend some kind of “brainstorming” session if that opportunity comes to pass.

  5. Johanna..presently working to unseat them all .
    Not because I want to. Because there are some good people in this party.
    And in some areas they have done a good job.
    “No party deserves a seat in politics that would pass the GEA in a democratic society”.
    It will be torn up…..no if ands or buts
    If it takes the decimation of the Liberals the NDP then so be it.

    I know there are eco groups , government and alternate energy companies that watch this site daily.
    They comment on here and often redirect issues on here.

    I contacted every Liberal including McGuinty , Duguid , Wilkinson , and the Ontario Liberal Party etc.
    And demanded the GEA be torn up .
    They had a chance to find a reasonable compromise with their wind nonsense…they chose not to.
    So these people will be the reason for the demise of their party.
    And they should know…they had a chance.
    They were told that they would be taken down and decimated if they continued on this path of destruction.

    Your group needs to show it is a powerful political voice and must be listened to., so if you can take a party down , it will give your group the power and voice it deserves to have.
    You have to prove to political parties you have more vote power than the eco groups , which in fact you do.

    But , taking one down , at election and fighting one with 4 years remaining is another story. So we must have a party that has the integrity and resolve to work with us primarily.
    At present , the Liberals and NDP are not our friends..they have sold us out to corporations and cap and trade which is more corporate welfare but on a global scale hidden behind saving the word from doom.
    The only thing we need to be saved from is them.

    This election may very well be the most important election in the history of Canada.
    But we better know what happens the day after the election.
    And there is no way that 7 people on council from all walks of life are going to be given the chance to sell us out for a vacation somewhere…local control must mean a local vote

  6. To all those on this thread whom I may have offended by not realizing that they have been working with the Society for Wind Vigilance all these past few years, my deepest and sincerest apologies. Many of the founding members of the Society for Wind Vigilance have over the past few years made a great many presentations to the Ontario Premier, the Minister of Environment, Minister of Energy, Minister of Health as to the safe and health preservative set backs from human habitats for IWTs, the optimum night time levels of sound to prevent sleep deprivation in humans

    The Society for Wind Vigilance has provided the Ontario Premier, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Energy, the Minister of Health with firm proposals of solid plans based on the work of internationally recognized scientists such as Dr. Hanning, Dr. A. Salt, our very own preeminent physicist, Dr. John Harrison [Queens U]. Their work has given the members of the “ruling” party sensible guidelines for erecting IWTs with “proper”, minimum standards.

    For those who have not seen the two year accumulation of the treasure of the Society for Wind Vigilance recommendations, firm proposals, solid plans, sensible guidelines and reports, these are available at http://www.windvigilance.com

    The members of the Society for Wind Vigilance would very likely want to hear from all those on this thread who feel that the planning isn’t adequate [IMHO, it IS more than adequate]. Unseating 25 to 30 Liberals in the Oct 6 election SHOULD BE our TOP PRIORITY for the next 40 days [and nights if you can spare them].

    So, once again, Wind Warriors, please pick a Liberally held riding either where you live or next door and give your all to unseating that sitting member.

    I’ve left the HARD part to the end – you will have to monitor the replacement MPP every day to make sure s/he keeps the election promises made in the rough and tumble of the election campaign. I’m going to buy a powerful tiny tape recorder to remind my MPP of what he promised and also that he shouldn’t make promises he won’t keep.

    • this is a far better approach then becoming the spokesperson for a single political party. Know you riding and your candidates. (if there is a Liberal out there that has bucked their party even consider rewarding them for doing that – although I am not aware of any). Then work for the change we need from there. And voting is not enough, volunteer to help in the campaign, if you are able to make a donation, the larger the better, generous tax credits mean you will get most of it back next year anyway. Talk to friends, neighbours and co-workers about what you found out about your local candidates and how the current government is driving up energy costs, while endangering our environment (gas fracking). In short be a part of the change you want.

      • Douglas..if our system wasnt designed so that when you vote for a person in your riding you in fact are voting for the leader I would agree.
        But when you vote for a Liberal that is against FIT..you are still voting for McGuinty.
        Guilt by association, not fair I agree.
        If you vote NDP you are screwed if you vote Liberal you are screwed and only the totally suicidal and brainwashed , or maybe University students will vote Green.

