Stephana Johnston: Ontario wind resistance’s grandmother

Stephana Johnston, the grandmother of our wind resistance, has passed away at age 88. Somehow I still think she will post a comment here about that, she seems that eternal.

I said she was the ‘grandmother,’ though in the way that spoke to her intellect, her thoughtfulness, courage and determination. We watched her lead this last fight while she was well into her 80’s – how many of us can even dream of accomplishing what she did, at that age, while evicted from her home and suffering debilitating health effects from the wind turbines that surrounded her? Do a search for her name on this site and the results are endless. She was at nearly every ERT hearing – not just in the audience, but participating, which means she had to prepare for each of the appeals as well!  In-between, she was at as many protests as I can even remember. Even if it was in downtown Toronto. Did someone drive her? Nope, she could do it herself.

I have so many fond memories of her, every time she arrived our spirits were lifted. Some were humorous as she had a wry wit, many were touching, but most were teaching moments. You couldn’t help but watch her deliberate movements, and listen to her well chosen words, and know that everything she did and said had meaning and purpose. When we were banned from handing out papers at a Pembina meeting on wind turbines, she turned her walker around and sat there by the entrance door, continuing to hand those banished papers to attendees. I remember glancing at the police officer, noting he wouldn’t touch her, and she knew it – because she was in the right. She was the perfect quiet protestor.

I know many of you will have memories as well – do share them – she’d enjoy it so much.

Here are some bits from the archives that describe her personality, her struggle and work over the years:

Fisherville ERT: In the Land of All Day Breakfast
… Mr. Adamson (Ministry of Environment Lawyer) chafed at the very idea of the individual post-turbine witness testimony saying that,”…they (post-turbine witnesses) should not be allowed to testify about their medical issues.”

The arguments reflect an “archaic-modernist” view that the peasants are in the way – they don’t deserve even the semblance of judicial fairness if they cannot afford the demands put upon them. Clear Creek resident, and witness, Stephana Johnston was seated beside me. A tear came to her eye when he said this.

Haldimand Appeal – May 4th
NextEra was of much the same mind, though counsel John Terry, took a bit less time to spew the same blather and nonsense. He took pains to explain that he must have the extensive medical records so that he may have them competently reviewed and so “test” the case evidence for verity. Why he needs 10 years worth of records was not explained, nor did Ms. Harris offer any rationale either.

There were a couple of questions from the ERT panel members. One asked Mr.Terry how he would view the call for extensive evidence if this case is viewed as a “public interest” case. Mr. Terry replied that in the interests of fairness to defendants, a “robust process” is needed with appropriate expert testimony.

Another question to him was: Is a family doctor’s opinion (diagnosis) sufficient (evidence). Mr. Terry said that the G.P.’s notes need expert evaluation. Stephana Johnson turned to me and softly said, “There are no doctors expert in this medical problem.” – that from someone who can offer expert (though unofficial) opinion.

And in Queen’s Park:
Mr. Robert Bailey: To the minister: 81-year-old Stephana Johnston, slowed by her walker but energized by her passion, joined this protest which marched in Strathroy Saturday last. Her message to you and your government is this: “We are suffering and it is a horror story, and you are responsible because you agreed to the Green Energy Act.”

Minister, in Long Point, Mrs. Johnston has a say on the location of a new Tim Hortons, a Mac’s Milk or a 7-Eleven, but not an industrial wind farm near her home.

Minister, I ask you: Who’s right—Mrs. Johnston and the thousands of names on her petition, or do you know best?

ERT Wrightman v Director Oct 30 2013
I’m concerned that the lesions on my brain are going to increase in number and size. And I’m going to have another MRI in January of 2014. In order to relieve the sensation of pressure in my brain I’m driven to spend as little time in the wind turbine- surrounded house as possible.

And to some people, I may be a subject of derision, because one of the ways that I spend my time away, is to attend as many Environmental Review Tribunal sessions one of the reasons that I’m a subject of derision is because I spend my time at Environmental Review Tribunals. Because I need to understand what is happening to me and I want more than anything to prevent it from happening to anybody else.

