This gallery contains 46 photos.
Category Archives: Dalton McGuinty
A most interesting letter of legal opinion written on Nov. 20, 2012, by former Supreme Court Justice, Ian Binnie, popped up with the latest regurgitation of Gas Plant e-mails. Justice Binnie replies to David Livingston, McGuinty’s former chief of staff asked about the possibility of suing opposition members citing outrageous allegations made by PC leader Tim Hudak and MPP Todd Smith in Question Period in October of 2012.
Hmmm this sounds familiar – like The Nexterror SLAPP lawsuit against Esther Wrightman where she is accused of unfairly competing with NextEra by referring to the company as Nexterror. McGuinty got good advice and, unlike Nexterror, he followed that advice. The letter of opinion is a reality lecture wherein Justice Binnie, with rather dry humour, paints out the possible scenarios and why for Dalton, this notion of suing his enemies is not a good notion at all.
Justice Binnie begins, “Many of the allegations…are in our view clearly defamatory…the law provides a low threshold. It is protective of reputations.” That sounds promising. He further states, “Mr. Hudak’s statement is also defamatory”
Hudak had said: “Not only did Dalton McGuinty misuse a billion dollars of taxpayer’s money, he tried to paper over it, cover it up (and) keep the details from the public.” Remember, this was written on Nov.29, 2012. As it turns out, what Hudak said isn’t too far off the mark. Read the rest of this entry
London Free Press
“Pay attention. We vote.” That’s the overriding message The Free Press heard during a 600-km road trip through Southwestern Ontario’s heartland as Ontario Liberals get set to choose a new leader and premier this weekend.
The 10-riding region is largely an ocean of Tory blue, with a two-seat Liberal island. Little wonder some residents feel they’re afterthoughts to Queen’s Park policies on wind turbines, education, job creation and other issues.
We hit the road with the question: If you had one message for Ontario’s new leader, what would it be? Here are some of their answers.
PARTY LEANINGS: Strong Liberal loyalties, even against a Tory tide, but voted Conservative last time.
ISSUES: Turbine towers, farming are rural hot buttons, with boom-and-bust manufacturing sector underpinning the urban economy.
Wayne Glassford, Muirkirk- A power struggle — its source, availability and cost — is frustrating Glassford in his plans to add a dryer and storage facility to his corn-growing operation. A line of turbines starts just south of the Agris co-op where he’s parked himself to check out grain trends, but somehow it’s still too expensive to get sufficient, reliable power to his farm a few kilometres north. “Energy is what this all revolves around. How to generate it, how to distribute it and how to make sure we make best use of it. We need equitable distribution of energy within the province so that all people have access to it, and access to it within a reasonable price level.”
PARTY LEANINGS: Has a Conservative MPP now but the riding has been known to vote against the provincial tide.
ISSUES: Announced closings of Sarnia jail, Hiawatha Horse Park, coal-fired generation plant. Natural gas power plant to be built; ethanol, solar, wind economies growing.
Jean-Guy LePage, Wyoming – Wind turbines are the big issue, with hundreds either planned or built within half-hour drive of his home. “I don’t think it’s working, the windmills. I think it’s bad for the health. It devalues your property.”
PARTY LEANINGS: Conservative now, but historical voting preferences all over the map.
ISSUES: With no community populations larger than 14,000, this is one of the largest ridings in region. Wind turbines, farm policy and education dominate political landscape.
Christopher Thorne, Kerwood – He’s baking tea biscuits for his two children as they return early from school. His daughter, having had to forgo her favourite school sports, is worried about the fate of her Grade 8 graduation party and school trip. Meanwhile, Thorne’s anxiety grows about a wind turbine that will soon sprout in the cornfield behind their country kitchen. To the soft-spoken Thorne, both issues have a common theme: his children. “This is my backyard and we bought this house to bring our kids up in a safe area.” McGuinty forced turbines on rural residents and will leave before he sees their impact; he imposed a teacher contract and then left parents, kids and teachers to sort it all out. “I think he came in and made a mess and then walked away with his tail between his legs.”
