Bentley McGuinty’s rural point man

by Chip Martin, London Free Press
Chris Bentley promises to listen to suggestions about how to make wind turbines more acceptable in rural areas.  But Ontario’s new energy minister, who doubles as the Liberal government’s point man to make peace with rural Ontario, says science shows turbines pose no health risk and he has no plans to let their location be returned to local control.

“The science is on the side of wind turbines,” the London West MPP told The Free Press as Ontario’s new minority government — its first in a generation — opens Monday at Queen’s Park after the October election cost Dalton McGuinty many rural seats. Among other rural irritants, the government took over control from municipalities about where green-energy installations, like industrial wind turbines can go.

“In terms of how we site them . . . I am happy to listen,” Bentley said. “We have a province-wide approach (to locating turbines). If I can strengthen it, I’d like to,” adding he has no interest in a “patchwork” system.

Rural foes hoping Bentley might bring a new approach to the Green Energy Act, under which 900-plus turbines have sprouted, were disappointed there’s no change in the wind with Bentley’s arrival.

Another 2,000 turbines have been approved.

“I’m not looking forward to this,” Esther Wrightman, a director of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, said of Bentley’s take.

“I would hope he is listening, but that sounds like he isn’t listening at all,” she said.

Her group is among many that mobilized in the election to defeat Liberals in rural ridings based on opposition to turbines. The Liberals lost 10 seats targeted by anti-wind coalitions, as Conservative Leader Tim Hudak vowed to scrap the government’s Green Energy Act.

“I find it kind of funny that he says the science is good, but he is willing to talk about siting issues,” Wrightman said. “Setbacks are in place because of health and safety risks.”

Wrightman has been battling turbines for two years because her home, just west of Strathroy, will be surrounded by them soon.

Municipalities have been calling for a moratorium on turbines until more health studies are done to ensure they don’t pose hazards to rural residents. Some anti-turbine groups want turbine blades to stop turning on existing projects.

East Zorra-Tavistock has backed a call from its fellow Oxford County municipality of Norwich Twp. for a moratorium on new turbines.

Wrightman said similar calls have been made by North Middlesex, Lambton Shores and Adelaide-Metcalfe.

For his part, Bentley, formerly the attorney general, said he plans to listen to the rural community in his new post.

“Are there some ways we can strengthen the consultative approach that improves the province-wide approach? I am open to suggestions and I am listening. My No. 1 goal is I want to listen and I want to see what good advice people have and if we can craft an even stronger system.”

He conceded some people don’t want turbines and never will.

“There are those who will never say yes, no matter what you do, no matter what the science is, so we know what their position is. But there is broad support for clean air, broad support for renewable energy and it’s part of the green energy economy.”

Bentley said both the provincial and national chief medical officers of health agree there are no health concerns attributable to turbines.

“You have to stay with the evidence,” he said.

He said he’ll consider new or different ways to involve local communities in determining sites for turbines.

“Remember, these projects only get started in a county or community because local people want them,” he said. “Let’s remember that.”

And he noted significant consultation led to Ontario’s Green Energy Act, which encourages renewable energy projects.

He said by focusing on green energy, the Ontario government is cleaning the air and saving millions of dollars on health care for treatment of respiratory problems.

More than 20,000 of the 50,000 green energy jobs promised by the end of 2012 have already been created, he said.

“The world is going green to a greater or lesser degree, but it is going green,” he said, noting Ontario wants to be a leader in creating green jobs.

It appears Bentley faces a significant challenge in his new portfolio winning over rural Ontario.

Wrightman, for one, remains unhappy that Bentley seems willing to deliver more of the same from the province on the energy file.

“I’m not sure how he expects rural residents to make his job easy if this is the mindset we have to work with,” she said.

52 thoughts on “Bentley McGuinty’s rural point man

  1. Mr. Bentley has no interest in a “patchwork system”. Has he looked at the location of these turbines, it couldn’t be any more patchwork!?!? Why this program wasn’t tendered and the devloper site a “wind farm” on enough acreage a safe distance from residents is beyond me. It is clear it is not a viable investment or it would have happened. All other electricity generaters generate on a site and distribute to the grid. The wind industry couldn’t be more scattered. Although having no ownership in the land provides them a quick exit when the tariff runs out .

