Plympton-Wyoming stands behind new bylaw aimed at wind turbines

suncorSarnia Observer, Paul Morden
Suncor Energy and the Town of Plympton-Wyoming are at odds again over a wind turbine bylaw. Jody Hood, a manager of development and engineering with Suncor Energy, raised concerns at a recent town council meeting over a bylaw passed in 2014 to regulate wind turbine noise. Some 27 of the 46 wind turbines Suncor plans to build as part of its Cedar Point wind project would be located in Plympton-Wyoming.

“The noise limits related to our wind operations are regulated by the province,” said Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant. “We certainly intend to operate within those limits.” Vaillant said “from a technical perspective” the bylaw would prevent wind turbines from operating in the municipality. “Although, it’s not the bylaws that govern our project,” he added. “That approval comes from the province.”

Ontario granted environment approval in August for Suncor’s wind energy project in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township. Appeals of that approval are currently being heard by Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal. Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper said the noise bylaw was written in consultation with a lawyer, and added that it follows the province’s regulations. “But, we added the low level sounds,” Napper added. Read article

28 thoughts on “Plympton-Wyoming stands behind new bylaw aimed at wind turbines

  1. Great sign being held up in your photo! Good for Plymoton-Wyoming! These industrial wind corps do have the backing of the Ontario Liberal government, (a great deal of cronyism and corruption there, if what I have read is true), and they think they are omnipotent. The arrogance! Keep on keeping on, Ontario Wind Resistance people. It is a foul wind ablowing.

  2. The only bylaws that I have seen pass and these wind corps have to adhere to is to have fire detection and suppression installed. The only turbines thus far in Canada to require this are in Grey Highlands! All others do have a fire extinguisher inside but thats it!
    Huron-Kinloss, West Grey and Brockton have already passed this bylaw and are in the process of fining these corps if they don’t play safe!
    We are in the process of putting our own bylaw in place in Lambton Shores and could use any assistance available.
    This is the only area we have found that can and will pass and force these companies to at least install these monsters so our properties, farms and fields will not also go up in flames.

  3. The noise by-law will have to be tested in court. If developers don’t comply, the municipality will have to begin a long procedure to enforce its laws, which will end up in court.

  4. Pingback: Noise By-Law | WAINFLEET WIND ACTION GROUP

  5. Current Events!

    Ontario municipalities could see ramifications from precedent-setting Superior Court decision over use of road salt

    ‘[excerpt] The court ruling awarded Steadman $107,352 in damages. This includes $56,700 for depreciation in the value of their property and $45,000 for crop losses from 1998 to 2013.

    The county brought forward its own scientific expert who testified the use of Roundup — a common weed killer — could have contributed to the salt content found in the soil on the farm.

    Lambton County’s liability is “way worse” if it doesn’t put down road salt, said Jim Kutyba, the county’s general manager of infrastructure and development services.

    Though the county’s insurance will be responsible for deciding whether to appeal the decision, Kutyba believes there are grounds to do so.’


    Climate scientist Andrew Weaver wins defamation case against National Post
    A B.C. Supreme Court judge ordered the Post to scrub the offending stories from the Internet, but ruled the newspaper not liable for reader comments.

    ‘[excerpt] Justice Emily Burke awarded Weaver, a former University of Victoria professor and current B.C. Green Party MLA, $50,000 in damages.

    She also ordered the Post to remove the offending articles from its websites and electronic databases, as well as publish “a complete retraction” of the defamatory statements, “in a form agreed to by” Weaver.’

    ‘[excerpt] In her decision, released on Thursday, Justice Burke said the defendants “definitively espouse a skeptical view of climate change and are unwavering in their expression of this.”

    “While certainly entitled to express those views, in this case as part of that expression, they deliberately created a negative impression of Dr. Weaver,” she wrote.

    The Post had argued that the articles were not defamatory, because they did not attack Weaver’s character, and that the statements are protected by the fair comment defence.’

    Appeal the decision(s)

  6. Silencing critics instead of debating them

    ‘[excerpt] Weaver can dish it out. But he acts like a thin-skinned bully. God forbid you dare to criticize him – he’ll sue you. He’ll try to destroy you in court, by using our laws to silence you. It’s lawfare. It’s SLAPP suits – strategic litigation against public participation.

    Weaver sued climatologist Dr. Tim Ball for, amongst other things, saying Weaver was “lacking a basic understanding of climate science,” according to a glowing New York Times article, cheering on his SLAPP suit.