Phil Patterson, Strathroy – Gardenia Restaurant is the unofficial gathering spot for town pundits and local and visiting politicians. Patterson, the cook here, rarely gets to speak his mind but he wonders why none of the politicians seem to bring spending under control. “The onus is on the people to bail out (politicians’) bad decisions.” He’s annoyed that wind turbines have been forced upon surrounding communities despite neighbours’ objections.
PARTY LEANINGS: There have only been two elections since the riding was founded in 2003. It’s Conservative now, but the first election went Liberal.
ISSUES: St. Marys, Stratford, Minto and Mapleton all fall within Perth–Wellington’s boundaries. The towns are full of independent businesses, and soaring hydro expenses have put an extra strain on small business owners.
Ron Cottrell, St. Marys – Cottrell has chocolate on his apron, which is just one of the perils of owning The Chocolate Factory. But making the sweets requires more than getting your hands dirty — it also means using a fair bit of electricity. “We’ve noticed a sizable increase in our hydro bills,” Cottrell says. He says small-town businesses already fight to keep customers from heading into nearby cities and rising expenses are an added strain. He hopes a new premier could bring relief from the rising costs. “Take another look at how much the whole green energy thing is going to be costing consumers and business people.”
PARTY LEANINGS: A Conservative win in 2011 turned the tide after two Liberal victories, but Huron-Bruce was blue in the late 90s, too.
ISSUES: Wind farms have been sprouting up across Southwestern Ontario, and Huron–Bruce is no different. The turbines are championed for their clean energy but have caused debate as many worry about their effects on property values, health and scenery.
Steve Olley, Zurich – Huron–Bruce envelops kilometres of Lake Huron’s scenic shores, but the beautiful horizon might soon be dotted with energy-producing turbines. “Many of the local people think that it’s going to completely destroy the beauty of our area,” says Olley. “I would say the population is pretty split as to if this is a good thing or not.” While he worries the wind farms could wreck the area’s natural beauty, he recognizes the importance of green energy. He says he hopes a new premier will still put up new turbines — just somewhere else. “Find areas that maybe not so many people live in, you know? Not so many people would be affected by what you’re going to do.” Read article
New scientific study links wind turbines to health hazards
By Lorrie Goldstein , Toronto Sun
One of the worst things the Dalton McGuinty government did in its disastrous dash into green energy was to ride roughshod over the health complaints of rural Ontarians regarding industrial wind turbines.
Basically McGuinty dismissed them as NIMBYS.
That is, people who weren’t really suffering any ill health effects from wind turbines other than “Not In My Back Yard Syndrome” — NIMBYism for short.
The Liberal government cited studies — many from the wind industry itself — claiming no adverse health effects from wind turbines, and a report by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arlene King, concluding there were no “direct links” between wind turbines and ill health.
But wind farm opponents are now armed with a new weapon — a controlled, peer-reviewed, scientific study published in the current issue of the periodical Noise and Health which for the first time links industrial wind turbine noise and vibration to serious health problems. Read the rest of this entry
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. Read the rest of this entry
by Greg Van Moorsel, London Free Press
It was one year ago that Chris Bentley won the cabinet booby prize after helping the McGuinty Liberals eke out a minority government.
Make peace with rural Ontario.
The London MPP was one of only four Grits left standing between Windsor and the Toronto area after last fall’s election cut the Liberals’ 70-seat majority to 53 seats.
Bentley went from attorney general to energy minister. From the government’s chief legal counsel, a dream job for any lawyer, he got stuck on point for the issue that cost the Liberals the farm — their slavish drive to force industrial wind turbines onto countrysides that don’t want them.
It didn’t help that the Liberals held no serious debate before embarking on their strategy, nor that they seized local control over where the often-unwanted turbines can be built.
