Toronto Sun Editorial
Remember in 2009 when Premier Dalton McGuinty said he wouldn’t let NIMBYism — “not-in-my-backyard” syndrome — stand in the way of Ontario’s clean energy future? What he forgot to mention was NIMYBism was okay in Liberal-held ridings, just not Conservative ones. In that context, unpopular, natural-gas fired power plants — which McGuinty once touted as part of his green energy plan to replace coal-fired electricity and back up wind turbines — are rapidly becoming an endangered species in Ontario.
In Liberal-held ridings that is, first in Oakville and now in Mississauga.
(The Liberals cancelled a third gas-fired plant in 2008 at the site of the old Lakeview coal-fired generating station, after local residents converted Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion to their cause.)
Despite this, McGuinty continues to ram through a gas-fired power plant in the Holland Marsh on Ontario’s finest agricultural land. Of course, that riding is held by the Conservatives.
This is what happens when desperate, win-at-all-costs Liberal politics runs head-on into McGuinty’s so-called green energy plan.
Remember last year when the Liberal government suddenly proposed a mega, five-km setback for an unpopular offshore wind turbine project in Lake Ontario off the Scarborough Bluffs, in a bid to quell public anger in five nearby Liberal ridings?
Energy Minister Brad Duguid said that decision was made in part for aesthetic reasons, so residents wouldn’t have to look up at giant wind turbines from the beach.
And yet McGuinty has mocked such concerns across rural Ontario when it came to land-based wind farms — by criticizing objections from local citizens based on aesthetics, health concerns and declining property values — as NIMBYism.
Indeed, McGuinty’s Green Energy Act was designed to override the planning powers of local municipalities.
Incredibly, McGuinty says he hasn’t decided whether he will reveal before the election the potential cost to taxpayers of cancelling the Oakville gas-fired plant and (supposedly) moving the Mississauga one somewhere else. Speculation is it could top $1 billion.
But we don’t blame McGuinty for listening to local residents. We blame him for listening only, apparently, when they elect Liberals.