Category Archives: Monte McNaughton
A local contingent of municipal leaders and residents of Sarnia-Lambton watched at Queen’s Park in Toronto on April 18 as Liberal and NDP members of the Ontario legislature voted to continue the march of industrial wind turbines across rural Ontario. The Ensuring Affordable Energy Act, a bill presented by Ontario PC MPP Lisa Thompson, was debated in the legislature before the Liberal and NDP members teamed up to kill the act and its central purpose of returning decision making authority for industrial wind turbine developments to local municipalities.
The Act was drafted in response to a groundswell of criticism the Liberal and NDP parties have received since they passed and implemented the Green Energy Act (GEA) in 2009. Several municipal leaders, including Enniskillen Township Mayor Kevin Marriott, joined in a full day of efforts to persuade members of the Liberals and NDP to amend the controversial GEA by voting in support of the solutions presented in Thompson’s bill. Read article
April 15, 2013
PC MPP Delivered Hundreds of Unanswered Letters to Minister of Energy Today.
(Queen’s Park, ON) – Lambton-Kent-Middlesex PC MPP Monte McNaughton is pressing new Liberal Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli to respond to hundreds of unanswered letters and emails from constituents and residents across Ontario. McNaughton delivered the file of unanswered letters to Chiarelli in the house this morning.
“Coming from a family business and one where customer service is paramount, I find this to be completely and totally unacceptable,” said MPP McNaughton. “Our constituents deserve answers, especially when they have taken the time to write and express their concerns or ask important questions. For a minister of the crown to simply choose to ignore these letters is not acceptable and is not right.”
The letters raise important questions and concerns about the Liberal efforts to encourage further development of industrial wind turbines. MPP McNaughton and the Ontario PCs continue to push for changes to the Liberals failed green energy act and costly FIT program. McNaughton will support MPP Lisa Thompson’s Bill 39 the ‘Ensuring Affordable Energy Act, 2013’ when it comes to a vote on April 18.
“Tim Hudak and the Ontario PCs are the only party fighting to halt further wind turbine development,” said McNaughton. “I have heard from thousands of people from across Lambton-Kent-Middlesex and they have told me loud and clear that they would like a pause, a moment to stop and consider these developments prior to more shovels breaking ground.”
As outlined in the Ontario PC policy white paper Paths to Prosperity: Affordable Energy, McNaughton and the PCs propose winding down the provinces Feed-in-Tariff Program (FIT), immediately halting all new projects still in the approval queue and stop contracting for power we don’t need, at prices Ontario residents cannot afford
- February 7, 2013: Letter from Minister of Natural Resources Michael Gravelle Regarding Bird and Bat Guidelines for Wind Power, January 25, 2013
- February 11, 2013: Letter from Monte to the North Middlesex Council regarding Wind Turbines
- March 1, 2013: Letter From MPP Monte McNaughton to the Minister of Energy Requesting Municipalities Have Planning Authority Over Industrial Wind Turbines
- November 13, 2012 Response letter to MPP McNaughton from the Ombudsman of Ontario regarding the Bornish Wind Project
- November 7, 2012: MPP McNaughton’s second letter to the Minister of the Environment about the Bornish Wind Project
- October 25, 2012: MPP Monte McNaughton’s letter to Andre Marin, Ombudsman of Ontario
- October 23, 2012: MPP McNaughton’s letter to the Minister of the Environment
- August 8, 2012: MPP McNaughton’s letter to Minister of Energy Christopher Bentley regarding apparent contamination of well water by wind turbines
Rex Crawford, former Dover reeve and Liberal MP, added his voice Thursday to a growing chorus of politicians and citizens demanding a moratorium on wind turbine construction.
Crawford, along with Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MP Bev Shipley and Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton, called for the moratorium while standing at the site of a yet-to-be constructed turbine less than 1,500 feet from Crawford’s home on Bear Line Road.
Crawford said the province is breaking all the rules that Dover had in place while he was reeve to protect farmland.
“We have some of the best farmland in Canada in Dover and it’s being taken over by wind turbines,” he said. “More than 55 turbines are being built in this area alone.”
