Some 2,500 years ago, fable author Aesop opined that, “Persuasion is often more effectual than force.” It is an idea the current provincial government has decided holds no place, at least when it comes to matters it feels are important.
The list of areas where the government has chosen to exert the force of law over the persuasion of education is becoming legion, including but not limited to smoking, cellphone usage and, most importantly, wind power.
Ontario Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman reinforced the position Monday.
“We passed a law, and the law does not create an opportunity for municipalities to resist these projects just because they may have a concern,” he said.
On the surface, Smitherman’s comment makes sense; after all we can’t have people just running around breaking laws they don’t agree with. Otherwise you will start having black people riding in the front of buses, women voting and native people asking for land back that our forefathers stole from them.
Some may say wind power is not as nefarious as basic human rights, but the law Smitherman eloquently defends certainly is: it says the will of entire communities and their democratically elected leaders can be forced to take a back seat to the will of the Ontario government and its agendas.
And the government is under no obligation to prove its case.
The fact the government is so willing to flex its muscles on a case it should be able to make through education and persuasion — wind power is an important part of saving our planet from the ravages of our own carbon emissions — makes the act even more despicable.
What is interesting is Smitherman refused to extend the same logic to nuclear power. When asked about it, his defence was the communities around the Darlington and Bruce nuclear reactors are “very, very enthusiastic.”
So, nuclear communities get a choice, wind power communities don’t. As least as long as nuclear communities are enthusiastic. We don’t know what happens once that enthusiasm wanes.
However, we leave those communities facing the jackboots of provincial energy policy with yet another quote, this one from Sir Winston Churchill in 1941, and hope they take it to heart:
“Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
3 June 2009