As an 83- year old, doesn’t matter what happens to me, but I think of all of those children in the school that is going to be surrounded by turbines, and it just makes me cringe to think of what could happen to them.

Other ways that I’ve taken to mitigate what is taking place in my own house, I, well as I said, rented an apartment, and then the good people at the Long Point Waterfowl Education Centre, through the good graces of Dr. Scott Petrie, they let me stay in the bunkhouse for a month after the school groups had finished using it. Then I got away by house-sitting for a family that went away on holidays in January, February and March of 2011. In October, November and December of 2012, I was able to stay in a respite house near Tillsonburg. And now my son has tried as best he can to make his 3-season trailer comfortable for me to sleep in, every night, for as long as I can take it. I do sleep soundly on the couch in that trailer but I have to return to the house, which has become a very expensive storage unit, to use the computer, the landline, a shower, the kitchen.

Van Bommel ignores constituen​ts concerns about wind turbines
By contrast, Ms. VanBommel has chosen to ignore and dismiss the serious health issues that industrial wind turbines present, and the problem will only grow as more projects come on-line (500+ wind turbines in her riding). 81 year old Stephana Johnston walked the entire 550m march to the MPP’s office and patiently worked her way through the crowd to confront Ms. VanBommel – all to no avail. Stephana, who has essentially abandoned her house in Clear Creek, returns there only in the daytime for 1 hour maximum. She is like everyone’s grandmother. It speaks volumes about this government that they do nothing for her, or the dozens of other people who are affected and have no voice – no representative for them – no advocate.

13 thoughts on “Stephana Johnston: Ontario wind resistance’s grandmother

  1. I had lunch with her the last day of the ERT that Esther and her dad did at the council chambers. A couple of days ago I came across a piece of paper with her name and phone number, and I wondered if she were still at that number, but it was late, so I put it off.
    Now it’s too late. But at least I got to know her a bit. There’s a Jewish idea that you live on through the memories that people have of you – so she’ll be with us for a while.

  2. My heart goes out to this wonderful person and to all of the people who have fought this corrupt industry

  3. Life Is A Lemon (And I Want My Money Back)
    Meatloaf – live in London, Ontario

    • * Meat Loaf

      Someone must have blessed us when he gave us those songs …

      “Rock ‘N’ Roll Dreams Come Through”
      Written by Jim Steinman
      Music Video featuring Angelina Jolie

  4. I had the pleasure of visiting Stephana at her home over a decade ago. She was so very proud of her well made plans to “not be a burden and age in place” in that beautiful home. The wind scam destroyed her dream! I will always envy her fortitude and tenacity.

  5. I remember visiting Stephana in her home along Lake Erie. She greeted me with such kindness and hospitality. She was so proud of her home, developed from years of careful thought and research into energy efficiency. It was such a crying shame that she could not live there for any extended period of time after the turbines went up. There should be a special place in hell for people like Mike Crawley who abandoned that woman without any recourse.

  6. I recently sent an e-mail to Stephana and wondered if she’d possibly changed her e-mail address since I hadn’t heard from her which has been unusual since we’ve corresponded many times before. Now, I guess, I know why! Stephana will be sorely missed. I spent many hours with her especially during the NextTerror ERT in Hagersville and grabbing a quick bite of lunch at the local Tim Hortons on a couple of occasions. We endeavoured to bolster each other’s spirits as we endured hours of endless arguments over many days and weeks to no avail. She didn’t deserve to spend her retirement years in such physical distress. If there is such a thing as “karma”, justice will be served… somehow!

  7. Stephana was a great lady who made a difference. May she rest in peace!

    She dared to ask questions and wanted answers.

  8. The fact that Stephana published the postal address of Shawn and Trish Drennan in one of her comments, so that all of us could join her and send them financial support after they were left with an unfair legal bill for the battle they so courageously fought in the courts, which should have ended with a human rights violation declaration, is part of her enormous legacy.

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