Monthly Archives: October 2011
Click to watch The Aftermath of wind turbines. If they let this happen in Hawaii, just guess what Ontario will look like.
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.
Form 8-K for QUANTUM FUEL SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGIES WORLDWIDE, INC. (9-Sep-2011)
Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement, Fin
Item 1.01. Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement
On August 24, 2011, Schneider Power Inc. (“SPI”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Registrant, entered into a purchase and sale agreement (the “Agreement”) with Green Breeze Energy Inc. (“Green Breeze Energy”) for the purchase by SPI of 100% of the shares of Zephyr Wind Farms Limited (“Zephyr”) for a purchase price of CDN $2,500,000 (the “Purchase Price”). Zephyr is the owner of a 10 MW wind power generation project located in Ontario, Canada, known as the Brooke-Alvinston Wind Project (the “Project”). Zephyr and Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (“Samsung”) are parties to a CDN $22.7 million construction loan credit facility (the “Samsung Financing”) which, subject to Samsung’s consent to the transaction, will remain in place after the closing of the transaction. The proceeds of the Samsung Financing are expected to finance 100% of the Project’s construction costs. Read the rest of this entry
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 PROVINCE: MCGUINTY FINISHES ONE SEAT SHORT OF HISTORIC THIRD MAJORITY, A FEAT NO ONTARIO PREMIER HAS PULLED OFF SINCE CONSERVATIVE LESLIE FROST IN 1959
That’s all that kept Premier Dalton McGuinty from winning an historic third straight Liberal majority last night.
The Liberal leader’s last chance might have come and gone in Perth-Wellington, where Tory newcomer Randy Pettapiece beat Liberal Environment Minister John Wilknson in a close race.
The loss was symbolic.
All across rural Ontario, voters angry at McGuinty’s green energy policy — which translated into wind turbines in their back yards — blew out the Liberals and ushered in the Conservatives.
“Look at the seats he’s lost in Ontario — it’s clear rural Ontario is rejecting his dictatorial rule through the Green Energy Act,” said John Laforet, president of Winds Concern Ontario.
The turbines also blew Liberal Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell out the door in Huron-Bruce.
“Wind turbine development has jumped into a paramount position,” said rookie Conservative candidate Lisa Thompson, who took down the two-term Liberal MPP.
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.
On short notice, 12 protestors (incl. 2 kids), with whistles, signs and loud voices, drowned out a handful of strange Liberal supporters in London on Sept 29th for McGuinty’s appearance at the Marconi Club.
So yeah, we were such a ‘threat’ they had at least 5 police cruisers come after we arrived, plus the miscellaneous security hanging around. Wish that kind of ‘protection’ was used to protect US when industrial wind turbines are rolled into rural Ontario, around our homes, farms, schools and businesses. Save the Country, STOP THE WIND!
And the quote that sums it all up: