The Imaginary Waltz of Umbrella Man and the Mannequin
“In these, the dying days of Babylon…” – Utah Philips
by Harvey Wrightman
That’s how it felt in the Kinsnmen Hall Cayuga, sitting at the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) appeal of the Samsung wind project. About thirty residents came to watch the pitiful charade that the ERT appeals process has become. The change in tone at these hearings mirrors what has happened in the more recent kindergarten, story board wind company “open houses” – they are much grimmer and have a “get-it-over-with” feeling, the windies know that Big Brother will bring in the muscle to force this down the throats of rural Ontario.
You see it in the way Ministry of Environment lawyer Freddy refers to the post-turbine witnesses. If you thought that the MOE’s term “receptors” was bad, how would you like “so-called witnesses”. That she gets away with such degrading language speaks to the atmosphere in the room – the arrogant superiority. From the podium she turned to the audience to instruct that the 6-month time-table is sacrosanct, “…while we may not like it, we have to live with it.” She may as well have said, “Shove it.”
And, without any hint of irony, Freddy took us into a lecture about providing a “…fair, open and accessible process for all parties…” What a hoot!
It was pleasant to hear the rain on the roof, as it did lessen the irritating noise coming from Freddy who bobbed from left to right, turning her whole body, like a mannequin.
The hearing broke for lunch – everybody piled into a small-town-sized Tim Horton’s. Freddy, again showing her urban heritage, elbowed her way to the front of the line. It was a bit surreal sitting so near the “other side.” The rain got worse. It came time to go back and I saw the “umbrella man”, Samsung lead lawyer, Matthew Milne-Smith, a tall, thin geeky sort with a bobbing adam’s apple, escorting/ferrying lady after lady – Samsung had 8 people there- to the SUV, in the parking lot. Last one in and zoom they’re off. Meanwhile the mannequin, Freddy, waits at the door while the other MOE lawyer, Sarah, pulls the car up to the door. The mannequin hops in. Their car is a “hybrid” of course. I wonder if they are paid in the script of the regime – carbon credits ???
And so goes a day in modern day Ontario/Babylon.
There is freedom. The freedom to praise those who are in power.