Category Archives: Ethics

Enniskillen mayor skeptical of openness on Green Energy Act

Kevin MarriottManitoulin Expositor
During the Ontario Liberal leadership campaign, Kathleen Wynne promised to give municipalities across Ontario more say when it comes to wind farms, after the Green Energy Act of 2009 took that power completely away. To date my correspondence with the new premier leads me to believe that she is not planning to live up to that promise. It would seem that the common trend of making promises during campaigns and then reneging on those promises once in power is happening yet again.

On March 26 Lisa Thompson MPP (Huron-Bruce) introduced a private member’s bill called “Ensuring Affordable Energy Act” which would give municipalities like ours, and many others, democracy back where it belongs. The residents of many communities have been torn apart by whether or not to build wind turbines in their neighbourhoods. Whether or not you believe that wind turbines are the right answer to Ontario’s future energy needs, there are communities that are willing hosts and there are communities who are not.

There is much anticipation that on April 18, 2013, both Liberal and NDP members will support a return to democracy in Ontario’s rural areas by supporting this bill. With the political climate at Queen’s Park if these two parties do not support this bill, then a spring election would be more than welcome. This is not a bill that concerns whether or not Ontario should support green energy; it’s about having something very important and fundamental to Canadians restored and maintained, namely democracy.

I strongly suggest everyone to contact their MPP and ask them to support this very important piece of legislation.

Kevin Marriott
Mayor Township of Enniskillen

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NextEra’s Next Nest – near Parkhill

I spy with my little eye something that will NEVER AGAIN be removed by a wind developer in Ontario. An eagle nest. Over my dead body, NexTerror.

When the community labels Nextera “NexTerror” and “NextError”, it isn’t for just any old reason. Perhaps parody is ingrained in Canadians, and this is why Nextera has earned itself yet another new name: NESTerror. We watched the take down of the eagle’s nest in Haldimand, and literally vowed never again.

choppedSo this weekend some pictures of two bald eaglea and their nest were sent to me by a local resident. This nest is in the Nextera Bornish Wind Project (@ Kerwood Rd & Elginfield Rd), close to wind turbines (634m), and very close (187m) to the massive switchyard for the Bornish, Adelaide, Jericho and Cedar Point Wind Projects— a total of 221 turbines for Middlesex and Lambton counties. The Bornish and Adelaide projects are scheduled to be approved by the MOE this month.

The Haldimand nest destruction was not a ‘one-off’, I’m sure of that, even though Nextera rep Tom Bird told us, “I absolutely don’t want to do that again.” Not even a month after they took down the nest in Haldimand county, they were eying up one in Middlesex county.

Looking through Nextera’s website I came across these recent addendums from February, 2013:

Read the rest of this entry

Activist says she won’t cease and desist

we will not be silentBy Paul Morden, London Free Press
Middlesex County anti-wind turbine activist Esther Wrightman says she’s not giving in to a cease and desist warning from lawyers working for NextEra Energy Canada. A letter, dated March 20, was sent to Wrightman calling on her to remove YouTube videos and wind resistance website postings because of company logos altered to read “NEXTerror” and “Nextterror Bullies Canada Inc.”

“Our request is simply to not use the corporation’s registered, trademarked logo in a manner that is defamatory,” NextEra spokesperson Josie Hernandez said in an email. Hernandez said company officials attempted to contact Wrightman personally to resolve the issue before the letter from the lawyers was sent. Wrightman said phone calls where made to her home but she never spoke directly to those company representatives. “We aren’t trying to limit debate, which is clear from our letter, but we have rights in our logo that are entitled to protection under the law,” Hernandez said.

