Category Archives: Maria VanBommel
By Tara Jeffrey, Sarnia Observer
Maria Van Bommel is hoping to be a voice for rural Ontario now that she’s part of an advisory team to incoming premier Kathleen Wynne. “It’s not every day the premier calls you directly and asks for your participation,” said the former Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP. “I take it as a real opportunity to present rural Ontario to the premier and hope it will have some impact in bettering communications.”
Van Bommel was one of several key players named to a transition team that Wynne says will help shape her government. Others include Arnold Chan, vice president, Aboriginal Affairs and General Counsel, former Toronto mayor David Crombie, and Lyn McLeod, Ontario Liberal Party leader from 1992 to 1996.
“I’m in very impressive company here,” said Van Bommel, pointing to a series of upcoming meetings for the group, as Wynne prepares to open the Ontario legislature on Feb. 19. For years, the Middlesex County resident has operated the family farm with her husband. Van Bommel says her contacts within the farm community will help strengthen the relationship between the premier’s office and rural Ontario. Read article
By PAUL MORDEN, The Observer
October 18th 2011
Why did Ontario Liberals lose so many rural seats in the recent election? The answer may be blowing in the wind.
Opponents of wind farms key to the Liberals’ Green Energy policy have been celebrating the beating Premier Dalton McGuinty’s party took at the polls — including the loss of several rural MPPs, including Maria Van Bommel in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex and three sitting cabinet ministers elsewhere.
The Liberals came within a hair of another majority government, making the rural losses even more painful for the party.
Anti-turbine groups targeted Liberals in the vote in an effort to halt the growth of wind projects in rural communities.
“I think it was very clear how we feel about the turbines and the lack of local control over their placement and development,” said Marcelle Brooks, a turbine opponent in Lambton Shores.
“Whether or not this will influence Mr. McGuinty’s decisions, we have no idea.”
She added that wind companies “are proceeding full blast” with plans to set up large numbers of turbines in Lambton and neighbouring Middlesex County.
Nextera Energy is holding a public open house Nov. 10 in Ailsa Craig about its plans for three large projects, including the 96-turbine Jericho Wind Energy Centre in and around Lambton Shores.
Brooks’ group and another in Middlesex joined forces recently to form Middlesex-Lambton Wind Concerns.
“We are more determined than ever to continue the fight to protect our homes and our way of life,” Brooks said.
Esther Wrightman, a member of the group in Middlesex, said the Conservatives who gained rural seats at the expense of the Liberals have said “they’re going to really fight for us.”
But she’s worried wind projects already on the books in southwestern Ontario “are just going to steam roll ahead” anyway.
Anti-wind groups, and many municipalities, have complained that Ontario’s Green Energy Act took away local control over planning decisions on wind and solar projects.
Now, they’re waiting to see how the Liberal minority government responds to what happened in those rural ridings.
“They need to be engaging the rural community and listening to the rural community, on issue that are close to them,” said Steve Arnold, mayor of St. Clair Township and warden of Lambton County.
The Green Energy Act is one of those issues, he added.
Don McGugan, mayor of Brooke-Alvinston Township, said he supports renewable energy but believes the Green Energy Act needs changes — which could happen with a minority government at Queen’s Park
“I could see, perhaps, some compromises being made and maybe some of the planning will come back to the local municipalities,” McGugan said.
By PAUL MORDEN, The Observer
October 18th 2011
Opponents of industrial wind turbine farms in rural Ontario believe they sent a message to Premier Dalton McGuinty on election day.
Now, they’re waiting to see if he listened.
The Liberal leader came within a hair of returning to Queen’s Park with a third straight majority, but fell short thanks to the loss of several rural ridings in which there was vocal opposition to the wind farms promoted by Ontario’s Green Energy Act.
That legislation took away control municipal councils had over planning approvals for green energy projects as the province charged, full steam ahead with its plan to build Ontario wind and solar industry.
Grassroots opponents to industrial wind projects who watched massive turbines rise in farm fields around rural Ontario, and didn’t like what they saw, decided to flex their political muscles during the fall election.
They’ve been getting at least part of the credit for the Liberals loss of several rural seats. The list included the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex riding of Liberal backbencher Maria Van Bommel where McGuinty was greeted by sign-waiving wind protesters during a late election visit to Strathroy.
A look at the election map of Ontario following the recent vote is telling.