        So what is left ?

        I know I can’t TRUST the NDP or the LIBERALS in either party..and I don’t feel comfortable with Hudak because I want the IWTs and large scale solar shut down now. And I want full say in what happens where I live…that means no county level , no municpal level “yahoo” will make that decision.
        They can cut all the ribbons they want….but this will not be their call.

        So where are we……………..riots in the streets ?…….Is that what this will come to ?

        I believe it will , I don’t want it , in fact we are trying hard to avoid it.
        The instigator here is the Liberals and NDP…….and maybe that’s what Wilkinson meant.
        Prove to us you mean it.
        Well , I don’t want anyone hurt , because it is usually the people that shouldn’t be hurt that are.

  7. The “design of our [political] system” is IN OUR HANDS.

    “Be a part of the change you want to happen”.

    Here’s part of a deputation to our municipal Councillors and my request to our MPP and MP AND their Advisors:

    1) DO NO HARM

    2) Do your DUE DILIGENCE, do the research

    3) Demand rigorous, scientific data, NOT the proponents’ window dressing

    4) THINK OUTSIDE the box

    5) What are the unintended consequences?


    Our history and our climate have not accomodated citizens who need to take to the streets, but we can take a lesson from the French who DO NOT [for the most part] riot when they protest enmass. IF we do take to the streets, we have to be extremely VIGILANT of “agents provocateurs” sent in by “the enemy” and/or just plain hoodlums who thrive on violence.

    I hope we will all meet in Stratford this Wednesday, Aug 31 at 5:30 pm – the play’s the thing wherein we’ll catch the conscience of Wilky – the show must go on.

  8. I have said much the same thing , today most people don’t have time to research , and investigate issues .
    They have work , children , grocery shopping and mowing the lawn and somewhere in there some time to have a life.
    They watch the news , or listen to it on the radio , or sit and read a paper on a weekend morning.
    The 5 minutes is all the info they have.
    While all this goes on ………….lobbying happens.
    when I show people how much of their money goes to groups by this government to push their own agenda they are outraged….
    But if you don’t tell them they don’t know any better.
    They don’t know that when someone writes an opinion column that these people are being paid to say something. they don’t know that when they watch a TV documentary the funding may have come from the very interests it serves.
    They don’t think about it.
    But when they realize they are being manipulated..they get angry.
    Government is not supposed to use spin , misrepresent facts , people want to think they are doing what is best for them…..which is not always the case.
    We have a long road ahead.
    When you take your kids to school , ask your childrens educators about their energy stance…and begin informing them of the facts.
    It is surprising how misinformed many educators are because they are sent Pro Alternate Energy Info all the time……….
    And they teach that to your children

  9. I think there were at least three problems with the Wolfe Island decision process on wind turbines. In addition to

    1. lack of minimum standards–the developer originally proposed only 200 m setback–

    2. problems with transparency and public consultation (I think?),


    3. all but one Wolfe Island rep (the mayor) had prior agreements with the developer, and, having recused themselves, left the decision to the mayor (from Wolfe Island at the time) and reps from unaffected Howe Island. (If I understand correctly.) The municipality represents Howe Island as well as Wolfe Island.

    At least the Wolfe Island reps recused themselves: Cape Vincent, NY reps with agreements did not. And one CV rep sought to disenfranchise skeptical seasonal residents, which I understand contravened NY law.

    So, if decisions are to be made by municipal authorities, we should ask for science-based, precautionary-approach minimum standards, transparency and true consultation in the decision process, and some way of managing developers’ agreements with our reps. I thought that a provincial decision process would address these problems, but was surprised and disappointed.

    (A G&M article suggests that less educated reps may actually make better decisions, BTW: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/believe-it-or-not-less-educated-legislators-do-a-better-job/article2143984/ )

    • Hey Margaret,
      I find your comment disturbing.
      Especially #3.
      My curiosity is growing.
      It would be interesting to look into this further.
      Do you have an actual start date – re: council meetings

      You know the old saying, – where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire.