The letter from the lawyers to Wrightman mention in particular use of “NEXTerror” in a video shot in January as crews destroyed a bald eagle nest on the site of NextEra’s Summerhaven wind project in Haldimand. The tree holding the nest came down with the permission of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources. The letter from the lawyers asks Wrightman to remove that video – as well as a second one interviewing company officials about the nest – from YouTube by March 22. Read article

Anti-wind activist “won’t back down” as NextEra threatens legal action

IM000872.JPGHeather Wright, Sarnia Lambton Independent
Esther Wrightman says she’s not about to be silenced in her fight against wind turbines in her community. Wrightman, a member of Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group, recently received a Cease and Desist order from NextEra Energy after altering the company’s logo to make it read Next-terror and NextError on signs and videos.

“This use of the NextEra logo is unsanctioned, in violation of NextEra’s intellectual property rights and defamatory, especially in conjunction with the video makers’ disparaging comments about NextEra,” Awanish Sinha of McCarthy Tetrault law firm in Toronto writes to Wrightman. “While NextEra recognizes your right to object to its projects and to express your opinions regarding wind power and provincial policies regarding green energy, you do not have a right to utilize its name and logo in any manner or to defame the company.” Sinha writes company officials tried a half dozen times to talk to the activist by phone about their concerns, but weren’t able to reach her. When Wrightman added NextTerror Bullies Canada Inc. to a blog, Sinha says the company felt it had to take legal action. “The latest manipulation of NextEra’s logo has compelled NextEra to take this action and stop this escalating abuse.”

dsc03328The company told Wrightman to remove all uses of the alter logos on the Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group and Ontario Wind Resistance blogs. It also calls for two videos – one of company workers removing a bald eagle’s nest which was in the way of a new project in Haldimand County. Wrightman says that video and another of a company official telling protestors the Ministry of the Environment gave permission for the nest to be cut, have been viewed thousands of times and have shocked people. “I really believe it has more to do with them wanting the eagle nest video down,” she says. Wrightman believes the letter is simply a threat that the company uses with people who don’t agree with their projects. Read article

Nextera, Suncor – Answers needed to questions about OUR schools & YOUR wind turbines

Dear Nextera, Suncor, Media and School Board trustees,

I am quite upset to see incorrect and confusing numbers reported in the media as to how many and how close wind turbines are to be from the schools in Lambton County. It is not the media’s fault.

Nextera, Suncor: I have reviewed wind project noise documents for 4 years – I should be competent in it by now. But I find I am tearing my hair out reviewing the documents, trying to find the exact noise, and distances turbines are to the schools in your projects.

Currently, my frustration stems from:

  1. The Bosanquet elementary school does not even have a Receptor ID on the project draft map.
  2. The hundreds of receptor ID’s are not numerically ordered in the noise chart – and I honestly can’t even find the school ID (or in this case, it’s neighbour’s, because it doesn’t have an ID).
  3. At the wind developer meetings, the schools are not even identified on the large maps. Security was called over when I wrote “school” on the map location for others to be able to see. How’s THAT for informing the public?? No wonder the media doesn’t know the true numbers… Read the rest of this entry

“Cease & Desist” for NexTerror Energy? No thanks.

NexterrorBulliesMarch 22, 2013
Awanish Sinha, McCarthy Tetrault  LLP
PO Box 48, Suite 5300, Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower, Toronto, ON  M5K 1E6

Dear Mr. Sinha,
Re: CEASE & DESIST DEMAND ON BEHALF OF NEXTERA ENERGY CANADA, ULC (“NextEra”)

Thank you for the letter dated March 20, 2013 that was dropped between my doors the other day.

The reason I (and “we” the communities in rural Ontario) are referring to your client  Nextera as “Nexterror”, is that we feel it is “fair comment” considering this companies actions and behaviour in the past and present in our communities.

We believe that Nextera creates “errors” and “terrors” in our community, and that these facts are well known to the public and therefore these facts are notorious.

At the same time, we have published these facts on our website: Ontario Wind Resistance. They include:

Terror:
Eagle Nest/ Wildlife destruction

-The “First Video” clearly shows the destruction of an eagles nest.
-The “Second Video” shows Tom Bird of Nextera saying,The authorization we got from the ministry of natural resources was to destroy this nest”.