The rural ridings of southwestern Ontario are Conservative blue with the Liberals confined to a few urban outposts.
Conservative Leader Tim Hudak promised to tear up a multi-billion-dollar green energy deal the Liberals made with South Korea’s Samsung as part of the McGuinty government’s job-creation and economic renewal plan.
It was a message that appears to have earned Hudak votes in rural ridings, but didn’t make much of a dent in the Liberal’s support in Toronto and other urban areas where wind turbines aren’t appearing.
It remains to be seen if the Conservatives’ election gains will be enough to dent the Liberals green energy ambitions.
Some Lambton County mayors think the Liberal government’s need to attract other party support means there is at least a chance some control over green energy projects could return to municipalities.
When New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath visited Sarnia in July, she said her party voted in favour of the Green Energy Act, but added the Liberals made some decisions about how to implement it “we wouldn’t have made.”
She added, “We think the large energy projects in Ontario. . . should be publicly planned, publicly owned.”
As Ontario’s MPPs get back to work in the weeks and months ahead, and the political deals start being made, rural anti-wind forces will be watching to see if their opposition, and their votes, were loud enough to be heard.
Karen Howlett & Steve Ladurantaye
Dalton McGuinty made a brief stop at the Gardenia Restaurant in Strathroy the day before voters went to the polls.
The Liberal Leader was trying to preserve the seat held by Maria Van Bommel in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, a rural riding just west of London.
He was greeted last Wednesday afternoon by protesters, including one waving a sign reading, “Gadhafi, McGuinty: Dictators with Green Revolutions.” Local residents were unhappy about a number of issues, but close to the top of the list was the McGuinty government’s plan to erect industrial wind turbines in their community.
Ms. Van Bommel lost on Thursday evening, one of seven Liberal incumbents who went down to defeat in rural ridings where green energy and wind turbines were major issues. And they were not all backbenchers. Among the casualties was the agriculture minister (Carol Mitchell), the education minister (Leona Dombrowsky) and, most symbolically, the environment minister (John Wilkinson). The Progressive Conservatives won all seven of those seats.
Many factors were at play in these rural ridings during the campaign, but the one that cut across all regions was opposition to the Liberals’ plans to erect wind turbines. The Liberals, who fell just one seat short of winning a third majority, clearly got punished in rural Ontario over their drive to push renewable sources of energy – the centrepiece of their job-creation strategy.
The green-energy file will now be at the heart of Mr. McGuinty’s biggest challenge: shepherding his vision for transforming Ontario into a clean-energy powerhouse with a minority government for the next four years.
In a news conference on Friday, Mr. McGuinty ruled out negotiating with opposition leaders, saying his “major minority” gave him a strong mandate to pursue his agenda.
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak had vowed to scrap a multibillion-dollar contract at the centre of the McGuinty government’s green-energy plan and generous incentives for developers of wind and solar power. The controversial deal with South Korean industrial giant Samsung Group dominated the only televised leaders’ debate during the campaign.
Mr. Hudak has put Mr. McGuinty on notice that he will be on a short leash around the provincial legislature. Read the rest of this entry
Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, meanwhile, bucked its long traditional as an ideal provincial election bellwether. Over Ontario’s previous 39 elections, back to 1867, it elected a representative who was with the party that also won the election 33 times. Since 1929 its record has been 100% — until Thursday night.
Monte McNaughton of the PCs outdrew Liberal incumbent Maria Van Bommel by more than 4,500 votes.
Despite the Liberal victory, some of Dalton McGuinty’s top guns from the Southwestern region were blown away by anti-wind turbine activists in Thursday’s vote.
Carol Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, looked set to fall in Huron-Bruce to Tory challenger Lisa Thompson, who was ahead by more than 4,000 votes in late counting.
John Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment, was trailing by 600 votes to Randy Pettapiece, his Progressive Conservative challenger, in Perth-Wellington.
Both ministers were targeted by noisy activists opposed to mass turbine farms in the area. Several regional PCs candidates drew support by promising to oppose new developments. Read the rest of this entry
Newbury — In a race that was blown open, PC candidate Monte McNaughton snatched Lambton-Kent Middlesex away from Maria Van Bommel, defeating the two-term Liberal backbencher in a riding where controversial wind turbines overshadowed the campaign.
McNaughton said he heard at the doorstep wind turbines were a huge issue for the riding and that at Queen’s Park he’ll push to restore local control in decision-making.