      • Hope my memory is serving me well!! My recollection is that Mark Mattson, lawyer & president of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, with a home on Wolfe Island, wrote about Wolfe Island reps having to recuse themselves. I’ll search “Wolfe Island wind” at his website to see if there: http://www.waterkeeper.ca . Hopefully won’t have to read every article!

        Another source is http://www.wolfeisland.com, e.g., May 29, 2006 in Island News “Commenting on the Public Meeting (May 31st) with regard to the proposed Official Plan Amendment, Mayor Vanden Hoek said that the Public Meeting process allows council to hear from those opposed but he noted that there has been very little opposition to the wind farm proposal. “Council has done a fair amount of homework. We are well aware of the tradeoffs and will look at it with our eyes wide open,” he said.” There’s discussion in December 2005, maybe even before.

        Wouldn’t it be interesting if some political science student analyzed issues in municipal decision-making (Wolfe Island, Cape Vincent) as well as at state/provincial level?

      • Hey Margaret,
        I ‘ll join you in reading.
        I’ll also do some research.

        Very interesting – I agree with you – about students –
        even high school law is exciting – if the teacher – doesn’t take law too seriously – and, actually teaches ‘critical thinking’ –

        Thank you!

  10. Thanks for your post, Ernest.

    How can parents who “don’t have the time” inform the “misinformed educators of their children” of the “facts”? What facts? – those they haven’t taken the time to learn themselves?

    • I am suggesting that those who do know, share their thoughts there when they can.
      new schools are being fitted with solar on rooftops through FIT programs . people that I know in the education system thought they were great…until the discussion began.
      There is a mountain of “eco” stuff flowing into schools.
      And for heavens sake..no one is blaming educators.. what is this all about ?

  11. Douglas….no no no no , what I am saying is that educators are indeed sent this stuff all the time, and they use this information as educational tools…………and they do

  12. Well I guess you can thank Mike Harris’ funding formula for that, as it has taken all kinds of resources out of our rural schools and caused the closure of many. Failing to fix that is one of the other legacies of McGuinty.

    Why no concerns about the resources that Suncor and CanWea have given the Conservatives. Surely that is important too? Or is it just the teachers who we should attack?

    • The removal of local control of schools made them easy to politicize. When schools were under local control people did quite a good job of keeping politics out of the their local schools. Local people raised the funds to run their own local schools. Now the government at large runs the schools and has the say as to what is taught.

      • Ontario has a public education system where we all pay towards it through our municpal taxes and of course income tax. No matter if you have kids or not. Or if you are a senior.
        We have 2 systems entrenched
        The policy and direction is directed by whatever government is in power.
        The boards follow policy and hand it down the line.

    • Douglas….there has been 8 years to undo all the wrongs.
      Rural funding for children is one area.
      What part of education would you like to discuss as far as Alternate Energy..or are you here to redirect , confuse , spin?

    • So Barbara we should just blindly trust the Conservatives? That is a recipe for betrayal. What is important is that the Conservatives ACCEPTED those donations. They too are playing both sides of the street.

      Maybe it is because I have never been a joiner and have never supported a single political party, and have voted for all three at different times, but for the life of my I cannot understand this knee-jerk support for a political party that is not being honest with us. The promise on FIT is the clear example. You CANNOT cancel FIT as it is the process all generators contract to deliver power to the grid. Even if FIT was cancelled, the very next act would be to create a new one. Barrett’s comments make it clear that wind and solar are still very much on the table. Unless you believe that the Conservatives are going to shut down all private generation in the province their FIT promise isn’t worth the paper it is written on. They know this, but they think you are too stupid to figure it out.

      So the only alternative is to support individual candidates who are on our side, and have a record of being so publicly AND have the you know what’s to hold the feet of whomever is in government on Oct 7th to the fire- even if it is their own party. Given the lack of real clarity from any of the opposition parties it is the only strategy that will work.

    • It is not wise to blindly trust anyone when it comes to IWTs. Many people understand the school situation when it comes to politics now-a-days but this issue is for another day.
      The situation at hand is that Ontarians are going to have the hides skinned off from them when it comes to paying for useless “green” renewable energy projects. All efforts need to be concentated along lines of stopping this from happening.