Clearly this is terrorizing the community when 18 men with chainsaws and bulldozers descend on, and proceed to cut down an active eagles nest. Even those in favour of turbines are horrified by this despicable action.

You have no right to ask that these movies be removed, and in fact you did not give a single reason as to why you thought the “Second Video” should be removed, as “Nexterror” does not appear on it anywhere. It seems that Nextera would just like to bury this incident and remove the evidence from Youtube.

Below are some of the numerous reports published on Nextera’s destruction of the eagle nest and other wildlife and their habitats:

Read the rest of this entry

Nexterror Energy sent me a ‘cease and desist demand’. What would you do?

Nextera-Nexterror letter from lawyer Nextera-Nexterror letter from lawyer 001

“Offending” material:
Video: Wind turbine company Nextera & MNR destroy Bald Eagle Nest & Habitat in Haldimand Cty, ON
Video: Nextera Energy in damage control mode on Eagle Nest removal

NexterrorBulliesnexterror

Suncor risks reputation in fight for green

suncorChris Cooke, First Monday
Suncor Energy can tell us “renewable is part of its integrated energy strategy”. But the real strategy is to make money. And there is a lot of green in green. And that’s the only reason the energy giant is picking a fight with the residents and municipality of Plympton Wyoming.

Michael Southern, Suncor’s communications manager and general talking head can push the right buttons and say what seem like the right words, but the reality is it’s all about the money. When Suncor can sell wind power into the Ontario grid at twenty times coal – fired energy you know company executives are doing a happy dance all the way to the bank.

How lucrative is it? Lucrative enough that Suncor is prepared to put its local reputation at risk. Lucrative enough that the company is prepared to put giant wind turbines within sight of million dollar homes along Lake Huron. And Mr. Talking Head can tell those of us interested enough to ask a few questions that its all about renewable energy, being green and dutifully following the Green Energy Act. However, the reality is it is all about the money. Read article

Hmm…OPA says they don’t have a map of the wind projects either… the search continues

question-markThe OPA does not currently have a map of all OPA contracted wind facilities.

There is a map of renewable generation on the Ministry of Energy’s website, however, it does not list all OPA contracted facilities, as well, it lists certain projects that are not contracted by the OPA. This is not an OPA map so we cannot verify it’s accuracy.

http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/ontarios-electricity-system/new-energy-projects/

Best regards,
The microFIT Team

MOE Field Officer: “We were told no.”

Ontario Ministry of Environment Officer Martin McConnochie November 29, 2012 at the home of a person affected by wind turbines. He explains why he could not measure the noise of the wind turbines on a particularly windy/noisy night. More evidence of corruption in this wind energy scandal.

Greta Thompson writes to Premier, politicians

greta thompsonBy Bob Boughner, Chatham Daily News
[Excerpt] “I know how many good people there are in our rural farm communities and I believe farmers do care about their neighbours,” she said. ‘We can do better together.” Thompson said she considered selling her home in south Chatham-Kent because of nearby turbines but has been told she would have to list it for 50 to 55% of her investment or 30 to 40% of replacement value.

Thompson has also asked the Power Authority and Ministry of Environment to not allow the two closet turbines to her home to be activated until there is proof they won’t interfere with her husband’s ICD heart implant and until her other concerns have been satisfactorily addressed and resolved.

Thompson said she is opposed to any cash payments to municipalities, local residents and community trust funds by wind turbine companies. “If they believe something has to be done to address identified or perceived adverse impacts and feel some obligation to do something, any money made available should be used for physical protection and enhancement of the rural environment and rural family heritage,” she said. Read article

Rural municipalities fight wind farms with high fees

NO NexteraJohn Spears, Toronto Star
Two rural Ontario municipalities are putting expensive new hurdles in front of wind farms in their communities. Councils in Bluewater, on the Lake Huron shoreline, and West Grey, about 165 kilometres northwest of Toronto, have passed bylaws squeezing more money from prospective wind developments.

Politicians say they’re trying to protect the interests of their communities, where many people greet large-scale wind farms with apprehension: West Grey, for example, has formally declared itself an “unwilling host” for big wind farms. But the wind company in both cases, NextEra Energy Canada, isn’t going quietly.