“Dalton McGuinty is sitting in his office, telling people in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex where the turbines are going to go.”
The 34-year-old also said rural hospitals, small businesses and making life affordable for families in the riding were his top priorities.
Despite a last-minute visit by McGuinty, Van Bommel couldn’t overcome rural opposition to the Liberals’ Green Energy Act, a sore spot for rural voters who live in the shadow of the large wind turbines.
So heated was the issue that months before the election, protesters gathered outside Van Bommel’s Strathroy office. Wind Concerns Ontario, an anti-turbine group, also toured the province, denouncing the Liberals and the Green Energy Act. In Strathroy, Van Bommel thanked her supporters for what she called a challenging-but-wonderful eight years: “We fought hard and left no stone unturned. We have everything to be proud of in the battle that we fought.” Read the rest of this entry
The Progressive Conservatives fared better in the 10-riding London region than provincewide, picking up two vacant Liberal seats, snatching two more from the Liberals and taking down two cabinet ministers.
Thursday’s election also brought the return of NDP orange to London, with Teresa Armstrong picking off Liberal backbencher Khalil Ramal in London-Fanshawe for the party’s first London win since 1995.
Also in London, Health Minister Deb Matthews and Attorney- General Chris Bentley held onto their seats, London North Centre and London West.
But the Tories picked up Chatham-Kent-Essex and Elgin- Middlesex-London, where longtime Liberals bailed before the election, and held onto Sarnia- Lambton and Oxford.
Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell was unseated in Huron- Bruce as was Environment Minister John Wilkinson in Perth- Wellington after a dogfight with Conservative Randy Pettapiece, owner of a decorating business and former local politician.
Before the election, the Liberals held eight of the London region’s 10 seats, the Tories two.
After Thursday night, the scorecard was seven seats for the Tories, two for the Liberals and one for the NDP.
Picking up Lambton-Kent- Middlesex for the Conservatives was Newbury retailer and civic councillor Monte McNaughton on his second try, knocking off backbencher Liberal Maria Van Bommel. The Liberal had been tormented by the anti-turbine faction opposed to the Liberal government’s aggressive green energy policies.
As you can see in th photos, we came in mass, on short notice. What isn’t obvious from the pics is the noise we were making. Call it charity, I even coughed up a pair of ear plugs for one of the friendly police officers. This, in all its true meaning, was a whistle-stop.
some tweets from the Globe and Mail reporter:
Firefighters form wall protecting @Dalton_McGuinty from protestors at campaign stop in Strathroy.
“If you need us let us know,” firefighter says to OPP at @Dalton_McGuinty’s campaign event.
Nice. Real classy. Firefighters are a travelling road show (from Ottawa) for McGuinty, or apparently security guards when needed.
This protest is the result of a premier and MPP (VanBommel) who refused to listen to the concerns of rural Ontario about wind turbines. Refused.
Lambton Kent Middlesex Liberal MPP Maria VanBommel explains how running appliances non-stop (and completely ignoring conservation) can save you money with Dalton McGuinty’s new “Smart Meter”; tracking your hydro consumption. Uh, somebody tell her she just proved the system isn’t working!!
PAUL MORDEN The Observer
August 8, 2011
Lambton Shores council has joined the list of municipalities asking for a moratorium on new wind farms in Ontario until an independent study is commissioned to determine their impact on human health.
Council voted Monday in favour of resolutions from Lambton Shores Concerned Citizens, a group formed earlier this year in opposition to plans to substantially increase the number of wind turbines in the municipality.
“We’re pleased that we got the support,” said group member Mike Mahood, “and really pleased that the council members have informed themselves.”
Lambton Shore is home to the only 10 wind turbines in Lambton County but in July the province announced contracts for the Jericho Wind Energy Centre, a 150-turbine farm proposed for the Thedford area, and the 75 to 100-MW Cedar Point project Suncor wants to build in Lambton Shores and Plympton-Wyoming near Forest.
“At the very least,” Mahood said, “we hope that it slows the development of these things down and gives time for the community to develop it’s own plan, its own made-in-Lambton-Shores strategy to deal with so-called renewable energy.”