    Seriously? Suing someone, in a court of law, for saying you don’t understand global warming? This from a scholar, an academic, a teacher? And now a politician – an opposition politician, no less. Weaver is now a Green Party MLA in British Columbia, someone who hurls insults as part of his job description.

    But it’s not just Dr. Ball. Last week, Weaver’s lawsuit against the National Post went to trial, for daring to criticize him back in 2009.

    Nobody remembers those columns anymore. They surely haven’t damaged Weaver’s career – he’s a global warming celebrity, an international hero to the left, not just for his political views, but for suing those whose views he doesn’t like.

    That’s not what true academics do. That’s not what politicians do – especially opposition politicians. Andrew Weaver is acting like a thug, not a scholar or a public servant. He is trying to censor and punish his enemies, not debate his opponents.

    I wrote to Weaver and his lawyer asking, how does he pay for it all? A professor makes about $100,000 a year. An MLA in B.C. makes about the same. He’s not poor, but he’s not rich.

    Weaver hired Vancouver’s premier defamation lawyer, Roger McConchie – a very expensive lawyer, for a five-year lawsuit.’


    Again – Justice Emily Burke

    ‘[excerpt] The Supreme Court of British Columbia found that “the defendants have been careless or indifferent to the accuracy of the facts” in four articles about climate change published in print and online, in late 2009 and early 2010, by the National Post. The articles were titled,

    Weaver’s Web: Is it unreasonable to suggest his charge of theft against the fossil fuel industry is totally without merit?

    Weaver’s web II: Climate modeller’s break-in caper spreads across Canadian university, exposing Climategate as monster cross-disciplinary big-oil funded attack on psychology labs,

    Climate agency going up in flames: Exit of Canada’s expert a sure sign IPCC in trouble, and

    So much for pure science: ‘Climategate’ raised questions about global warming. The ongoing debate about its impact raises questions about the the [sic] vested interests of climate science.

    Justice Emily Burke felt the need to make clear that the case “is not who is right in the debate on climate change. Rather, the issue is whether the words and statements in the four articles defame the character of Dr. Weaver.” But then the decision continues, “the debate for the purpose of this matter, as at the date of the publication of the articles, can be described as follows: on the one hand, scientists espouse the view that recent global temperatures demonstrate human-induced warming. On the other hand, other scientists say the science has not established this proposition.”

    The court determined that the impugned words were defamatory concluding “that an ordinary reader would infer these meanings from an overall consideration of the articles; particularly the first three, which relatively quickly set the stage for the theme of deception and incompetence. The plaintiff’s integrity and credibility as a professor and scientist was called into question, thereby damaging his personal and scientific reputation.”

    The court also concluded “the defendants definitively espouse a skeptical view of climate change and are unwavering in their expression of this. While certainly entitled to express those views, .., they deliberately created a negative impression of Dr. Weaver. .. As evident from the testimony of the defendants, they were more interested in espousing a particular view than assessing the accuracy of the facts.” Initial reactions to the decision against the traditionally conservative newspaper are mixed with some speculating this currently politically correct ruling could have a chilling effect on reporting science unless it is overturned by the appellate courts.’

    • ‘[excerpt] The court determined that the impugned words were defamatory concluding “that an ordinary reader would infer……….’

      I feel so ordinary…….and a reader too!

      On May 13, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced that Emily Burke, a lawyer with Emily Burke Arbitration & Dispute Resolution Services, has been appointed a judge of the BC Supreme Court (Vancouver). Madam Justice Burke was elevated to fill a pool position created by An Act to Amend the Judges Act (S.C. 2008).

      Madam Justice Burke obtained her Bachelor of Laws degree from Dalhousie University in 1982 and was called to the BC Bar in 1982. She acquired her designation as a mediator and arbitrator from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in 2011. She has also completed the Harvard Law School Mediation Training and various other courses in advanced mediation, arbitration and dispute resolution.

      Madam Justice Burke practised with Emily Burke Arbitration & Dispute Resolution Services from 1995 to 2014. Madam Justice Burke’s primary areas of practice were arbitration, mediation and dispute resolution. She served as a part-time member of the Public Service Labour Relations Board from 2013, was vice-chair of the BC Labour Relations Board from 1990 to 1999 and acted as Registrar in 1996. Madam Justice Burke is also a lecturer and author on labour relations.