It has dispatched lawyers from Torys LLP to both councils to argue that the bylaws won’t hold up under Ontario law. “We believe the law is on our side,” said NextEra spokesman Steve Stengel in an interview from the company’s head office in Florida. In a letter from Torys to the Bluewater council, the company argues that the new rules “would unlawfully impose financial obligations on NextEra.” Read article

MNR: Wind Turbines kill raptors… So, easy fix: chop down their nests

“However, biologists are also concerned that leaving the nest in this location may have led to adult eagles being killed or injured due to the proximity of the nest to wind turbines.”

picture-003Letter from Minister of Natural Resources:
Thank you for your e-mail to my predecessor the Honourable Michael Gravelle about the removal of the bald eagles’ nest in Haldimand County.  I appreciate that you took the time to share your views, and I am pleased to respond.

Expanding clean and renewable sources of energy is key to the government’s plan to phase out coal-fired generation, mitigate climate change, create green jobs and support technological innovation in renewable energy.

The Summerhaven Wind Energy Centre, located in Haldimand County, is expected to produce enough energy for approximately 32,000 homes in Ontario.  This project is contributing to the development of clean renewable sources of energy so Ontarians will have a sustainable supply of power now and in the future.

This project has been awarded a Feed-in-Tariff contract by the Ontario Power Authority.  It has also received the Renewable Energy Approval from the Ministry of the Environment and an approved Natural Heritage Assessment (NHA) from the Ministry of Natural Resources.  No Significant Wildlife Habitat was identified at this location during the preparation of the NHA. Read the rest of this entry

Bluewater passes $434,000 wind turbine building permit fee

Tyson Dyck, legal counsel for NextEra:“You may also know that under Ontario law there is potential liability, not only for municipalities, but also for individual municipal officials,” Dyck continued, “where there are actions taken that result in damages based on unlawful legal actions, such as the passage of a bylaw.”

NexterrorBulliesMac Christie, Times-Advocate Staff
VARNA – The Municipality of Bluewater has passed high building permit fees for industrial wind turbines in the municipality, but a legal battle may be looming. Council passed fees which will see developers pay $434,000 per turbine, as part of an updated bylaw March 4 under the direction of Toronto-based lawyer Eric K. Gillespie, whose legal firm drafted the bylaw. The updated fees will charge a $14,000 base permit fee, a $220,000 security per turbine for decommissioning, a $100,000 fee per turbine for matters related to health and property devaluation and a $100,000 fee per turbine for potential legal matters arising as a result of the turbines.

Gillespie told council in his view the bylaw does not conflict with existing legislation, such as the Green Energy Act. “You may . . . hear a point of view that says there may be issues around whether this bylaw conflicts in any way with legislation,” Gillespie said. “It’s our respectful view it does not.” Gillespie noted his firm looked at the bylaw in a practical sense, of how it would be applied in the real world and in the face of a legal challenge. “Thought has gone into how these amounts should be applied and what seems to be reasonable and something that the municipality can stand behind,” Gillespie said. “That is the basis for the recommendation.” He noted that’s why the firm recommended the originally proposed $25,000 per turbine, per year economic development fee be removed from the bylaw and instead levied as a development charge. Based on the expected 20-year lifespan, the fee worked out to roughly $500,000 per turbine. Read article

Enniskillen Township is my Home!!

IMG_6049Tiffany Smale, London Free Press
Enniskillen Township is my home. My family is from Enniskillen Township. It’s where my husband and I grew up and where we had planned on building our home and raising our family. When my father in law was approached about the wind leases, we became concerned about what this would mean for our future home. We approached neighbours and were soon told that there was interest in our area and that some neighbours were considering signing leases for the potential revenue. We began researching and the more we read, the more we worried about possible impacts on our health, our pets and our property value.

