I’ve said before that I enjoy what I do. Until a week ago it was just watching the interplay between the characters at the Adelaide ERT appeal – the difference between the people operating from the legal/monetary point of view and the people operating from the human/heart/soul point of view. I enjoy feeling involved, feeling that I’m contributing, I enjoy being part of something that I believe is good and important, and I enjoy the people I’m sharing the struggle with. I feel proud and honoured to be considered part of this group.
We probably won’t win this appeal, but a small group of people with no money and no organization are standing up against the Ontario Government and a 30 billion dollar company and their lawyers, and we are making them work. If they win it will be on legal technicalities backed by dirty money. If we win it will be heart and truth that triumphs. We might not win this appeal, but I have to believe that heart and truth will eventually win over dirty money and politics.
For a couple of weeks, I have been there but not involved. No pretense of being objective, but I wasn’t involved in the action – I was there to record. It gives a different perspective. And in a way I actually could be somewhat objective.
But then the technical witnesses were replaced by human stories. Both sides have technical witnesses, but only our side has human stories.
It was a little hard to sit through the testimony of the Michaud Family and Nikki Horton and try to be objective. Just hearing their stories is upsetting. Finding them completely believable, it got even harder to have to listen to the lawyers question their motives, go through 10 years of medical history looking for places where they could hint that you have ‘other’ problems. If you’ve ever seen a psychiatrist or been treated for an STD – they’re going to bring that out in open court – maybe in front of friends and family. It’s very effective. It keeps most people from testifying. It’s similar to the way they used to treat rape victims. Even if you didn’t actually ask for it, it’s still probably your own fault.
These witnesses are suffering from stress induced health problems and are willing to come into these stressful hearings and submit to this treatment in the hope of saving others. This goes beyond just courage. And what I find really disturbing is that I don’t think the lawyers are actually blind to it. These guys are corporate lawyers and they unexpectedly still have bits of humanity around the edges. They don’t go for blood. I suspect that they believe the witnesses are telling the truth and that the problem probably is the turbines, but it’s their job to win the case because the turbine people are paying the bill.
Why we call them wind whores. But real whores don’t take your money and go beat up someone else.
What kind of people would do this? And what kind of people hire them?
Now it’s hard to sit and watch with any semblance of objectivity. Listening to the stories of real ordinary people who are suffering for no fault of their own, so that someone else can make more money.
Random people are being seriously harmed,
Similar tactics and legal arguments were used to keep Thalidomide on the market long after it was apparent that it was connected to serious birth defects.
The health effects we’re hearing about might be the tip of the iceberg. We don’t know the long term effects on growing children or developing fetuses.
Wednesday… Stephana, Kathryn, Kelly – three presentations. The first few paragraphs are repeat from an earlier post to make this one more coherent.
Our first presentation today is Stephana Johnston (read transcript here). There’s more nitpicking by the lawyers – she can describe symptoms but she can’t attribute them to the turbines.
Stephana notes that the restrictions of the appeal seem to be carved in stone – Can’t question 550m, can’t question 40db, can’t discuss health without 10 years of medical records
OTOH, the provincial policy statement, the mission statements and statements of environmental values of the ministries and institutions created by citizens’ taxes to protect their safety and health seem to written in sand to be blown away when government officials find them to be inconvenient.
“In 2004”, she said, ”I built a house “to age in place”, but the 84 turbines built by Mike Crawley [president of the Federal Liberal Party] in his Phase 1 and 2 Erie Shores Wind “Farm” took away that secure “aging in place” environment. The emissions from the IWTs disrupted sleep and did not permit sound, restorative, immune system enhancing sleep.
“Shortly after the Clear Creek/Cultus/Frogmore IWT zone started generating electricity in late 2008, while I the house, I experienced stuffed ears and severe tightness and pressure in the head. Over time other symptoms presented themselves.”
She goes on to describe other health problems and the doctors’ inability to help or diagnose. They eliminate all other explanations but aren’t experts on turbines and aren’t interested. With two other wind victims she rented an apartment in Delhi for a while. She has become, in a way, almost homeless. She stores her stuff in her former home and visits there for bathing, phone and cooking, but can’t stand to stay there. She moves around between house-sitting and her son’s trailer.
With a petition signed by 70 neighbours who all had experienced health problems after the turbines started, they went to the local medical officer. Although the legislation says that such complaints must be investigated and reported to the government, they refused to do anything.
In closing, Stephana said,
“The ERT can stop contributing to this serious harm to human health. They can stop it from happening to any more people in the future. The Tribunal can invoke the power it has to alter the decision of the Director for which purpose the Tribunal may substitute its opinion for that of the Director.
“The Tribunal can grant the Appellants the substance of their appeal, deny the Proponent/Approval Holder any right to erect any IWTs within the proposed territory in the region of Ontario for which they were given approval by the Director.
“Please stop the diversion of public monies which should be used to help us bar are being used to harm us.”
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about Kathryn Minten’s presentation.