by Rick Conroy, Wellington Times
A massive groan echoed loudly through the pews and hung in the ornate architecture of the United Church in Picton last week. Liberal candidate and incumbent Leona Dombrowsky had been attempting to convince the large gathering that her government was listening to and hearing the concerns about industrial wind turbines in this community. No one believes this. Not for a minute.
Most understand by now that Dalton McGuinty is bound and determined to see industrial wind factories lining the Great Lakes. No amount of resistance, logic, reason, legal hurdles, technology deficiencies or plain economics is going to cloud his thinking. Despite the historic mountain of debt he has accumulated over his two terms of government McGuinty is prepared, indeed recklessly eager, to mortgage our children’s children’s future for the sake of his grand ambition. A horizon of massive turbines stretching from Cornwall to Windsor to Kincardine and Thunder Bay is the stuff of dreams for McGuinty—it will be his legacy to Ontarians.
The opposition to industrial wind factories in Prince Edward County is not shared by everyone. Some believe fervently it is our obligation to the planet and species that we pave paradise with 40-storey wind turbines, even if it means taking out a few endangered species along the way. Others warm to the glow of money that comes from hosting these factories on their land convincing themselves that they are continuing the noble tradition of agriculture.
Yet no one believes Dalton McGuinty is being guided by anyone’s views other than his own. He is the premier who knows best. His own government agencies and advisors have explained to him in both plain and diplomatic language the limitations of intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar. They have explained the futility of exchanging one carbon emitting energy source (coal) for another (gas). Because as McGuinty knows he can’t build wind and solar energy factories without also building gas-fired generating factories as well—necessary to power the province’s grid when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
McGuinty knows too that the ‘buy Ontario’ provisions of the Green Energy Act are also doomed. World Trade Organization appeals by Japan and the European Union will most certainly rule that his clumsy attempt to create and protect Ontario jobs also violates rules this country has agreed to abide. When that decision comes, the remainder of McGuinty’s much-touted “green” jobs will be flushed away. This province’s massive investment in industrial wind and solar will be much appreciated by workers in foreign markets.
Yet none of this is tempering McGuinty’s ambition. He continues his steady march through the objections of rural communities such as Prince Edward County—communities working frantically to prevent their homes from being destroyed the way Wolfe Island has been ruined.
McGuinty sneers at those who would fight to preserve the natural beauty of Ontario. He calls them NIMBYs—people concerned only about their back yards. But if ordinary folks don’t do it—who will?
The Green Energy Act neutered the government agencies that once acted as safeguards for the natural health and beauty of this province. The ministries of the Environment and Natural Resources have been downgraded and now answer to the Minister of Energy. Local and municipal governments have been taken out of the decision making altogether.
It is only in these dark Orwellian times that those who seek to preserve paradise are mocked derisively by their premier. On October 6 we have the opportunity to say enough is enough.
We stood by as Wolfe Island was ruined by wind turbines. We listened sympathetically to the stories of those who were forced out of their homes because industrial wind factories robbed them of their health and well-being. We are aghast that land preserved and set aside at Ostrander Point and elsewhere in this province for future generations may be industrialized and changed forever.
We must be extremely wary of a government that no longer acts in the interests of its people or its community but instead is driven by its own ambition. We have allowed Dalton McGuinty to demolish environmental safeguards and consolidate his power to radically reshape rural Ontario.
It has to stop.