Our family decided that we needed to make sure that our friends and neighbours had all the information before they signed. We began planning an Awareness Meeting with the hopes that our neighbours could hear first hand from those who already have wind projects in their communities. Our awareness meeting was held in Oil Springs on March 7th and it was a full house. There were four speakers who addressed various concerns and issues. It was a woman named Monica Elmes who resonated with me. Her community has been dealing with wind turbines for several years and it has effected their homes and health. Hearing her stories of how neighbours’ homes are no longer a safe place and of people being forced to spend time away from home in order to have peace shook me. As I looked around the room at so many familiar faces, I began to imagine what this would do to our community. Read article

Send us to the ERT? Better to send us straight to the gallows.

Copy of goderich2by Harvey Wrightman
I was at the Goderich Court on Friday to hear more legal arguments about a wind project. Shawn and Trish Drennan are opposing the “K-2” wind project, a massive 142 turbine project which will cover most of Ashfield/Colborne/Wawanosh Township. At the noon recess Shawn asked me, “How does this court hearing compare to an ERT hearing?”. Well, let’s see – the motion to strike the Drennan family’s application for an injunction on the construction of the Pattern/Samsung K-2 wind project – that sentence alone illustrates how convoluted this whole wind business has become, so horribly twisted that the Drennan’s have sought to cut through it all  with a plea for relief to the Court.

The Crown and K-2 insist that there is an overall “public interest/benefit” in constructing wind energy projects. Mr. Bredt, lawyer for K-2 also submitted that “…one wouldn’t consult with the public if one wasn’t concerned about the impacts…,” he said it with the same leery smirk that I had so often seen on the  $500/hour lawyers engaged by companies for the ERT appeals.  Remarkable! This wonderful Renewable Energy Application (REA) process was so lovingly crafted to care for and protect the “receptors” (persons).  So exceptionally nurturing is this process and so intent is the government on rigorously assessing the quality of service, that we now have the attention of 2 sets (both federal and provincial) of academic/engineering/medical professionals who will “study” subsets of the subject “receptor populations” to better define the impacts on “receptors” – on a gross, averaged level, not individual specific. In the court room I’m sitting beside a person/receptor forced to move from a house surrounded by turbines, who has heard this BS far too many times.  I’m always amazed at the ability of people affected to not give in, but to continue to resist in the way they are capable of. Rural citizens are in a battle with an administrative structure gone hay-wire. Read the rest of this entry

K2 Wind project subject of court fight

GoderichPaul Cluff, London Free Press
GODERICH – Shawn and Trish Drennan got some vocal support before heading into the Huron County Courthouse for another round of a legal battle against a proposed wind farm in their home community. About 75 protestors gathered outside the Huron County Courthouse early Friday to voice their opposition to wind turbines. The Drennans are fighting the proposed K2 Wind project, which could see upwards of 140 turbines erected in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Township. It’s a provincewide issue.

“It is really important that were are here today, said Lorrie Gillis, of Flesherton, in Grey County. “There are 91 communities now who are saying no to turbines. But the new Wynne government seems determined to carry on with this. We use every means possible to fight this.”

Stan Franjkovic said the Bornish project near his home in Parkhill has raised big concerns for community members, including health issues and declining property values. Franjkovic, a realtor for 25 years, is angry with the Liberal government. Franjkovic said he left communism behind in the former Yugoslavia only to “find it again” in Canada. Read article

Dr. Arlene King(pin)

ArleneKingPin

NextEra threatens legal action against Bluewater Township

nexterrorBy Mac Christie, Times-Advocate Staff
[excerpt] VARNA – NextEra Energy, the developer responsible for the Goshen and Bluewater wind projects, which propose 52 turbines for the municipality between the two, also addressed council at its Feb. 19 meeting. Nicole Geneau, the project director for the Bluewater and Goshen projects, updated council on where the projects stand.

She noted the company expects to hear back from the government about the Bluewater project in mid-March. “We would anticipate starting construction, as I’ve always maintained, in the middle of this year, so June of 2013,” she said. “We would be fully operational by the end of this calendar year.”