  2. But – But – Mr. Bentley!
    Oh – I get it –
    Bug off – again – Ontario citizens!

    “We have a province-wide approach (to locating turbines), if I can strengthen it, I’d like to,” he told The Free Press. He said he has no interest in a “patchwork” system.

    Thank you Mr. Bentley!

    p.s. “The science is on the side of wind turbines,” he said. “In terms of how we site them, if some people have some other suggestions I am happy to listen.”

    Again – Thank you! – for listening to Ontario citizens’ – ‘legitimate’ concerns.

    • Bentley has a fan!

      Introducing – Dwight Duncan –
      The Clean Energy Guy!

      fighting for mom’s and dad’s (mind cramp)

      Cementing the relationship!
      …..he’s with ya! – Mr. Bentley.

      Reality Check!
      Ontario economy – on life support!

      Go! – Duncan – Go!………….away!
      [group scream]

      • This goofy looking guy must of had a nasty mentor!!! “If you tell a lie long and loud enough, people will eventually start to believe it” Left wing urbanites anyways. We have simply been unplugged from the matrix. Care to go back Free Thinker… wont get so many mind cramps.

    • I’m totally baffled here… Now, Bentley’s willing to listen to suggestions???? They haven’t listened to anything rural ontarians have said to date !!! The Dalton Gang and Bentley STILL don’t get it..Nothing short of a total ban on IWT’s will do..I thought we lived in a democracy, but obviously, I’m wrong…I think Bentley better start looking for a new job… I’m just saying !!!

  3. Seems Bentley is retiring next term….his political career will be finished after this cabinet position.

  4. “`Hear Hear we do not want them in our back yards or ruining our health and our beautiful Ontario .No Compromise just stop then .Plain and simple NONONOPNONONO There is no debate.

  5. This guy is just as much a dufos as the last energy minister. They just don’t get it. IWT’s are not wanted or needed in southern Ontario.If they don’t want a “patchwork system” of IWT’s place them on crown land in northern Ontario where there are millions of acres to site their wind farms on.

  6. Billions and billions leaving the province with this green energy agenda. Bentley working two portfolios but they seem to be overlapping lately, Energy and First Nation. all kinds of trucks this week on hwy 56 and 403 brantford heading towards Haldimand way with IWT nacell and blades. Something going to give. Guess that is McGuinty’s way of optimizing government. A kinder gentler machine gun hand.

  7. What is wrong with this man’s head??!! Can he not hear the cries of Rural Ontario ?? We are sick and tired of the same old rhetoric. As soon as anyone takes issue with “their” so called “science”, they stick their fingers in their ears and refuse to listen. Just how do we get their undivided attention??!!

    • When the time is right, and sooner than later,, another election would do it.. But first,, all the ducks have to be in a row, a bit better than they were the first time… I’m sure it’s being worked on somewhere out there. …

  8. The living victims are proof that Industrial Wind Turbines are causing health issues. He is still going to ignore them.
    Nothing new from the McGuinty Liberals, except Chris Bently is from London, surrounded by farm communities.

  9. Oh, and two for one, Deb Matthews is still minister of Health in London On. If Chris is doing First Nation as well, there are some healthy reserves in south western Ontario as well. Just missing an agriculture minister. Perhaps he’d like to visit?

  10. Ontario is using a “closed” energ supply strategy. No new conventional supplies allowed. This is necessary inorder to impose renewable energy projects onto Ontarians. If other conventional electric supplies were allowed then there would be no room for renewable energy projects.
    So this allows the renewable energy developers to enter the Ontario energy market and make gobs of money from these projects.
    Governments have 3 basic ways of getting money:
    2. Plundering other countries for their riches
    3.Selling their natrual resources and selling/leasing their natural assets like land ,water,etc.
    By allowing renewable energy projects to be installed on crown land the government gets money by sale or lease.
    There are some who think that they have the right to use crown land/public land to make themselves filty rich at the expense of the people. One in particular thinks he has the right to make himself rich using crown lands and then sues when he is told no. Thinks he should be allowed to use a public asset to enrich himself.