      Further, Madam Justice Burke has been a member of the Joint Advisory for the Collective Agreement Arbitration Bureau since 2004 and the National Academy of Arbitrators since 2006.

      Her appointment was effective as of May 13, 2014.

      Gee – I wonder what Judge Judy would think

      • R U ordinary?
        Or, R U reasonable?
        Or, R U neither?
        Or, R U both?
        What – do you think?

    • I still find her ruling – interesting!

      ‘[excerpt] The court determined that the impugned words were defamatory concluding “that an ordinary reader would infer these meanings from an overall consideration of the articles; particularly the first three, which relatively quickly set the stage for the theme of deception and incompetence.’

      The Municipal Councillor and the Strategic Plan

      All politics are Local politics!

      And still waiting for a coalition of mayors –
      to listen to the health concerns
      of the ordinary citizens – concerning wind turbines!

      Send lemons!

  7. Liberal scandals…………..
    Read all about it!

    OPP to question Kathleen Wynne, Pat Sorbara over Sudbury allegations
    Premier Kathleen Wynne and deputy chief of staff, Pat Sorbara, will be questioned by OPP investigating allegations of bribery in last week’s Sudbury byelection

    Premier Kathleen Wynne and her deputy chief of staff, Pat Sorbara, will be questioned by Ontario Provincial Police investigating allegations of bribery in last week’s Sudbury byelection.

    That news comes as OPP criminal investigators are stepping up a separate probe of the Liberals in the $1.1-billion gas plants scandal due to intense interest in the 20-month-old case.

    Wynne’s office confirmed she and Sorbara will meet with detectives amid allegations her deputy chief and Sudbury Liberal organizer Gerry Lougheed illegally offered Andrew Olivier a job to step aside for preferred candidate Glenn Thibeault, the city’s defecting New Democrat MP.

    “A time has yet to be confirmed,” said Wynne spokeswoman Zita Astravas. The premier’s schedule has her on private time this week before the legislature begins its winter session next Tuesday.

    Police would not reveal who is on their list for questioning “in order to protect the integrity of the investigation,” Det.-Supt. Dave Truax, director of criminal investigation services, said in an email.

    Thibeault won the riding, with the NDP in second and Olivier placing third as an independent.

    The OPP allege Sorbara, one of Wynne’s most trusted aides, and Lougheed illegally coerced Olivier — in calls he recorded with his smartphone because he is a quadriplegic and cannot take notes — to step aside.

    There’s no indication that Wynne offered Olivier a job in a separate call that was not taped.

    Deputy premier Deb Matthews stressed “any suggestion that anything was offered in exchange for any action is false.”

    “We take it very seriously. We’re co-operating fully, but the allegation is false allegation,” Matthews said, noting that, coincidentally, contract negotiations have just begun between the government and the OPP.

    “It’s very important that negotiations with the OPP happen . . . independent of any investigation,” she said.

    Sorbara did not respond to queries, while Lougheed, a businessman, told the Star he is “not at liberty” to discuss whether he’s been interviewed by police.

    But he vowed to remain as chair of the Sudbury police services board “unless there’s something found that I’ve done wrong.”

    At the same time, Wynne’s office is dealing with fallout from the investigation into deleted emails in the gas plants scandal.

    “We recognize there is a real public interest in getting this thing finished,” said OPP Supt. Paul Beesley.

    Beesley said the investigation into the deleted emails is complex, with detectives going through countless emails and last week securing a court order to do a forensic examination of the BlackBerry of former premier Dalton McGuinty’s chief of staff, David Livingston, who is under investigation for breach of trust.

    “We’ve got to make sure that we have dealt with all the evidence that is available to us. So we’ve just got to go down every sort of rabbit hole that comes up. It is taking quite a bit longer than we originally thought it would.”

    Police allege Livingston obtained a special computer password allowing Peter Faist, a computer expert and spouse of former McGuinty deputy chief of staff, Laura Miller, to wipe clean computer hard drives in the premier’s office before Wynne took power.

    Faist has been co-operating with police, supplying emails that have aided their investigation. He, Miller and Livingston have denied any wrongdoing. No charges have been laid and police allegations have not been proven in court.

    “I am thinking of wrapping this up as quickly as the evidence allows us to do,” Beesley said, depending on what is gleaned from Livingston’s smart phone, 21 hard drives previously seized and email tapes from Livingston and Miller secured with a court order late last year.