With Premier Dalton McGuinty now on his long goodbye and the legislature shut down until Liberals choose a replacement in three months, it’s fair to say the government still hasn’t bridged that post-election, rural-urban divide aggravated by its green energy policies. It will have to do better if it wants to cling to power after McGuinty leaves. Read the rest of this entry
Kelly Pedro, Sun Media
LONDON, ON — With the Ontario legislature prorogued and Energy Minister Bentley mulling a run for the Liberal leadership, rural communities worried about wind farms are left in limbo.
Bentley was supposed to mend fences between the provincial Liberals and rural Ontario amid opposition to the growing number of wind farms.
If someone takes over Bentley’s portfolio, it will take time for that person to get up to speed, said Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario.
“It’s just adding to the uncertainty,” she said.
With 6,000 wind turbines planned or proposed for Ontario, opposition politicians have long called for a moratorium on wind farms. Health Canada is completing a study in 2014 of the effects of industrial wind turbines on human health.
The issue cost the Liberals a majority in the last election as rural residents voiced their growing anger over a lack of local control over where the turbines go and how many are allowed in their communities. Read the rest of this entry
981 FreeFM, by Avery Moore
What is now flat farmland and forest in Middlesex and Lambton County could soon become a landscape dotted with wind turbines. But Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MP Bev Shipley and MPP Monte McNaughton are asking for the provincial government to put several wind projects on hold. Shipley says Ontario should not build any more turbines until the results of a recently announced Health Canada study on the health effects of wind turbines are out in 2014. Read article
Ed. Note: So are we still NIMBYs if we have BOTH Gas plants and Wind developments? Perhaps Mississauga and Etobicoke would like to take the turbines then…? There are 150 proposed for Lambton Shores- yours for the taking!
The controversial Greenfield South Power gas plant, originally planned for Mississauga, is being relocated to the Sarnia area.
Ontario’s Minister of Energy Chris Bentley said an agreement was reached, Tuesday, to relocate the 300 megawatt plant to the Ontario Power Generation’s Lambton generating station site.
“We have fulfilled the commitment we made to the residents of Mississauga and Etobicoke,” Bentley told reporters. “We have found a resolution – a good site in a good location – so that the people of Ontario can benefit from the power this facility will provide.”
“It became very clear in the months leading up to September that a gas plant in Mississauga was not the appropriate location. The residents were expressing themselves in a very strong way,” he added. Read the rest of this entry
London Free Press Editorial
When Ontario gave birth to its public power industry a century ago, it had two goals: Spread “the hydro” widely to cover its huge costs, and keep outside players out.
Treating electricity as a political plaything looked after the first goal. Governments of all stripes have been guilty of keeping power rates artificially low.
A ruthless monopoly took care of the second objective. Only with Ontario Hydro’s breakup in the late 1990s, did the province’s iron grip on power begin to loosen.
Consumers are still paying for that legacy: Billions in stranded debt and cost over-runs no private utility would accept.
But even with multinationals now in the market, Ontario seems to be backsliding to its autocratic past in its handling of one energy file — wind farms.
Lured by the deep subsidies Ontario pays them, energy companies are carpeting huge tracts of prime rural land with industrial wind turbines, some of which stand as high as 30 storeys. Stripped of control by the province over where they can go, rural areas are helpless to stop the often-unwanted behemoths. But as QMI Agency reported this week, far more turbines are on the way — incredibly, with almost no new public debate.
When the Liberals took power in 2003, Ontario had just 10 wind turbines. Today, there are 1,200, with signed deals to more than double that. Add in new turbines in the approval mill, the citizens group Wind Concerns Ontario calculates the figure could hit 6,400. Read the rest of this entry
Sir: Why would an oil company be in the “Wind farm business”? Don’t they profit enough from our, and I repeat “our” oil that they have to increase their profits on the backs of the taxpayers who are subsidizing “wind farms” on their electric bills?
On one hand you cant blame them; Mr.McGuinty has put out such a lucrative incentive that, being businessmen, they could not resist.
These contracts are guaranteed for 20 years; a win-win (pardon the pun) situation. Read the rest of this entry
London Free Press
The Ontario Liberals are blind to the mess they are making.