  11. If it is true there is no health hazard and no loss to real estate value the turbine companies and government should have no problem signing a guarantee valid for the next 20 years .
    If your property is on the market for more than 12 months they should buy it for the pre turbine installation value plus moving expenses .

  12. A little more on the Spanish Elections with a focus on Energy…

    Spain appears set for a change of government in elections due to take place this weekend, which will likely lead to a change of tack for the country’s nuclear fleet and could see the industry ministry, responsible for energy matters, closed down.

    The latest official opinion poll carried out by the government’s Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas, or CIS, shows that the opposition Partido Popular party will not only win the November 20 election, but will do so with an absolute majority.

    It looks to me like the (supposed?) defeat of the current government is directly tied to energy policy.

    Hopefully there will shortly be another election in Ontario if the current government continues to ignore the economic and health issues related to its current energy policy.

    …and I doubt I can say “You heard it from me first!”. You have probably been thinking something similar.

    Will the Liberals start listening? Will there be health studies will investigators look at the economics of alternative energy? Who can say…? If not, and election soon is likely.

  13. Bentley , if you haven’t been listening you haven’t been doing your job .
    There is no health risk you say ? the science says you say ?
    My God , what is the matter with you sir .
    My suggestion Mr Bentley , openly talk to the people who have had to leave there
    homes because the Industrial Wind Turbine Generators were Too
    close to their families .
    With all due respect sir , go live in one of those homes, experience the truth .
    And then resign .

  14. “The science is on the side of wind turbines.”

    Below are a few studies on humans that I’ve come across in casual searches on the effects of (infra)sound. Are the clowns at the MOEs even looking?

    Angliss, S. (2003). Soundless Music. In Arends, B. & Thackara, D. (Eds.), Experiment: Conversations in art and science (pp. 132 –171). London: The Wellcome Trust. ,,,23 (Accessed Oct 14, 2011)

    Danielsson A and U Landström. 1985. Blood pressure changes in man during infrasonic exposure. An experimental study. Acta Med Scand. 1985;217(5):531-5. (Accessed Oct 3, 2011.)

    Powell, Devin. 2011. What it means to ‘feel the noise’: scientists explore overlapping sensations of sound, touch. Science News Web edition. May 26, 2011. (Accessed May 26, 2011)

    Salt AN, Hullar TE. 2010. Responses of the ear to low frequency sounds, infrasound and wind turbines. 2010 Sep 1;268(1-2):12-21. Epub 2010 Jun 16. (Accessed Nov 18, 2011)

    • Scary isn’t it. We met with the CAW PR girl assigned to talk to us protesting residents as part of their community outreach. She had ZERO personal knowledge of any of the current health and safety concerns in the public domain. We are faced with the CAW having MOE Approval ( ie. McGinty ) and beginning to putt up a turbine grandfathered with no setback requirements in a resort area with 100 homes inside the magic 550 m bubble AND they now have a FITT Contract subsidized by us taxpayers selling the power back to the grid when they told us in the original 2005 notice that the power was to be used for their Family Education Centre use. MINISTER, MOE, MP, MPP, CAW all refuse to answer urgent pleas to our health and safety concerns. Feels like Russia.

      CAW`s just became McGinty`s sales team with their $70 M Family Education Centre now his Wind University all payback thanks for the $6 B of our money McGinty used to bailout auto and pump green air into a deflated CAW. What`s a hundred families health in the big scheme of things right guys. People are already going out and getting baseline medicals done now before they experience any symptoms. Sad part is these guys are supposed to be the champions of health and safety.Worse yet they own 80 acres a 2 minute shuttle bus ride away from Wind University where it could be sited and everyone`s happy. The CAW manager is quoted in the Windsor Star who looked into our plight as saying we can`t move it any further away because our property is too small and we feel confident all is OK because we followed all the governments `safety guidelines. He`s the Dean of Wind U.