NextEra’s legal counsel John Terry, with the law firm Torys in Toronto, spoke to council about the bylaw. He expressed concern with the bylaw, noting NextEra is making serious investments with regard to the project. “There are certain limitations as to what municipalities can do under the provisions of the Green Energy Act,” Terry said. “Council has to be very careful about staying within what it’s legally empowered to do. “I must say, when you look at the numbers involved . . . I am concerned that once we look at it that we may find that some of the proposals here are going beyond what municipalities can do.” He added there may be similar concerns regarding the unreleased road use agreement.

Terry added NextEra does have certain legal rights that they are willing to pursue. “If it becomes necessary to take steps in court in regard to bylaws that are passed or potentially to have to seek damages, if damages are involved, then NextEra will have no choice but to follow those routes,” he said. “There are very serious legal issues at stake here.” Read article

Protest in Goderich March 1st – Arlene King: DO YOUR JOB!!!

Goderich Protest KingDate: Friday, March 1
Time:
8:30 AM
Place: Goderich Square, Goderich MAP

Bring signs to picket and to display on your vehicle, voices, friends, neighbours – you know the drill (-;

Court Proceedings begin at 9:30, but there is limited space inside. Please plan to continue picketing outside the courthouse while proceedings are going on.

We are asking as many people as possible to show up in Goderich. The motion in court was brought by HMQ and K2 to dismiss the Drennan case concerning the injunction stopping the Ministry of the Environment giving K2 a REA (Renewable Energy Approval) for approximately 138 turbines (270MW).

Wind Turbines and Us

Turbines and Us

Suncor taking Plympton Wyoming to court over turbine setbacks

suncor CedarPoint_WebMap3_ProjectLocation_20130127Heather Wright, Sarnia Lambton Independent
The wind war in Plympton-Wyoming is headed to court. And Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper says his municipality will fight to protect its residents against the potential health effects of wind turbines on its residents.

Suncor Energy has a contract with the provincial government for a 100 megawatt, 46 turbine project in Plympton-Wyoming and Lambton Shores. About 28 of those turbines will go in Plympton-Wyoming in the Camlachie area. The municipality has taken an aggressive stand against the project putting in tough local regulations.

Thursday, Suncor Energy Products served the township with notice it’s challenging the municipality’s bylaws which require turbines to be two kilometers from homes, a $200,000 deposit for decommissioning and its building permit fees of $10,000. A court date has not been set yet, but Mayor Lonny Napper the township is hiring a lawyer to defend its bylaws. “We feel we have a strong case here,” says Napper. “It is our mandate under the Municipal Act to protect our people and that’s what we’re going to do.

“We’re not against wind turbines; we’re in this strictly for the health and safety of our people.” Read article

Conservation Authority’s wind energy lease “a messy web” to wind activists

ABCAHeather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independent
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority is talking to lawyers about a lease it holds with NextEra Energy on a piece of land in the Municipality of Bluewater.

Tom Proutt, general manager of the authority, confirms it was deeded the land from an estate over four years ago, long before wind projects became hugely controversial.

The authority is already under fire from wind groups because its foundation accepted a donation from NextEra Energy for a golf tournament in Exeter.  The conservation authority has to approve NextEra’s massive wind projects in Lambton Shores and in Bluewater and South Huron. Officials say they can only turn down the project for limited reasons including if it could cause flood damage, erosion or was in a dynamic beach area.

Proutt confirmed “the (land lease) contract we inherited had funds attached to it.” He wouldn’t say how much money is generated from the lease.  But the general manager adds “there will not be a tower on the property.

“We were asked by some individuals for copies of the agreement and that we not accept funding from wind energy companies; our board is sorting through all that,” he added.

Proutt says lawyers are currently looking into the contract and its implications.

Esther Wrightman of Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns is not surprised the conservation authority would have been given land with a wind lease on it “considering the number of leases out there” – especially four years ago when there was little concern about the projects.