Industrial wind farms are a disease on so many levels:
In terms of green energy, they are expensive and unreliable. Right now, Dalton McGuinty is exporting Ontario’s excess power to other provinces and the states for a fraction of the cost. We Ontarians are saddled with the losses. Just last week, the National Post tells us, “Average Ontario household power rates will be the highest in North America except for Prince Edward Island by the end of 2013.”
In terms of aesthetics, our beautiful province will be marred by these monsters. In daytime, they obstruct our beautiful countryside and the light flickers as the sun reflects off of the moving blades; in the evening the beautiful stars are marred with red lights that smother the skyline. Why will tourists want to come?
In terms of health, there are real concerns with the low-level noise, vibrations, disruptions to air pressure and the effects of light flicker — from headaches, sleep problems, to concentration and memory problems, to dizziness, nausea, and depression.
MPP Lisa Thompson’s private bill calling for a moratorium on further wind development until third party social, physical and economic health and environmental studies have been completed was crushed by the Liberals and NDP on March 8.
It is never too late for us to take action. Together we will make a difference!
From the North Middlesex council Feb 21st minutes (sounds pretty positive to me …? Keep at it N. Mid!):
DELEGATIONS: Lambton Middlesex Wind Action Group
Muriel Allingham and several members of the group attended the meeting to present to Council two motions with regards to the Industrial Wind Turbines. The presentation included motions from Arran-Elderslie and the group wishes for North Middlesex Council to uphold the request for support from this municipality. As well, in accordance with neighbouring Municipalities, they adopt and develop by-laws to incorporate the risks and liabilities inherent to the construction and operation of Wind Turbines in our Communities. These by-laws include amended building permit fees, decommissioning costs and risks, Road and Infrastructure permitting, firefighting requirements and High Angle Rescue development. Several pictures were provided of the construction of turbines in the Watford area. Council thanked the delegation for attending and advised that they were not in a position to make a decision at this time.
Later in the meeting, Council had an opportunity to consider the motions from Arran Elderslie. A discussion then ensued regarding the request to walk out on the Premier at the Ontario Good Roads Conference.
Deputy Mayor Hall expressed that the Good Roads convention is an opportunity to hear the Premier. It is disrespectful to the Premier and Good Roads Committee. SCOR set up discussions with the government to make representation on various matters including this topic. He supports the issues but do not feel walking out on Premier serves that purpose.
Councillor Ropp expressed that individuals must make up their own mind on the issue and not be forced to leave. Councillor Ropp indicated he would do it.
Councillor Cornelissen expressed that a walk out would not likely achieve the desired result council should not dictate what each member does according to their own conscience.
Councillor Moir expressed that he fully agrees with delegation.
MOIR/ROPP: That Council support in principle the ideas expressed by the delegation regarding wind turbines and the nature of the Arran-Elderslie motion but respects individual rights of each Council member to make their own decision regarding taking action at the Premier’s speech at the OGRA/ROMA Conference.
Napper will “wait and see” if province changes Green Energy Act
By Heather Wright Sarnia Lambton This Week
PLYMPTON-WYOMING – Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper is taking a wait and see approach after the premier suggested the government will make changes to the way green energy projects are handled in the province.
Dalton McGuinty made the comments at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association in Toronto recently. A number of rural politicians – reports suggest anywhere from a dozen to 80 people – walked out before the premier began speaking in protest of the Green Energy Act. It took the planning power for wind and solar projects away from the municipalities.
After the speech, McGuinty told reporters the province is reviewing the green energy program and hopes to incorporate more of the “local perspective.”
“We will be adopting some of the recommendations put forward by rural Ontario so we can achieve a better balance,” he said.
“I’m not going to speak to the specifics, but I can say we have listened very carefully to those concerns and incorporated those into the changes that we are making.”
And McGuinty stopped short of saying whether municipalities would be given planning power over the projects.