    Police have had Livingston’s BlackBerry since June 2013 but required court approval to obtain information from it. Det.-Const. André Duval said in court documents made public last week he thinks Livingston used his BlackBerry so communications would not be on government servers, using programs like BlackBerry Messenger or text messages, and not available to freedom of information requests.

    “I believe that one of the reasons investigators were unable to locate messages concerning the gas plants or government records management is that communications related to those issues were often conducted offline and through the assistance of a government-issued BlackBerry,” Duval wrote.

    Meanwhile, a third OPP investigation has been going on for three years into dubious business practices at the province’s ORNGE air ambulance service — with no end or charges in sight.


    Kathleen Wynne to meet with OPP over byelection corruption allegations
    ‘I am absolutely convinced that there was no breach,’ deputy premier Deb Matthews says

      • Only the precious Ontario Liberals could get away with pulling a Tommy Udo: tossing a wheelchair bound person, for all intents and purposes, down a flight of stairs.

        Imagine the outrage if this stunt had been pulled by Stephen Harper, Mike Harris, John A. Macdonald, Richard Widmark …

    • David Livingston and Laura Miller are – like –

      ‘[excerpt] “I believe that one of the reasons investigators were unable to locate messages concerning the gas plants or government records management is that communications related to those issues were often conducted offline and through the assistance of a government-issued BlackBerry,” Duval wrote.


      Terrorists have changed methods since Snowden leaks -UK official
      By Michael Holden, Reuters, Apr. 29, 2014

      ‘[excerpt] “The Snowden effect has been a very, very severe one,” Stephen Phipson, a director at Britain’s Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT), told a London security conference.
      “Our adversaries, the terrorists out there, now have full sight of the sorts of tools and range of techniques that are being used by government,” he said. “I can tell you data shows a substantial reduction in the use of those methods of communication as a result of the Snowden leaks.”
      “Some of the methods he (Snowden) describes that government uses to track terrorism, as a natural consequence, you see terrorists trying to use other methods of communication,” Phipson later told a small group of reporters.’

  8. Mr. Michael Mantha – R U an “absolute a-hole”?????

    ‘[excerpt] For one thing, the reference to double-deleting emails (removing them from an email account’s inbox and then specifically erasing them from a holding area where they’d still be recoverable) came after Miller sent Livingston a copy of a news release sent out by Algoma-Manitoulin New Democratic Party MPP Michael Mantha, condemning McGuinty’s handling of the rescue effort after the roof of a shopping mall in Elliot Lake caved in and killed two people.

    The CBC had received documents under access-to-information legislation that suggested McGuinty’s office was indecisive about what to do in the crisis, which Mantha attacked in his news release.

    “FOI This,” Miller commented, using jargon for filing a freedom-of-information request. “Mantha is an absolute a–hole.”

    “LOL!” Livingston responded. “This one will never get the Double Delete.”’

  9. “Mega wind farm proposed for Mattawa region”
    Credit: By Steve Pitt | North Bay Nipissing News | February 11, 2015

    ‘[excerpt] Wind farming could be coming to the Mattawa region.

    Quebec-based company Innergex Renewable Energy is proposing to build a 150 megawatt wind farm on Crown land in Mattawan Township. The project is called Nodinosi Energy Partnership because the wind farm will be a cooperative effort between Innergex and the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, who are located near Pembroke. Nodinosi means “Spirit of the Wind” in Algonquin. Innergex currently operates six wind farms in Canada and the United States.

    According to the Innergex website, the Mattawan wind farm could consist of 50 to 60 towers. François Morin, senior advisor of public affairs for Innergex, says “The number of turbines is, for now, preliminary.” If the Mattawan wind farm project of this magnitude is approved, it would likely mean “about 300 jobs during the years of construction. There are also a few permanent jobs during the lifespan of the project for operation and maintenance purposes,” Morin says.

    When asked how a large wind farm might impact the local economies of Mattawan and Mattawa, Morin replies “Our experience in developing and operating wind farms in other parts of Canada provides many examples of harmonious coexistence between a large variety of usages near wind farms. Hunting and fishing are not affected by the presence of wind turbines and road access improvements have opened new territories to a variety of activities like snowmobiles, cross-country skiing and camping.” Morin does admit that the turbines will be visible not only in Mattawan but possibly even from the Town of Mattawa itself.’


    More misrepresentations:
    So much for “clean” energy.