But several sources say the authority not only inherited the lease, but renewed it recently. Proutt would not speak to the allegation, saying lawyers are looking into the lease. Read the rest of this entry

MPAC looking at effects of wind turbines on assessment

Aaron Van Ooteghen

Heather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independent
A  study which will show whether the value of the property around industrial wind turbines has changed is just about complete. Officials from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation talked to Lambton County Councilors about how the wind energy projects are assessed for tax purposes and what affect they have on surrounding property owners.

Officials say privately owned turbines and those owned by non-profit organizations aren’t subject to taxes but industrial turbines in commercial projects are. A 1.5 megawatt turbine – typical of the industrial projects – is valued at $60,000.That fact didn’t sit well with county councilors. “How did someone come up with $40,000 on a structure that is worth $6 million,” says Brooke Alvinston Mayor Don McGugan.

St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold says the artificially low assessment means lower tax revenue for the municipality estimating a turbine would generate $500 to $1,000 in taxes. “That’s not a lot of dollars for the local municipalities; that’s what has driven a lot of municipalities to put extra costs onto the projects.” Arnold says municipalities were led to believe it would up to $10,000 per turbine. “There is a lot of miscommunication.” Read article

Rural issues go beyond agriculture

watford protest2Jim Merriam, Chatham Daily News
Would it be Premier-Agriculture Minister Kathleen Wynne? Or does Agriculture Minister-Premier Kathleen Wynne sound better? No matter how you slice them, it is difficult to make the two titles work together. But how you say them is but a tiny problem in comparison to how you combine the two jobs and do them both well.

Wynne mentioned after she won the Liberal leadership she would serve a term as agriculture minister. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Under Premier Dalton McGuinty, agriculture was no more than an afterthought. Time and again the policies of the ag ministry worked against, instead of for, farmers.

On one hand, the ministry hit small abattoirs in the province with such burdensome and often ridiculous regulations that many closed. At the same time, the government was promoting local food — you know, eat food produced within 100 kilometres of home to help local farmers. With no abattoir within 300 km, that becomes pretty difficult.

But those are only part of the concerns. The full name of the ministry is the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs or OMAFRA. As much as agriculture and food production are in serious need of attention, there are major issues under the broader “rural” heading.

Main among these is the placement of wind turbines, an issue that has torn communities, rural churches and even families apart. In addition, the government has trampled the democratic rights of rural residents in its attempts to kiss up to overseas corporations that bring us the giant wind turbines. Read article

Wynne isn’t fooling rural residents

rural ontarioBy Christina Blizzard, London Free Press
Some of Kathleen Wynne’s best friends are farmers. Seriously. Don’t think of her as the premier-designate. Think of her as city slicker turned agriculture minister. In Toronto, she’s the cool downtown gay negotiator. In the country, she’s the Wellington boot-wearing, down-to-earth, carrot-packing agriculture minister.

Heck, she probably calls square-dancing in her spare time. Wynne hauled reporters to Gwillimdale Farms in Bradford to tell us how much she likes farming and how her dad used to go to a farm every summer and how she still knows people who are farmers. She likes them. She really likes them.

City slickers call it bafflegab. Farmers call it horse manure. Or words to that effect. Either way, it’s going to take a lot more than a photo-op with tractors for Wynne to undo the damage the Liberals have done to rural Ontario. “I’m very serious about this,” she told reporters. “I’ve made it my business to get to understand what goes on in rural Ontario and in the agriculture community.”

Oh, please. The Grits have destroyed a way of life. The countryside has been blighted with ugly wind turbines that have not just destroyed the landscape, but are also part of the Green Energy Act that’s pushed up the price of electricity to astronomical levels and thereby pushed up the cost of farming. Read article

Opponents say wind company donations to conservation authority “a violation of public trust”

Turbines: Killer of BirdsHeather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independent
A donation to a conservation authority by one of the wind energy companies planning a massive project in the Grand Bend area is “a violation of public trust” according to anti-wind activist. And officials with the conservation authority which accepted it say it may be time to create a sponsorship policy.