Municipal councils in neighbouring Plympton-Wyoming and Dawn-Euphemia Township have also passed resolutions calling for a provincial moratorium and independent health study. Read the rest of this entry
By Paul Morden, The Sarnia Observer 06-10-2011
The president of Wind Concerns Ontario says Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal Party are setting themselves up for an election defeat if they don’t start listening to wind farm opponents.
John Laforet brought his “Truth About Turbines” tour to Lambton Shores this week for a meeting at Bosanquet Central School, hosted by a group called Lambton Shores Concerned Citizens.
Laforet estimated the turnout at about 150 people who, he said, have the same concerns he’s hearing at other stops on the 36-community tour.
“They don’t like the process by which the decisions are being made and they don’t like how their concerns are being addressed by the government.”
Laforet said he told the audience in Lambton Shores about how to oppose industrial wind development, and he encouraged them to get involved in the Oct. 6 provincial election campaign.
“I think what we’re going to see is a lot of Liberal MPPs will be losing their seats . . . because communities can’t afford another four years of this government refusing to listen.”
Laforet is a former federal Liberal riding association president in Scarborough and once even worked for current Liberal Energy Minister Brad Duguid.
Laforet said he left the party when it passed its Green Energy Act and Premier Dalton McGuinty called opponents of wind farms in Scarborough “NIMBY’s.”
“I had to choose between my community and my political party,” Laforet said, “and I choose my community.”
Wind Concerns Ontario is a coalition of about 60 local organizations opposed to the province’s push to back industrial wind farms as part of its green energy plan.
They want the government to halt the building of any more wind farms and arrange for an independent study of their impact on human health.
The groups include one opposing a wind farm project in Dawn-Euphemia, as well as the recently formed group in Lambton Shores.
That community is home to the only 10 wind turbines currently operating in Lambton County, but hundreds more are on the drawing board.
“If Lambton Shores gets 273 structures that are 500 feet tall, this area would have more 50-storey structures than the City of Toronto,” Laforet said.
Industrial wind turbines don’t fit the lifestyle or existing land uses in rural areas, Laforet said. He added that noise from turbines cause health problems — a point disputed by the government and environmental groups who back its energy plan.
But, Laforet said he thinks the Liberals made a big mistake when it decided to get behind large wind farms, instead of concentrating on smaller individual home-sized green energy projects.
“We’re just one of the many jurisdictions that decided big and stupid was the way to go.”
Laforet said Wind Concerns Ontario is waiting to review all of the parties’ platforms before formally endorsing any of them, but he added, “We are pleased with what Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservatives are calling for.”
Laforet said that includes its support for a moratorium and health study, restoration of local control over the approving wind projects, and the ending of Ontario’s feed-in tariff program and its deal with Samsung.
Maria Van Bommel, the Liberal MPP in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, said it’s too early to say what issue will be at the top of voter’s minds in the fall, but added she feels good about the outlook for her reelection.
“Right now I wouldn’t want to put bets on what the issues are or aren’t.”
Van Bommel she has been talking with farmers in her riding interested in forming a co-op to develop wind projects, “and I also have constituents who have concerns.”
Van Bommel said she sees wind turbines as part of a renewable energy program that includes other approaches like solar projects and bio-gas.
“I see it, for a number of farmers, as another source of income for them,” she said.
By Stephanie Cattrysse, Watford Guide-Advocate
April 21st, 2011
Laura Wilde who lives on West Ipperwash Road in Kettle Point has been a resident of the area nearly her whole life. She loves the area is close to her siblings and children, all of whom live within a short distance from her house.
Another area resident “Gerry”, (his name was changed), bought a 72 acre farm just off of Proof Line in Lambton Shores with his wife and son in 2000; a place he and his wife hoped would be their retirement home years down the road.
Unfortunately these perfect strangers who live within the vicinity of the six wind turbines in Ravenswood and four Turbines in Lambton Shores, have one thing in common. They are deeply concerned about health effects caused by wind turbines. Wilde said her skepticism about turbines started before they were even built in her area.
“When the wind developers had that meeting years ago, my brother, my son and myself asked if the turbines had any effects on people or our children,” Wilde said. “They said nothing would happen and everything would be good.”
But it’s not.
Shadow flicker from the turbines in the morning reflects through their windows and into their homes. Wilde said it’s so bad she can’t be in the room when the flickering is happening. Her son who has two-year-old twins, is also concerned about whether or not this will have a negative impact on the twins.
And that is not all. Wilde said some nights she is unable to sleep because of the noise coming from the turbines.
