By Michael Den Tandt, London Free Press
The comment from Dwight Duncan, Ontario’s Liberal finance minister, was nothing if not revealing. “Windmills, I know it’s a difficult issue up this way,” Duncan said this week at a campaign event in Grey County. “I fought that challenge in my riding in Essex County.”
He continued: “As difficult as it is, it’s the right thing to do. Ontario is leading and I promise you in 10 years people are going to look back and say, what was the fuss all about?” What a world of arrogance is contained in that statement. Never mind all you peons, with your little anti-turbine signs and your health fetish. In 10 years you’ll drive past what used to be your family homesteads and shake your heads ruefully at your former foolishness. Who cares, really? It’s only land.
Never in recent memory has a provincial government displayed such colossal carelessness, irresponsibility and obdurateness towards rural people. On the industrial wind file, it is as though the small communities and small landowners of Ontario don’t exist. They’ve been erased from the discussion.
Is it not odd, in a democracy, that a government seeking re-election should simply refuse to answer important questions about the health and property rights of citizens? Isn’t that something that normally happens in far-off countries ruled by dictators wearing colourful uniforms?
For a supposed two-term dead duck, Dalton McGuinty is running a decent campaign. He’s a veteran. Conservative Tim Hudak, by contrast, is running a lousy campaign. His platform is a grab bag of half-measures. His instincts are off. Last week, in a QMI Agency round table, Hudak passed up an opportunity to weigh in on religious services in public schools.
“I’ll leave school boards and principals to make decisions on what’s appropriate,” he said.
Um, isn’t that precisely what McGuinty said about that issue? And didn’t the Conservatives lose the last election because they refused to stand up for a public school system free of sectarian division? Does Hudak want to lose? Is he secretly acting as his own opposition?
McGuinty may win this election, because of Conservative bungling — again. If that happens he will perceive it as an endorsement of his Green Energy Act. And he’ll move ahead with his plan to grace rural Ontario with thousands more 500-foot concrete towers to feed electricity to the city of Toronto and surrounding region.
Memo to city dwellers, Liberal supporters, “green” energy acolytes and so-called lovers of the planet: Here’s why this is wrong. The Green Energy Act makes it possible for large multi-national corporations to ruin large tracts of pristine Ontario countryside by placing massive industrial installations where people live, over the objections of those people and local councils.
To say the turbine project is necessary for our economic future is nonsense. Nuclear is more than adequate to supply all of Ontario’s energy needs and then some. A micro-energy plan that provided small landowners with the means to acquire small, efficient windmills, solar and geothermal units would be wildly popular.
To say there’s no evidence of negative effects on human health from low-frequency sound, a byproduct of turbines, is simply a lie. There is evidence.
That and the numerous people who have reported falling ill while living near turbines should prompt concern from a government that purports to care about the welfare of all citizens.
The McGuinty Liberals, rather than show concern, have gone deaf. It is outrageous, and shameful.
Dwight shouldn’t wave it away.