      Greg Schmalz
      S.T.O.P. (saugeen turbine operation policy)

      • Jim Stanford – CAW Economist
        before the Oct. 6th 2011 election.

        “Use your vote to defeat the Conservatives”!

        It would appear CAW disappointed the Democrats
        lost the House – to the Republicans in the U.S.

        Energy Bill now stuck in the House!
        – headed towards a shredder –
        Let’s hope!

      • Note:
        above video – click on
        CAW Calls For Strategic Voting in Ontario
        to watch interview.

        Part 2
        Jim Stanford – CAW Economist
        before the Oct. 6th 2011 election.

        Jim Stanford:
        CAW supports Liberal Environmental Laws!
        ……….which supports Wind/Solar/Gas Plants
        and, protecting the environment? – Okay!

        Interview a little disappointing –
        but interesting!

  15. This may well be the beginning of the end for wind. Even Prince Philip admits wind turbines are “useless”:

    “He said they were absolutely useless, completely reliant on subsidies and an absolute disgrace,”

    Mr Wilmar said his attempts to argue that onshore wind farms were one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy received a fierce response from the Duke.

    “He said, ‘You don’t believe in fairy tales do you?’” said Mr Wilmar. “He said that they would never work as they need back-up capacity.”

      • The Prince Philip story may develope into a story within a story about the MSM coverage.

    • Hey –
      Energy01 & Barbara,

      Love the link!
      Best part – 2100 comments!

      Re: Smart Growth
      Charles declares!
      Mumbai shanty town model for the world.
      Dharavi, a Mumbai slum where 600,000 residents are crammed into 520 acres, contains the attributes for environmentally and socially sustainable settlements for the world’s increasingly urban population, he said.

      Charles – Always a surprise!
      Worldly – that’s the word.

      Ha! @ Charles! Always picking sides!
      Just for laughs!

      • Google search revealed the T. Star has carried 2 three line stories the past 3 days with links to the UK Telegraph & Daily Mail. Both 3 line stories reveal almost nothing about this news story and what Prince Philip is quoted as saying. Google has pages of entries on this story from around the world.

      • Bing search did not reveal any GTA MSM news stories on Prince Philip’s remarks but Ottawa & Calgary have covered this.. Story is making its way around the world.

      • OPA’s Peter Love – Conservation Czar for Ontario (whatever happened to him?)
        should ‘hook up’ with –
        Prince Charles – that’s for sure!

        Are you ready? Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

        There’s just one problem!
        However, the 61-year-old Prince might need to tackle his own family’s washing habits before telling the rest of the country how to behave. His father the Duke of Edinburgh, 89, takes baths.

        Read more:

        Creeped out yet?

  16. “The science is on the side of wind turbines.” contd.

    Infrasound reminds me a bit of chemical contaminants in its invisibility and its effects on people and fish & wildlife. It’s interesting that wind proponents such as the MOEs and the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative seem to be using old methods for marshalling information that are increasingly discredited in regulating chemicals, e.g., For example, information collected by the wind industry is considered proprietary and it seeks to suppress others with its nondisclosure agreements. There is heavy reliance on peer-reviewed literature (a 2+ year process?) and on studies specific to wind (rather than, say, effects of infrasound in other uses). Wind turbines are presumed innocent until proven otherwise, rather than having to prove safety before widespread use. Meanwhile, chemicals are increasingly regulated based on “weight of evidence”. A work group of the Massachusetts Dept of Environmental Protection explains how weight of evidence is used in environmental risk assessment at . “Weight of evidence” is also a legal concept, and it seems to me that the recent tribunal may have been influenced by it, at least in part and probably not explicitly. It seems to me we’ll always be playing catch-up if wind proponents and regulators continue to use the old, discredited ways of marshalling information to protect human health..