While some nights are worse then others, she has a tall dresser leaning against the south-facing window in her bedroom to help muffle the noise. On worse nights she will throw a few pillows in between. The noise from the turbines is bothersome for Gerry as well. With one turbine less than one-kilometer away from his home and others just over that distance nearby, he said he hasn’t had a good nights sleep since the turbines started turning.
“I used to sleep like a baby, but not anymore,” he said. “At first I didn’t know if it was the turbines, but when I go to Sarnia the humming in my ears goes away.”
Gerry said the humming in his ears keeps him awake most of the night and is so exhausted at times cannot function throughout the day.
Fed up with feeling this way, he has decided to put his house on the market and hopes he can sell his home and forget all this has happened.
But Gerry is concerned about the next person to move into his home. He has written to the Minister of Environment and to the turbine companies. “All my complaints have been filed.”
Gerry believes that as more turbines are constructed and running, more complaints and health issues will arise. He is hoping his interview will open up the eyes of government as well as residents of municipalities of municipalities who are destined for wind turbines in the next couple of years such as other areas in Lambton Shores, Adelaide and Metcalfe Township
and the Township of Brooke Alvinston to name a few.
“I want proper setbacks from homes, if people will be affected. It’s too late for us, but I want to help any person who may be affected by it.”
In the silly world of Twitter, where you can only write 140 characters at a time, I had a ‘conversation’ with Maria VanBommel for the last week. Fortunately, I copied it before she deleted it today! I guess I’m black listed , or censored, or ignored…pick one.
At first, I guess she thought she would stick to the spin, with fancy links to pro-wind articles. Then I think she got a little ticked, and started writing personal replies, not really answers to my key questions (like why they won’t do a health study), but more desperate(?) replies.
Take a look at her last post, after all these pro-wind links she has forwarded on. At the protest VanBommel had said she has to take into account both sides of the issue. So when I asked why she doesn’t post any links about the other side, she wrote, “I will if you will”. Has she seriously forgotten that she is an MPP working for US, representing OUR concerns in legislature??? My reply: “Unfortunately for you, I’m not your employee/MPP.”
Here’s the tedious read (do a skim…you’ll get the gist pretty soon)
- MVanBommel Apr 4: ENVMIN John Wilkinson: NO scientific evidence that wind turbines harm people’s health. Superior Court upheld setback provisions. QP today.
- EstherWrightman: You are wrong, Maria. Why do you deny us a full epidemiological study on wind turbines? WHY?
- MVanBommel Apr 5: Wind energy = more investment, create jobs, revenue for municipalities, stabilize electricity prices, cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- EstherWrightman: you seem to miss that Wind Energy = More Victims
- MVanBommel Apr 5: Clean Energy Makes Ontario Business a Leader http://t.co/uH3PDpR
- MVanBommel Apr 6: “There is currently no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects”:Australia
- EstherWrightman : There is currently nobody in the Ont. Lib. party willing to conduct a full epidemiological study on the health effects of IWT’s
- MVanBommel Apr 6: More than 100,000 respiratory ailments 200 premature deaths/yr air pollution from coal. Wind energy, says the WHO, will benefit health.
- EstherWrightman: PROVE IT. Reference? Or is this more spin-lies? You were introduced to people suffering on Saturday from neg. health effects.
- EstherWrightman: Maria Van Bommel now seems to believe we don’t need a health study on IWT’s. Does she support the gov’t funded one inWaterloo? Or not?
- EstherWrightman: WHO guidelines require less than 35 dB for learning (Ref WHO, Noise and Health 1999.) -Adelaide school? Concentration at home?
- MVanBommel Apr 6: Interesting article: http://www.windsorstar.com/opinion/Anne+Jarvis+wind+power+bargain/4565990/story.html
- MVanBommel Apr 7: Wind power clean, renewable, no greenhouse gas emissions/waste products. 1 modern wind turbine saves 4k tonnes of CO2 emissions/yr.
- EstherWrightman: Wind turbines need massive amount of cement, made from-oil and gas, transported by oil & gas, plasticized out of oil and gas.
- EstherWrightman: wind turbines only last 15 years, if you are lucky.
- EstherWrightman: Clean? Magnets in the nacelles of IWT’s have some of the most toxic rare earth elements. Blades aren’t recyclable either. Read the rest of this entry