“It’s encouraging,” says Napper of the premiers comments. “I’ll wait to hear what (the changes) are. We’ve had a lot of promises from that office before and they’ve never come through. Read the rest of this entry
By Jim Merriam, QMI Agency
In the early 1980s, a group of angry farmers grabbed their rifles and shotguns, donned ski masks and posed for the press.
The picture, taken in the haymow of an old barn near Owen Sound, was front-page news across the country.
The farmers in the picture and many others had reached the breaking point.
It was the age of usurious interest rates that made farming and other small businesses impossible to operate.
The sympathy of much of rural Ontario was with those farmers who courageously brought the rural plight to the public’s attention.
Many residents who lived and worked along the back roads of the province believed the real criminals were government leaders that sanctioned rates of more than 20% on an ongoing basis. (Some businesses paid up to 24% interest on operating loans during the period).
Because of these rates, farmers had been in a fight for their lives and livelihoods against the bureaucracy and banks long before the picture appeared.
But the photo-op was the point at which city folks finally sat up and took notice of the turmoil that was destroying lives and communities throughout the province.
Thirty years have passed and there are similarities with the rural Ontario of today. Family farms are rapidly disappearing, even though the economics of agriculture have improved, particularly in the last few years. But relations with the government are little different. The province continues to run roughshod over rural communities as if nothing has been learned since1980.
Green energy — particularly wind turbines — is one issue that has rural Ontario boiling. But there are many others, including the future of rural health care, government’s love for bigger schools even when they are no better, an assault on small school bus operators, mind-boggling regulations for something as simple as a liquor licence for a community dance, etc.
The folks battling the wind turbines are among the first to reach a frustration point not seen since the ’80s. This week, those activist municipal politicians led a public shunning of Premier Dalton McGuinty by 80 or so delegates to the annual good roads convention.
For their trouble, they got a vague promise that the province will restore “some” autonomy to municipalities that want to limit the number of wind turbines. “Some” change is the best the premier can come up with after years of rural residents battling the issue.
Contrast that to the sudden response the province provided to Toronto when that council discussed transit needs in the Big Smoke and you get an understanding of how neglected and ignored rural residents feel.
I asked one opponent of turbines about the similarities to the unrest of the early ’80s. “The time for civil unrest may be approaching,” this individual said.
Combine that comment with others, such as “let’s meet cabinet ministers outside of the cities with spreaders full of manure” and it’s obvious trouble is brewing.
Thirty years ago a band of gun-totin’ farmers got some action from the banks, the government and among themselves.
That photo was the seminal event in the founding of the Canadian Farm Survival Association. An organization of rural ministries also sprang into action to help families facing loss of livelihoods and the possible suicide of family members.
New ways were developed to finance the beef industry, based in part on the co-op model. Rural communities eventually calmed because something was being done about their concerns.
Nothing is being done today.
WIND ENERGY: Province willing to tweak controversial Green Energy Act
By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press February 29, 2012
As wind turbines multiply like rabbits across Ontario’s countryside, the provincial energy minister’s assurances of greater local voice over where they’re located is being met with a mixture of optimism and doubt.
“This is an opportunity for the democratization of energy,” said Kristopher Stevens, executive director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association that helped draft some aspects of the Green Energy Act.
That act is a foundation of the Liberal platform and encourages renewable energy sources and “green” manufacturing jobs.
But dozens of municipalities have expressed concerns over their inability to change provincial decisions about the best places locate wind turbines.
This week, Energy Minister Chris Bentley said that consultation process is also under review as the province examines how to tweak the Green Energy Act.
“We’re listening, and taking municipal concerns into account as we make thoughtful choices and move forward,” he told a conference of the Rural Ontario Municipalities’ Association.
Pressed to say if municipalities will be able to veto disputed projects, he said they’ll need to wait until changes come forward. Read the rest of this entry
February 29, 2012 – Blackburn News by Dave Richie
Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton doesn’t believe Premier Dalton McGuinty’s comment at the ROMA conference, that he’s willing to give municipalities more say over green energy projects.
“No one believes this premier anymore,” says McNaughton. “He’s made many promises on different things and has never stuck to his word.”
