Dalton McGuinty defends wind development
Randy Richmond, London Free Press
As dozens of anti-wind turbine protesters marched outside, Premier Dalton McGuinty reiterated in London his government’s commitment to the controversial plan to dot Ontario’s landscape with the turbines.
“I want to convey I respect the right of these individuals to express their concerns,” McGuinty said Friday. “We are always careful to listen to what they have to say.”
But health studies and property assessment studies show ill effects to neither people or property because of turbines, he said.
“One of the most common refrains that I received from the medical community during my 22 years in politics . . . (is) when are you going to shut down coal, it’s making our kids sick,” he said.
“So we’re making a choice. We think it’s a healthy choice.”
McGuinty, who three weeks ago announced plans to step down as premier, spoke to about 250 nurse practitioners at a conference at the London Convention Centre. Later, he met with the media.
The nine-year premier suspended the legislature three weeks ago and announced plans to step down after his Liberal party chooses a replacement in late January.
Earlier Friday, Municipal Affairs Minister Kathleen Wynne quit the cabinet to enter the Liberal leadership race, her candidacy expected to be announced Monday.
Asked if he was surprised only one Liberal has forward to vie for the job, McGuinty noted he was one of the last to join the race when he won the leadership in 1996.
“It’s early days yet. I know we are going to have a hotly-contested race,” he said.
He also continued to deflect criticism against his decision to prorogue the legislature, saying little work was being accomplished because of the political rancour.
“We have an opportunity to cool down and when we return to the House, we’ll be engaged in the introduction of more light and the production of a little less heat.”
McGuinty is trying to negotiate wage freezes with the province’s public sector workers, a feat he said could not be accomplished while the legislature was sitting.