by Andre Den Tandt, Owen Sound Sun Times
Now that the provincial election is behind us, the results offer some startling insights into the political landscape, both locally and provincially. At first glance, the overall results may seem inconclusive, with the Liberal Party just one seat short of a majority. But look again and the results are nothing short of stunning: The Liberals were shut out in every single rural riding, every single one. Just as obviously, the Progressive Conservative party was shut out in all the major cities, as they were four years ago. That’s an urban-vs-rural divide such as has never been seen in Ontario, and it’s very bad news: large-city majorities can run roughshod over rural people and their interests without suffering any serious political consequences.
On the other hand, the stunning defeat of every rural minister — John Wilkinson in environment, Leona Dombrowsky in education and Carol Mitchell in agriculture, food and (ironically) rural affairs makes it abundantly clear that the Liberals don’t just have a problem in rural Ontario: they are the problem. And we all know it, here and everywhere except in the big cities. We all know the cause as well: wind turbines.
We don’t want them. That is now indisputably clear. All the talk from Liberal politicians, wind energy companies and their well-funded lobbyists, all the full-page ads with pretty girls dancing among the lovely daffodils and the even prettier wind turbines, all the meetings and presentations to municipal councils by self-serving NGO emissaries serving up cliche after cliche — it’s all hogwash. These election results show that most of us in the country were not fooled.
Can we now hope to never again hear the phrase “90% of the people in the affected areas love the wind turbines” or “dirty coal,” or “the most stringent setbacks in North America?” We have heard these phrases again and again, in spite of multiple proofs being offered that it just isn’t so.
There is no need to repeat all the arguments here. Readers of most country newspapers have heard them ad nauseam. It is thanks to these same newspapers, their op-ed sections and the determination of the many letter-writers who either live among turbines or are threatened by them, that we succeeded.
In fact, these election results show that, with little or no money, we were able to drown out the noise made by the well-funded publicity campaign of the wind industry.
Where do we go from here? Will anything change? I am personally not convinced this government will learn anything, in spite of the overwhelming evidence — not to mention the threat to our democracy when it’s possible to run roughshod over a minority group, the rural population, and do so with impunity.
How can we make the big-city voters aware that without a vibrant, healthy country population, their health and wealth is also at stake? So far, ignorance is bliss.
If that does not change, different tactics may be required. We know that, when the city produces something with an unpleasantness attached, they ship it off to the country. Garbage, sewage sludge, slaughterhouse offal, compostable material, anything that smokes or stinks: not only we can have it, but we must take it. And when the big city wants something, the production of which has unpleasant side-effects, we get to keep that as well. This includes food, or ethanol (ask people in Chatham), or electricity — especially if it’s nuclear.
We are gifted with the wind turbines and generating plants and all that goes with them. It’s not right.
When faced with an invasion by machines that make people sick, lower their property value, are exorbitantly expensive, and don’t reduce CO2 pollution, we are branded NIMBYs. When we point out that the electricity produced is both unreliable and sold at a loss (because the power is often not needed at the times when the wind unpredictably begins to blow) we are called naysayers.
All this as we are seemingly headed for insolvency.
Bill Murdoch has suggested that Toronto should become a separate province. Maybe he’s right. Disgruntled French farmers have been known to dump a load of manure on the steps of their “hotel de ville” or block all four-lane highways bringing food to their fancy restaurants. Anyone have a better suggestion?
There is no obvious path ahead. But, having worked in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound for Bill Walker and the Progressive Conservatives (the one party that seems to understand rural Ontarians), I feel pretty good when I see the new electoral map of Ontario, with all that blue. Too bad all those acres don’t vote.
Andre Den Tandt, Municipality of Meaford