  17. McGuinty Liberal:
    [excerpt] “The science is on the side of wind turbines,” the London West MPP told The Free Press as Ontario’s new minority government — its first in a generation — opens Monday at Queen’s Park after the October election cost Dalton McGuinty many rural seats. Among other rural irritants, the government took over control from municipalities about where green-energy installations, like industrial wind turbines can go. [Impossible to grasp]

    Not only is the economy collapsing – our entire way of life –
    as we have known it – is now at risk.

    • Woudn’t you like to be a “fly-on-wall” inside the Liberal caucus this week after the remarks Prince Philip has made? Now they have to face the rest of parliment as well as the public.

      • I’d like to be a “Killer Queen Bee” – sitting on the ceiling –
        observing quietly –
        over @ the Ontario Power Authority!

        But, Queens Park is okay!

    • Hey Martin,
      I also love Melanie Phillips – great writer.
      Don’t miss her write up within the article.
      She especially has spoken out – always.

      The Prince’s outburst may have been impolitic but many will be cheering his words. Indeed, he understated his case. For the Government’s promotion of wind-farms is simply off-the-wall crazy from every conceivable point of view.

      Read more:

      Perfect Timing!
      – a severe blow to:
      The UN Climate Change Conference
      Nov. 28th – Durham, South Africa

      It should also be noted – the Queen –
      had a chat @ the U.N. not too long ago –
      1st time in 50 years.

      Note: Britain’s elderly are freezing in the dark!

  18. “More than 20,000 of the 50,000 green energy jobs promised by the end of 2012 have already been created”, he said.
    Where exactly and what type of job?. If you count as new jobs every time a construction project begins, this would account for some axctivity, but 20,000? I don’t think so. The solar plant visited in the campaign had already laid off the workers.
    I read today that construction had halted on the Mississauga gas fired plant. Anuone know if this is true? These jobs would have to be subtracted from the 20,000.

    • Martin,

      You are absolutely correct about the
      gas plant is Mississauga
      being cancelled.

      The Ontario Power Authority announced Monday it has reached an agreement with Greenfield South Power Corp. to stop construction on a natural gas plant in Mississauga, west of Toronto.

      “There will be no gas plant located on this site,” OPA stated in a press release. “The OPA and Greenfield will continue to discuss details, including an agreement on facility relocation. “–ontario-power-authority-stops-construction-on-natural-gas-power-plant-in-mississauga

      • I think he’s saying the Liberals are crazy!
        And – I agree!

        Jan Carr, the former chief executive of the Ontario Power Authority, said the decision shows that important energy decisions are now all coming out of the government.

        “The Ontario Power Authority is no longer independent,” he said. “This just underlines it.”

        Carr said the government is getting too close to the power system.

        “The wrong people are in charge of the wrong aspects (of power policy),” he said. “Government needs to be involved, but not to the extent that it is.”–liberals-say-construction-halted-at-mississauga-gas-plant

      • It is unreasonable and unjust to expect all of Ontario to pay for the political wheeling & dealing that has taken place with these gas fired power plants. Let the people who played this game bear the cost of this political game.

  19. Well, where did this breath of fresh air come from, eh? Off the same old stink heap to be sure. Has he ever talked to anybody whose entire life’s work is wrapped up in a house and property threatened by external forces that are paid to represent one’s best interests; namely, the elected government? Ontario is supposed to be one of the most desireable places to live–heard it today on the news, in fact. If that’s the case, why do I feel like I’m about to lose my entire retirement value in my primary residence, upwards of $750K? So tell me, which rural residents are in favour of IWTs? Pretty selective reasoning if you ask me. It doesn’t necessarily follow that a few signators speak for the rest of us rubes. That’s just what is wrong with the whole picture. The tail wags the dog, and the dog gets fleas. How many have signed options along Lake Huron, did you say? I know our population density doesn’t garner respect, but 35 or so with options (and some of those nonresidents) doesn’t equal proof. As for the science, Chris Bentley is all wet. Get at the truth before assuming that none of us went to the university! Bentley, you just sound like a mouthpiece–and not a smart one at that. I’m really tired of living under threat of destruction,

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