  13. Sorry Ernest, but it is you who are redirecting and spinning. I have posted credible information about the Conservative’s impossible FIT promise, their financial support from IWT supporters, the lack of logic voting Conservative in my riding, a view shared by many local longstanding IWT activists, and the hypocrisy of attacking the NDPs position on renewables when this article has quotes from Barrett that are almost word for word what the NDP are saying. Yet not once have you answered those issues. Instead you chose to attack teachers. Really, that’s the problem with IWTs? Teachers? When was the last time you were in a classroom. I have school aged children and not once have they came home with a handout about how wonderful IWTs are. I have to believe you just made it up to avoid answering the serious concerns about the Conservatives.

    • 28 years in an education family Douglas
      I see the pamphlets..mountains of them . Boxes of them. Because I see them.
      I don’t attack teachers ….I “know” what educators jobs are like.

    • Why not start posting information about the people who are causing the IWT situation to begin with. Namely the developers who will get filthy rich off from their scams. Of course they are going to try to buy political influence. What else would anyone expect? They already have gotten to politicians at least through propaganda they and ENGOs have put out.

      • Yet I am being told I MUST support, despite the situation on the ground in my riding, a political party that has already allowed itself to be bought off.

        My only point is to look at yourlocal candidates. And make you decisions based on their records. At this point there is not a single opposition party being very clear about their post-election real intentions. The Liberals have been clear, but clearly that is clarity we can do without. So my choices are Conservative or NDP in my riding. But despite everything I am being told if I care about the IWT and associated issues I HAVE to support the Conservatives. I reject that based on local conditions and the fakery of the Conservative platform. But any time any of that is brought up the redirection away from examining the Conservatives begin.

        It is one of the reason I hate partisan politics and many on here are doing that redirection constantly.

      • Thanks for the segue.

        Mike Crawley former Pres of the ON wing of the Fed Lib party and close confidant of McG is the responsible developer through AIM PowerGen who caused to have 18 Vestas 1.65 MW IWTs all jammed in within the 3 km radius of the Clear Creek/Cultus/Frogmore IWT ZONE where my neighbours and I struggle 24/7/52 to exist while he continues to pocket millions and will retire farrr, farrrr away from any IWTs.

        It’s very likely that Mike doesn’t even contribute personally. AIM PowerGen, the remake – IPC and the new incarnation IPR – Suez are getting corporate write-offs by contributing to McG & Co.

      • Just who is saying you MUST do anything? And, if so… why are you listening to them? You don’t HAVE to do anything. You’re a grown man.

        I just deleted one of your posts as you were being very insulting. Calling us dirty names will potentially get you banned from posting on this site. Take that as a warning.

  14. If you wish to vote for McGuinty do so.
    Despite how much I may like the man , because of his leader and his party leaders direction I have NO choice because of our political system BUT to vote for someone else. I believe that is what I have been saying all along.

    • Where have I ever once said I was going to vote for McGuinty or the Liberals. Classic misdirection. Care to address the reality of the Conservative election promises and how it will not stop IWTs?

  15. Back on 08/28/2011 at 12:36, I mentioned “agents provocateurs”; so beware.

    The Society for Wind Vigilance – www. windvigilance.com has crafted over the past 2 yrs a plan for our govt, whatever its composition turns out to be. If you have the technical skills to help improve these plans, please contact them.

    Wind Warriors need to give [without reservation – this is the most crucial provincial election for a generation] the next 37 days to the work of unseating the incumbent Liberal in their own riding OR the riding next door.

    Prepare your strategy and be ready to go once the writ is dropped next week.

    • If you have the technical skills to help improve these plans, please contact them.

      Are you volunteering, David?

      • MA:

        Re SWG:

        I am not an MD or an audiologist and I could find no evidence of a plan being developed. How could I help? I don’t see it. Perhaps if they make it clear what they are working on if anything…. I have sent a query for more information.

        As I said earlier, if it is simply a plan for setbacks and medical issues — then they have the skills they need.