Crawford said a potential Toronto buyer for his property withdrew his interest once he learned a wind turbine was being constructed within a stone’s throw from the property. Read article
With only 2 days left in the Bornish comment period, the Ministry of Environment squeezes out a 15 day extension — conceding that the wind company was at fault for not posting the project documents, but not acknowledging that the MOE is making matters even worse by not making these documents accessible to the general public. Really Mr. Bradley, you know that the whole EBR/MOE/ERT ‘system’ is a mess — such a mess that citizens cannot work with it. But are you willing to make the appropriate changes to make it accessible, transparent and accountable? Are you?
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
Lambton Kent Middlesex MPP Monte McNaugton hosting town halls in the riding. Good time to voice your concerns.
Strathroy Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 7:00pm – 8:00pm
County Road 81 @ Second Street, Strathroy
Wallaceburg Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, August 2, 2012: 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Royal Canadian Legion
52 Margaret Avenue, Wallaceburg
Forest Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, August 7, 2012: 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Forest Golf Club
102 Main Street South, Forest
There is no charge to attend these events. Please RSVP to Jena Sasko at 519.245.8696 or email@example.com.
Sarnia Observer – Letters
Sir: I am writing to join with Monte McNaughton (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex PC) and Bev Shipley (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex CPC) Bob Bailey (Sarnia-Lambton) along with Tim Hudak in their call for a moratorium on the continued development of wind turbines in our area, at least until the Health Canada research study is completed in 2014.
Those of us who live and work in the area of development are working hard out here in rural Ontario, to get the message to Premier McGuinty that there is massive opposition to all wind turbines that have already been put up as well as those which are in the development stage. Information is the key to our opposition, because it seems that as more and more information on the costs and the health effects are disclosed to the constituents in Ontario, the more the opposition grows against green energy.
The Green Energy Act which the government enacted, is in direct contradiction to my rights as a citizen of Canada. The act takes away the ability of our local municipal politicians to act on behalf of their constituents. Even though the Liberals were re-elected in the last election, it was by a thin majority and without any support from rural Ontario. They will have to run again in the future, and I for one will be getting out of my chair and working hard to make sure that they are not re-elected again. I can only hope that the damage that they are doing to our landscape out here in rural Ontario is not too far gone before that happens.
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
Opponents fighting plans to add dozens of wind turbines in rural communities near London say the turbines shouldn’t go up until a recently announced study by Health Canada is finished.
By DEBORA VAN BRENK, The London Free Press
PARKHILL – It was quiet enough to hear crickets in the cornfield and to make any occasional truck traffic a head-turning event.
Into this, wind companies want to situate a dizzying number of noisy wind turbines even though the health effects on nearby residents is unknown, critics charged Monday.
A provincial and federal Tory politician each called for a halt to building more machines until a Health Canada study is complete in 2014.
“It is, in my mind . . . just the right thing to do,” said MP Bev Shipley at an intersection near the intended axis of a cluster of 45 NextEra turbines south of Parkhill.
In the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex riding alone 400 turbines are planned, MPP Monte McNaughton said.
Calling the Green Energy Act a “disaster,” McNaughton said he would “absolutely” ditch turbine planning even if health studies show they’re benign. The Green Energy Act, McNaughton said, is “a waste of taxpayer dollars and a trampling of Ontarians’ rights.” Read the rest of this entry
May 16, 2012 Monte McNaughton
(QUEEN’S PARK, ON) – Today, new Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton delivered a statement in the Ontario Legislature questioning the liberal government and the NDP on their exclusion of local voices in decision making when it comes to further development of industrial wind turbines.
McNaughton, the PC Critic for Economic Development & Innovation pointed out that the PC party has introduced three initiatives since the October 6th, 2011 election. These initiatives were intended to ensure that local residents had a say in the decision making process on the issue of Wind Turbines in their community.
McNaughton went on to say that, “the Liberal government and the NDP‘s opposition to these initiatives shows that they do not understand the true effects that wind turbines will have on local communities.”
“We have a responsibility to listen to each and every community and to protect the interests of families, small businesses and our province. I oppose the heavy handed approach that the McGuinty government is taking by forcing wind turbines on local communities. Our party is determined to ensure that the people o fOntario have a say in their community” stated McNaughton.
The PC Party remains committed to bringing change and implementing energy polities that consider the people of Ontario and will help the economy grow.