For the past six years, the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority has held a golf tournament to raise money to maintain trails in a memorial park in Exeter. Last year, NextEra Energy was one of sponsors of the event. In an interview with QMI Agency, NextEra officials say they have a long history of backing community initiatives and they make the contributions “because it is the right thing to do.”

But the sponsorship drawn the ire of anti-wind activists who say the conservation authority has to approve the projects and should not be accepting money from the companies.

Marcelle Brooks of the Middlesex Lambton Wind Concern isn’t surprised NextEra is passing out cash in the community. “They are specifically aligning themselves with community and environmental organizations in order to appear sensitive,” she says. “Fortunately, residents know all about NextEra and that they are neither environmentally sensitive nor sensitive to the needs of the community.

“It is an absolute conflict of interest to accept any money from a company exploiting its land holdings…NextEra needs to get across the Ausable River (which is under the jurisdiction of the conservation authority). It is a violation of a public trust.” Read article

Beware of big wind’s big gifts, foes say

arms laength money shakeBy John Miner, The London Free Press
Green energy companies, facing hostile and persistent rural Ontario opposition to their plans for massive wind farms, have begun backing everything from community golf tournaments to mental health centres.

Renewable energy giant NextEra Energy Canada says it’s just trying to be a good corporate citizen.

Anti-industrial wind turbine activist Esther Wrightman says it is more like deep pockets trying to buy community support.

K2 Wind Ontario — a limited partnership of Capital Power, Samsung, and Pattern Renewable that’s developing what will be Ontario’s largest wind farm near Goderich — has donated to more than a dozen community groups, including agricultural societies, minor hockey teams, a tractor-pull competition and Goderich and District Chamber of Commerce.

Last week, NextEra, which has wind farms in the approval process in Middlesex, Lambton and Huron counties, announced it is committing $1.1 million to help as many as 400 First Nation, Inuit and Metis youth across Canada to attend colleges and universities.

The money will be awarded annually as bursaries to the students seeking education in engineering, science, commerce, business and renewable energy.

Set up to run for 20 years — the projected lifespan of a wind farm — the bursary program is being managed in partnership with Indspire, the former National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Read the rest of this entry

Former Liberal (Pro-turbine) MPP Maria Van Bommel to provide “rural insight”…ahem…

VanBommelBothSidesBy 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

Wind turbines: that rural Ontario “thing”

IMG_0510Dear Ms. Wynne,

Now that we have gotten this “Toronto thing” out of the way; let’s get this rural Ontario “thing” – wind turbines – out of the way. We want a moratorium and answers to our questions as to why so many people are being adversely affected. We will not accept replies that are condescending and dismissive.

Dr. Michael Nissenbaum, one of the authors of “Effects Of Industrial Wind Turbine Noise On Sleep And Health ,2012” – theMars Hill epidemiological study, says it best:

“If someone came into a doctor’s office and said they have chest pain and the physician said ‘It’s all in your head,’ without investigating, that would be the height of malpractice. It’s the same thing if patients are complaining of sleep disturbances and other ill effects, and off the top of your head you claim they’re making it up and it’s about the way the turbines look, especially when there’s a known, plausible mechanism for why people could be affected. There’s nothing magical about the effect that people are sleeping poorly due to the noise. There’s nothing difficult to understand or fantastical. Nothing stretches your belief.”

This whole issue has always been about ethics and what the application of the practical limits are of harm – i.e., what you can reasonably accept in the way of harm of the rural population.

I would hope that instead you will want to know why it is, despite the all the excuses of the wind industry and the MOE, that people still are being affected? Why are there increasing reports of vertigo and nausea with the latest projects?

The first step to getting those answers is a moratorium on construction of projects. That would be a real show of understanding and respect for rural Ontario.

And, instead of becoming the Minister of Agriculture, you should create and head a new Ministry, “The Ministry of Ethics” to oversee the other ministries.

We need a Minister to protect us from the Ministers.

Sincerely,

Harvey Wrightman
Adelaide/Metcalfe Twp