        Till then…

  16. A party in power always has the advantga of a 3 way split vote..4 ways when you consider the Greens
    The NDP are firmly comitted to IWTs…talked to Horwarth..they ARE all about alternate energy.
    Just mirror the Federally NDP and there you have it.
    They are so far off base on cap and trade and corporate welfare I have no idea where to start.
    But someone scammed them.
    It is in McGuinty’s favour if we begin splitting the votes for the people we like.
    Whatever party is in power the leader agenda generally rules..so if we begin splitting votes here and there we are ..in my view voting for McGuinty..who else , or what other party will help us.?
    I like other candidates , there are many good people out there , but they can do absolutely nothing if the Liberals win .
    That is why I said you are voting for McGuinty.
    I don’t think our fight is over at all…………..there is too much money at stake.
    Governments do have the power to backtrack, if there is a will , there is a way, will they I don’t know.
    I gave McGuinty many chances..
    I say this often:
    There is no place in a free and democratic society for any political party that passes the GEA.
    Or person.
    And I meant it.
    And how did I attack educators and blame educators by saying they get eco information and use it in the classrooms………..they do .

  17. And i am just an fart in the dog house and don’t understand why LOL!

  18. This has me confused, if you’re against Turbines and their cost why would you vote NDP, they want more renewables and to shut dowm nuclear which is 50% of our power source. How will you turn on the lights when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine??

  19. The Red Star is always worth reading on environmental issues (gag me with a rubber spoon).

    By Martin Regg Cohn Queen’s Park Columnist



    Dale Marshall, the Suzuki Foundation’s climate analyst, wrote that the NDP’s platform “appears to be just another case of politics over good policy.” Its founder, David Suzuki, recently endorsed the Liberal campaign, citing its green policies.

    One concern is the way New Democrats have publicly flirted with grassroots opposition to wind turbines in rural pockets of the province. The anti-wind movement can be a grab-bag of interests: locals who believe rural empowerment trumps renewable power; transplanted city-dwellers who treat wind turbines as an esthetic blight; and residents who cite health problems despite the scientific studies.

    Horwath says she wants better local consultations. But she has also tried to have it both ways on wind turbines: “It’s not for me to judge if they’re having a health impact or not,” she once told a TV audience.

    Clearly stung by the eco-criticism, Horwath points out that, unlike the Liberals and Tories, the NDP strongly opposes nuclear power. Environmentalists counter that if she’s serious about reducing reliance on nukes — which supply roughly half of Ontario’s power — it’s all the more critical for her to support a rapid ramping up of renewables, rather than paying lip service to wind power while giving succor to its opponents.

    Yer all a buncha rube NIMBYs — eh? The Red Star said so… Pravda, tovarish!

    • Ahhh the clear, myopic, propaganda of Metro Martin…
      Some minor changes to Baghdad Bob’s greatest hits would fit right into a Cohn column.

      “The stupid enemy … failed completely. They’re not making any penetration”

      “Nobody came here. Those … losers. I think their repeated frequent lies are bringing them down very rapidly”

    • “and residents who cite health problems despite the scientific studies”

      And what non-existent rigorous, scientific, arms’ length, epidemiological health studies are those ? David..

      • Johanna:

        I think they are the studies that quote “what some said — about what somebody said” … You could always ask Reg Cohen of the (Red) Star.

        It’s always interesting to see what tripe the Star will publish. I am beginning to think that many of their writers are trained seals — barking on command of the Press Release King… now I could be wrong…

  20. Free Thinker, I think WIRE asked for an environmental review of Wolfe Island project. (Verify!) My recollection is that the Minister of Environment had to recuse himself, but rather than refer to Minister of Natural Resources, as I would have expected, the question was put to Minister of Municipal Affairs who quickly gave the developer a pass. Let me repeat: the Minister of MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS ruled on an environmental question! (If I recall correctly.)