McNaughton says his constituency offices continue to be bombarded by concerns over industrial wind farms.
London Free Press- Letters to the editor
Regarding Winds of change blow for municipalities (Feb. 28).
I’m glad municipalities will have more authority on the subject of wind turbines. These turbines deplete property value, leading to empty homes in some counties. Wind farms are detrimental to wildlife (bats, migrating birds) and some link wind turbines to human health concerns.
The concept of green energy is merely a public relations game, aimed to sway the voting public. There is nothing green about these turbines, rendering lots of wetlands useless for migratory birds, and known to kill bats and other birds.
Adding to this, there is no funding allotted for the removal of these turbines. They are simply allowed to rust away, creating an eyesore to the public.
Please stop bringing in these windmills and select more environmentally-friendly power sources.
Regarding the editorial Rural Ontario set to blow up at McGuinty (Feb. 25).
I agree with Mark Davis, deputy mayor of Arran Elderslie. There are times you must do what you feel is right. Municipalities are merely asking for a one-year moratorium on wind turbines – not much to ask when the premier tyrannically took away control of wind turbine installations via the Green Energy Act.
If the Rural Ontario Municipal Association thinks a walkout on Premier Dalton McGuinty’s speech is shortsighted on the turbine issue, please walk out and help stop the destruction of small, rural and northern hospitals. If this is not enough, think about the closings of rural schools, allowing multinationals to bid on busing, and the shutdown of abattoirs.
One way or another, he must be stopped.
February 25, 2012 Blackburn Radio (listen here)
Plympton-Wyoming is the latest municipality to call for a moratorium on wind farm development….
Mayor Lonny Napper says his council is endorsing the move because if opponents killed the prospects of a natural gas-fed power plant near Toronto, he believes the same tact should work locally…
Napper accuses the province of turning its back on rural Ontario.
He says a health study on wind turbines is still needed.
Better Late Then Never: OFA Calls for Wind Farm Moratorium
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), the largest representative of farm interests in Canada, is calling on the provincial government to immediately stop installing industrial wind turbines (IWT) in rural Ontario.
Since the passage of the 2009 Green Energy Act, which stripped municipalities of local planning rights, countless communities across rural Ontario have been threatened by the McGuinty government’s push to install industrial wind farms, with no regard to local expertise or the concerns of residents. These IWT developments have done more to turn neighbours and communities against one another than solve any of the problems of energy production in Ontario.
In its call for the moratorium, the OFA cites the high cost of power produced by turbines, its inability to be stored, and the fact that it can’t be effectively transmitted to areas of high demand as just some of the reasons to stop the senseless expansion of IWTs across rural Southwestern Ontario. But far and away the most troubling outcome of IWTs in our rural communities is this issue’s tendency to divide and polarize long time friends and neighbours. These concerns over health impacts, negatively affected property values and quality of life issues are not being seriously considered by the McGuinty government. These issues weigh heavily on the minds of many rural residents and are causing serious problems in our rural communities. In his statement, OFA President Mark Wales says that these projects have “alienated the rural population” as “neighbours are pitted against neighbours.”
Last April, in the Legislature, I demanded that Premier McGuinty get off his high horse and explain why his government is choosing to ignore the voices and concerns of rural Ontario communities by jamming through his unproven and unwanted wind farms. Countless communities across our province have watched helplessly as the McGuinty Government pushes to install more industrial wind farms whenever and wherever he wants, with no regard to local expertise or the concerns of residents. It is my hope that more organizations, like the OFA, will take a stand and let Premier McGuinty know that it is local residents that know best when it comes to making decisions regarding their communities.
2012 Pre-Budget Consultations
Along with neighbouring Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton, I will be hosting pre-budget consultations regarding the 2012 Provincial Budget later this month. MPP McNaughton and I saw the need to schedule these meetings after the decision by the McGuinty Government to host “virtual town halls” using “modern technology” rather than the traditional in-person public hearings held annually across the province. Read the rest of this entry