    ‘[excerpt] An Illinois renewable energy company will pay $1 million to settle SEC claims it misled investors ahead of its 2010 public offering.
    Broadwind Energy, a Cicero-based maker of wind turbines, agreed to pay a $1 million penalty the same day that the Securities and Exchange Commission sued the company, CEO Cameron Drecoll, and CFO Stephanie Kushner in Illinois Federal Court.’

    • So many people involved in hosting IWTs don’t even know how these projects, after development, can be bundled into Yield Cos and sold.

      Maybe later used for carbon credits. More money for investors.

      Have their property encumbered by construction liens.

      • CLEANTECHMEDIA, Sept.,2014

        ‘5 Clean energy YieldCos You May Not Have Heard About’

        Innergex Renewable Energy is one of them.

        Article explains a little about how this works.


        Renting out or leasing your house roof for solar panels can also lead to construction liens placed on you property if contractors don’t get paid.

        Plenty of people affected by this IWT fiasco can only discuss health and “noise” issues and nothing else.

  10. A serious issue when police officers do the wrong things.


    Ontario Superior Court of Justice

    David Livingston

    Search Warrant
    Pursuant to s. 487 of the Criminal Code of Canada
    Andre Duval
    Detective Constable #9114
    Investigation & Support Bureau

    Appendix C:
    starting at line 31:

    “Unless I specifically state that I have heard, said, seen or done what is described, all of the information in any particular paragraph of this sworn document is information which has been told to me by the persons stated to have heard, said, seen or done what is described. When I received information from police officers, acting in the execution of their duties, I believe that information to be true and accurate. It has been my experience that such information has consistently proven to be reliable, as they are well aware of their legal and moral duties while disclosing information as a result of their duties.

    The police reports and notes, which were completed by police officers in the execution of their duties, are an official record of the respective police officer or agency they represent and I believe them to be accurate.”

    Katherine DeClerq, Published on Tue Feb 10 2015

    ‘[excerpt] Two Ontario Provincial Police officers have been charged with criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death in relation to the death of 18-year-old Ashley Lerno in October, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said in a statement Tuesday.

    OPP Const. Craig McMurtrie and OPP Const. Rodney Donald Grubb are both facing charges of criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, and one count of conduct likely to constitute mischief causing actual danger to life.

    On Oct. 10, 2014, the officers were conducting a RIDE program at Maple Ave. and Eighth Concession Rd. in Burford when a pickup truck failed to stop. The officers proceeded to try and chase the pickup down and get it to pull over.

    According to a news release issued by the SIU, the pickup entered the City of Brantford and was involved in a collision with a vehicle driven by Lerno. She was taken to Hamilton General Hospital, but succumbed to her injuries five days later.’

    • Well, the OPP could be replaced in each Ontario county with a sheriff’s system where the sheriff would be elected every four years and accountable to the people.

  11. The question still remains – what did Dalton McGuinty do
    as premier?

    Infrastructure Ontario chief David Livingston gets new job

    May 4, 2012
    David Livingston, chief executive officer of Infrastructure Ontario, is moving on to a new job as chief of staff to Premier Dalton McGuinty. Infrastructure Ontario managing procurement for a variety of construction projects, including venues for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, the Athletes’ Village, the Air Rail Link to Toronto-Lester B. Pearson International Airport and the Highway 407 East extension.

    David Livingston, chief executive officer of Infrastructure Ontario, is moving on to a new job as chief of staff to Premier Dalton McGuinty.

    Published reports indicated Livingston will replace Chris Morley, McGuinty’s current chief of staff.

    Infrastructure Ontario is the provincial crown corporation that manages procurement of construction projects, including hospitals, roads and courthouses, using alternative financing and procurement (AFP). Projects in the procurement or construction stage through IO include venues for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, the Athletes’ Village, the Air Rail Link to Toronto-Lester B. Pearson International Airport and the Highway 407 East extension.

    Livingston went to university in Ontario, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Western University in London and a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University of Kingston.

    In addition to Infrastructure Ontario, he is a director with eHealth Ontario, Ovarian Cancer Canada and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.


    About Infrastructure Ontario

    Infrastructure Ontario (IO) is a Crown corporation owned by the Province of Ontario that provides a wide range of services to support the Ontario government’s initiatives to modernize and maximize the value of public infrastructure and realty. Infrastructure Ontario upholds Ontario’s commitment to renew public services and we often do so in cooperation with the private sector.