    Here is excerpt from March 2004 on early Wolfe Island land options and the developer’s proposal for a 200m setback, which WIRE and others eventually pushed back to at least 350m (Ontario now requires 500 m):

    “…What’s new is that landowners have optioned 3000 acres to CREC and CREC is now looking for 3000 more at the head of the island. CREC plans to erect further anemometers ( two 60 metre) for more accurate wind data and to lay out the first optioned 3000 acres for the 80-100 metre high windmills spaced 1/2 kilometre apart with a sound level of 40 dba’s set back 200 metre’s from every home. …”

    What’s New on Frontenac Islands, March 24, 2004. (Accessed August 18, 2010) http://www.wolfeisland.com/mtnews/archives/2004_03.php

      • What?
        See – my comment below.
        This does not make sense – at all.
        Minister of Tourism? This is crazy!
        This is absolutely getting weird, and scary!

      • Yes, I believe it was the Minister of Tourism. After Gerrestsen’s conflict-of-interest kerfuffle, he just handed it off to the Minister of Tourism who took a couple days to think about it…..it was then rubber stamped.

        Gerretsen was wining and dining with the developers and was pushing the project on all fronts. As the Minister of the Environment, he handed it off to avoid conflict of interest charges. The lackey who was the Minister of Tourism did what McGuinty and Gerretsen told him. No public input, no serious consideration, nothing.

        From Lake Ontario Waterkeeper:

        The Ontario government approved the construction of an 86-turbine wind farm on Wolfe Island with no “re-siting” as advised by expert opinion. Concerns over bird habitat and the Wolfe Island environment were ignored. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper worked with residents and volunteer organizations to offer expert advice and alternative solutions to the issues and appealed the provincial approval. The Minister of the Environment subsequently referred the decision to the Minister of Tourism, citing a conflict of interest. Three days later, the Minister denied the request for a hearing. A federal Environmental Assessment continued until December, when the project received final approval.

      • Hey MA,
        Concerning Gerretsen’s ‘conflict – of – interest’ – what year?…..2007?
        and, what kerfufle?

        It would have been serious – for him to step aside.
        Can you post an article? …or, was it not covered?
        conflicts at all levels – web of tentacles.

        Does McGuinty have a cabinet full of ‘Green Fools”?

      • Dear MA – and all citizens of Ontario –
        Tears flow………..

        What happened
        Wolfe Island should not be forgotten.

        This completely demonstrates the McGuinty deceit,
        and Liberal ‘Cronyism’ –
        and, if the Liberals are re elected –
        it will only continue.

        Shout it far and wide!
        Do not forget Wolfe Island!

        God Bless!
        Vote Oct 6th – to stop ‘Liberal Cronyism’

      • See this Article:

        Peter Fonseca…

        The allegations stem from Gerretsen’s attendance last summer, before he was appointed environment minister, at a corn roast on Wolfe Island organized by Canadian Hydro Developers Inc., the proponent for the wind project. The event, held at a private residence, was also attended by local media and municipal politicians from the Township of Frontenac Islands.

        As well, the proponents, Canadian Hydro, bought tickets totalling $1,500 to attend at least one fundraising dinner for Gerretsen.

        Gerretsen made the decision to divest himself of the decision-making responsibility on the wind project after consulting with Ontario’s integrity commissioner, whose office ensures that provincial politicians aren’t making decisions on issues that could benefit them.

        “As a result of [the integrity commissioner’s] advice and ruling, Premier Dalton McGuinty has appointed Tourism Minister Peter Fonseca, to exercise my decision-making authority with respect to the Wolfe Island Wind Project,” Gerretsen wrote in his letter to constituents.

        While the integrity commissioner determined there was no conflict of interest, she recommended Gerretsen to withdraw from the decision-making process because of a perceived conflict.

        In her written decision to Gerretsen, she addressed his attendance at a Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. event last year.

        ..and that’s the way it was.

        “It is my opinion attending and speaking at the event was not contrary to the Members’ Integrity Act. However, both of these events appear to have created a perception that you favour one group of ministry stakeholders over another,” said Lynn Morrison, acting integrity commissioner.

      • Example of Liberal – U.S.Democrat – Cronyism
        Ontario Citizens have seen enough

        Kick McGuinty ‘Green’ Liberals Out!

        Oct. 6th – Election Day!
        Vote for Freedom!
        Say No! – to McGuinty Liberal Cronyism

        God Bless!
        p.s. Never forget Wolfe Island!

    • Hey Margaret,
      I think you are correct in your assumption – it went to Minister of Municipal Affairs –
      Did they (Municipal Affairs) not play the ‘dog and pony’ – allowing citizens to comment?

      From what I see – the citizens, and possibly council were duped (let’s assume – until there’s evidence to prove otherwise) –
      and council, allowed an NGO to guide them (council).

      Does this council consist of adults? Just asking.
      …….willingly playing along………very odd.

      Citizens must be absolutely heart broken!

      Save all evidence!

      “…What’s new is that landowners have optioned 3000 acres to CREC and CREC is now looking for 3000 more at the head of the island. CREC plans to erect further anemometers ( two 60 metre) for……..

      Is council on top of this?
      Keep digging!

      • > Does this council consist of adults?

        While I don’t always agree with outcomes, the council did follow the rules, I think. And Wolfe Island at least had an opportunity to decide for itself whether to allow wind turbines. Last election, voters decided to replace the mayor who oversaw the wind decision. (It was close, though.) Again, while I don’t always agree, I’m happier with apparent openness, etc. of new guy.

        I share this stuff just to show that developers will play municipalities, and that some upfront attention to rules, standards, consultation, transparency, the options process, appeals, etc. will be warranted if local decision-making returns.

      • Margaret,
        Yes, I absolutely agree with you.
        But – there is also plenty of evidence – and, I have witnessed some –
        that there is a bit more –
        going on………..which leaves us with –
        Public Perception – which ‘leads us’ to ‘questioning’ –
        after we’ve seen the results.

        I think we can all agree – something is not normal.


  21. We pay the bills , ECO groups live off our money.
    No one I know appointed them as spokesman …
    Canada saw what happened with the Federal Liberals.
    Despite the ECO groups and the CBC bias.
    You want to govern you better talk to the right people…and it isn’t the ECO groups.
    If these parties think we have no power….they will have a rude awakening.
    We spoke in the Federal Election
    And we are speaking in the Provicial Election.
    Hudak can go home , spend some time with his family.
    We have a few things to say this October..and all party and eco groups will hear our message loud and clear.
    The GEA was a huge mistake..

  22. Interesting thread and I agree with much of the discussion. As a representative of the Ontario Libertarian Party http://libertarian.on.ca/our-platform/energy-draft we were invited by David Robinson to comment on the PC promise above.
    Certainly we would support the moratorium and the restoration of decision making powers to local utilities and the scrapping of the Samsung deal too. The PCs say they will “do away with…parts of the Green Energy Act.” A Libertarian government would do away with the whole bloody thing. Environmental issues should be regulated by citizens rights to breath clean unpolluted air and by the property rights of individuals to have the value of their property undiminished by government edict.

    Libertarians have nothing against wind power/solar power, or any alternate form of energy production per se. What we oppose is government subsidies that create and prop-up an artificial market for these forms of energy production and worse remove choices from consumers.

    The Liberal plan since 2003 has been based on the ideology that global warming is caused by greenhouse gases like CO2 and can be reversed if thermal generation stations are shut down and replaced by other methods of generation. The Liberals have shut down many coal-fired thermal plants and plan to shut them all down by 2014, the PCs will continue that plan. I suspect if PC candidates are asked they will spout the same kind of drivel that you already hear from the Liberals and NDP. Neither the PCs or NDP will make the fundamental changes that are required in order to return sanity to this situation.

    Libertarians support property rights and the idea that these rights become part of the Charter. No other party makes that statement.
    Libertarians support the idea that local residents should have the power to decide where power generators are located and the right to demand that they are free from all forms of pollution (noise, smell, particulates etc.) and receive compensation and satisfaction if their rights are affected.
    We believe that the government’s primary purpose is to protect the rights of individuals (according to the Charter), not try to socially engineer consumer’s use of energy or any other aspect of their life.
    Libertarians support competition in energy production with the removal of subsidies from all forms of production that will allow the true cost of electrical production to be seen. We believe the free market is best suited to “decide” what types of electrical generation is best for local consumers. One way this can happen is to break apart the OPA/OPG monopoly, and ultimately sell off the components of the system to local utilities and businesses. Neither Hudak nor Horvath is prepared to institute any changes that remotely resemble those above. These are some of the things your group may want to suggest to the candidates and perhaps get them to think outside of the box that their party has created. In the meantime your Libertarian vote is a protest.