    IO has four lines of business that deliver results directly to clients and stakeholders:

    Major Projects
    Managing large complex public infrastructure projects through an alternative financing and procurement (AFP) model, which uses private financing and expertise to strategically build quality infrastructure, on time and on budget, leading North America as the most advanced and active market for public-private partnerships.

    Real Estate Services Providing oversight of the Province’s real estate portfolio and maximizing the value of public buildings and lands on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure (MEDEI), client ministries, and agencies through strategic asset management, realty capital planning and accommodation analysis. Also, leading strategic portfolio reviews and rationalization, and alternate use planning on behalf of MEDEI and client ministries.

    Infrastructure Lending
    Administering Infrastructure Ontario’s Loan Program, which provides Ontario municipalities and other eligible broader public sector organizations with access to affordable long-term financing to build and renew public infrastructure.

    Commercial Projects
    Leveraging private sector partnerships and investments for revenue generation, cost reduction, and efficiency in government services and investments.

    Infrastructure Ontario is mindful of due diligence, accountability, transparency, and results, with a goal of ensuring real value to the Province with every transaction and ongoing management.

    • Ontario taxpayers want their money back!

      Brad Duguid currently serves as Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. He served as Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities in February 2013. Prior to that, he served as Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Innovation, during which time Duguid focused on creating jobs, promoting Ontario as a smart place to invest, building a culture of entrepreneurship and growing a strong, innovative economy.

      He ushered in Bill 11 (Attracting Investment and Creating Jobs Act 2012), a marquee piece of legislation that established the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund and made permanent the Eastern Ontario Development Fund.

      Previously, as Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Duguid launched Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan, which built on Ontario’s commitment to clean energy.

      As Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, he worked at building relationships and launched PLAY, a program for aboriginal youth using participation in sports and activities to teach life-skills.

      Duguid’s involvement in politics began more than 25 years ago while working at Queen’s Park and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

      Duguid lives in Scarborough with his wife, Crystal, and has two sons, Kennedy and Jordan.


      The Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure works with many partners inside and outside government to modernize public infrastructure as part of an integrated vision that encourages the kind of growth and environmental stewardship that enhances our quality of life and contributes to our economic success.

      Places to Grow

      Places to Grow is the Ontario government’s initiative to manage growth and development in Ontario in a way that supports economic prosperity, protects the environment and helps communities achieve a high quality of life. Through Places to Grow, we develop regional growth plans to guide government investments.


      Ontario is making good on a 2014 Budget commitment to municipalities across the province. The Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund will provide a steady source of predictable, long-term funding for key infrastructure projects.

      Again – Ontario taxpayers want their money back!

  12. It was long ago, and it was far away…

    Lawrence Solomon: Ontario’s odious obligations
    December 17, 2010

    ‘[excerpt] Obligations that are odious should not be honoured. So says the Doctrine of Odious Debts, a theory first postulated by Russian legal scholar Alexander Sack in 1927 that is now increasingly accepted by international bodies such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund, as well as by today’s legal scholars.

    That doctrine, to date, has been applied chiefly in undemocratic settings, where tyrants callously rack up debts that a hostage citizenry is then expected to repay. It may soon be applied more broadly in democratic states where elected leaders fail in their fiduciary duties, wrongly saddling current taxpayers as well as their children with dubious obligations that do not benefit them, and that they didn’t request. […]

    As electricity rates soar in the province during the 20-year terms of the contracts and beyond, Ontario businesses will flee and Ontarians will join the growing ranks of those in fuel poverty. Holders of the contracts, meanwhile, will be gleefully taking in tens of billions of dollars in untoward payments from captive Ontario ratepayers. […]

    Are Ontario’s entirely unneeded electricity obligations odious? Somewhere on the continuum between obligations incurred by a Mugabe, a dictator who acts clearly in his own interest, and those incurred by a selfless leader, who incurs debts only for the betterment of his constituents, lies a McGuinty.

    Many argue that McGuinty is failing to live up to his fiduciary duty to the people of Ontario, and that he is committing the present and future generations of Ontarians to obligations in which they had little or no say. In his zeal to push through his plans, McGuinty not only offered outsized payments to favoured suppliers, he even extinguished the traditional rights of communities to object to developments within their boundaries.

    In Canada, a future Ontario government can amend or extinguish the McGuinty contracts by regulation or legislation — parliament is supreme. While that may seem an extreme outcome, the pressure on a future government to do so could become irresistible amid the soaring power rates and declining economy that would result if the McGuinty plan was ever realized. The ultimate lesson for governments: Don’t be a party to investments that could be odious.’

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