    • Thank for joining the conversation, Allen. I have one question for you.

      It has been said that the libertarian party and/or landowners association would actually always side with the leaseholders of these massive turbines. He/she would have the right to do whatever the hell they want on their property…neighbours be damned.

      We as members of the community would have no say whatsoever on what a landowner wants to do with his property…even if it negatively affects us. Can you respond?

      • Crown Land Patent Grant…………something municipalities do NOT want you to know about
        The word in question is “forever”
        Google it folks….a brave new world out there.
        Although it does create new issues.
        Anyway these people have a point.

      • MA:

        This was exactly my concern and why I asked for a public reply.

        I want to point out that the policies he put forward would effectively kill the Renewable Industry in Ontario — not directly — but simply by restoration of the rights we always have had, and still do have. My belief is that the 550M distance to a receptor dwelling is in contravention of property rights. This issue was raised a year ago by a lady who made a few posts in this group. It was ignored. However, apparently the Ontario Government does pay attention as the GEA was altered to accommodate the erosion of rights. Getting rid of the FIT program is the capper.

        For the record:

        Now I have never voted Libertarian — mostly Liberal or the equivalent — occasionally NDP and Green… Never again.

        Right now I am leaning towards PC — BUT if there was a Libertarian in my area they would get my vote, a contribution and a happy campaigner.

        Unfortunately any vote to them could well be a protest vote — kinda like Quebec — that did not work out so well did it… people threw away or their votes …or … what did happen anyway?

        The platform put forward would answer most concerns of people here.

        However, the biggest concern of most people here is “Social Justice”:

        The way I see it is this. You can have your rights and forgo the nanny state… or you can social justice and maybe the Liberals this fall — if people see the NDP as the number two party.

        The way I see it the PC’s are the Liberals of Old, The Liberals have confiscated the old NDP platform, the Greens and the NDP are pretty much equivalent now — and want “Social Justice” above all.

        Now maybe somebody else has a better analysis.

        The cap

      • Social justice is the goal of course.

        As moderator, I don’t want to start preaching here. All I know is:

        1st goal: Defeat all Liberals in Ontario

        2nd goal: Put renewed pressure on the new government to remedy the mess that has already been created.

  23. Who said that? I’ve never heard it. We are not affiliated with the OLA, though we might support some of their ideas. Libertarians would leave property rights issues to the courts. I know it might be difficult for you and your group members to believe, but thinking like a libertarian is very different from the mainstream statist mould.
    If someone erects a windmill on their property in sight of their neighbour that would possibly diminish the value of the neighbours property. That seems to me a property rights issue that would require satisfaction/compensation. It also assumes that windmills would continue to be viable options for energy production. If the GEA is removed and the gov’t is not pushing a green agenda (or any anti-property rights agenda) that might not be an attractive option.

    • Thanks for the response. I’m afraid I don’t remember exactly who posted it on this site but I have seen it mentioned.

      I just wanted to give you the opportunity to respond.

    • Recently learned that in the Niagara area farmers are being offered up to $50,000/turbine lease, due to the size of the IWT’s proposed for that area. Oh, and the neighbours get $500 as compensation. What a joke. The value of your home goes down 25%-40% and the neighbour is offered $500. Nice try wind turbine company, but I would find it offensive.

      • Now all the other landownwers who signed up for a lot less money will be angry. Heard it was ~ $8,000 / turbine around here.

    • When we held our protest at VanBommel’s Strathroy office in April, there were local members of the OLA present (including myself). Their support simply confirms that large-scale industrial wind projects are an irritant to a very large part of rural Ontario. It is an issue which has no political demarcation.

  24. Thanks Allen you read my mind regarding the possible concerns

  25. FYI: to all concerned. The Libertarian Party is “threatening” to have a larger number of candidates this time around. We have about 41 signed now and could have 60 plus by the time the writ is dropped on Sept. 7. If you are interested let me know what riding you are in and I will let you know who (if anyone) is running.

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