April 5 – Ontario Farmer
By Anne Howden Thompson – Rural residents frustrated with the provincial liberal government’s Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program took their concerns into the heart of Toronto’s financial district yesterday, staging a peaceful protest rally that attracted hundreds of protestors from across Ontario.
Held in Simcoe Park adjacent to the CBC headquarters, the location put the protestors on the immediate doorsteps of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and underneath a digital sign with rotating messages, including one featuring a wind turbine, saying “this screen is powered by green renewable power.”
The location of the rally was purposeful.
Inside the convention centre over 600 delegates were gathered for the two-day, sold out, third annual Ontario Feed-In Tariff Forum, the annual conference for FIT contract holders, developers, manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and government.
Despite strong opposition in some Ontario communities, the provincial Liberal government remains firmly committed to building a clean energy future that includes the FIT program, a guaranteed rate program that provides stable prices through long-term contracts for energy generated using renewable resources.
Since it was launched in 2009 the provincial Liberal government report that almost 2,000 small and large FIT projects have been approved through the program; enough to produce the electricity needed to power about 1.2 million homes.
The government released its FIT program two year review a few weeks ago, announcing they were be developing an accumulated point system for communities to ensure better community engagement. At that time, Ontario’s agriculture minister Ted McMeekin told Ontario Farmer he believes the changes would bode well for proposed community-based and/or community-owned projects.
“I think it would be pretty fair to suggest that (the point system) will preclude in most instances any project from proceeding that is not seen as being in the best interests of the area,” he said at that time.
But some residents of rural Ontario disagree.
Bill Wright of Wyoming made the trek into Toronto for the rally to signal his support for the anti-wind turbine movement. “It’s not an efficient use of money…and it is an intrusion on the people in the rural setting… I’m strongly, strongly against it,” he said. Wright says he has been growing more active, “day by day” in the anti-wind movement, saying a group of concerned citizens have formed an advocacy group in the Wyoming area that will operate under the umbrella of the Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns group. “We are going to do everything we can do to fight this issue,” he told Ontario Farmer at the rally. Read the rest of this entry
McNaughton hosts townhall meeting
By Alana Power Strathroy Age Dispatch
Since being elected as Member of Provincial Parliament for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, Monte McNaughton has continually heard from constituents regarding their concerns over wind turbines and green energy.
In order to address these concerns and hear from the members of his riding in person, McNaughton hosted a Wind Turbine and Green Energy Townhall Meeting at Amy’s Place in Strathroy on Monday, March 12.
The banquet hall was packed, with over 300 people in attendance. Also attending the meeting were MPP’s Vic Fedeli, the Progressive Conservative Critic for Energy, Bob Bailey, Rick Nicholls and Lisa Thompson.
Speaking on behalf of the Wind Action Group, a group “opposed to aggressive wind turbine development,” Rose Keunan raised the issue of decommissioning the wind turbines once their life span is finished.
“We want reassurance that there will be sufficient funds to remove the turbines,” Keunan said.
Richard Wakefield, who runs the blog Ontario Wind Performance, spoke out against the turbines.
Wakefield voiced the opinions he states on his blog, challenging the statements that wind is a viable source of power, that wind can replace other sources of energy. Read the rest of this entry
March 13th, 2012 . Blackburn News
Tim Hudak’s energy critic says the Green Energy Act is pitting neighbour against neighbour.
Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli spoke at a town hall meeting in Strathroy last night, where he says at least 250 people shared their thoughts for and against wind farms. “The health concerns came up. We have issues where it pits friend against friend, farmer against farmer, family against family, in terms of ‘I need the cash from the wind turbine’ versus ‘don’t put that next to me.’”
Fedeli says at tonight’s town hall in Blenheim, he’ll talk about how soaring energy costs caused by the Green Energy Act are behind the province’s high unemployment rate.
The meeting gets underway at 7 pm at Deer Run Golf Course.
Story by Dave Richie, Blackburn News.
Wind Turbine Town Hall
The focus and the message was as strong as wind blowing on a wind turbine, but last night at Amy’s Restaurant a jammed packed crowd of well over 200 filed in to listen and have their opinions heard on the issue of wind turbine and solar power. It was a town hall meeting hosted by Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton and the message was clear. To listen to constituents and take the message forward.
A wide variety of speakers addressed the crowd including farm residents, to wind action group members to people concerned that their health problems had to do with these turbines. The dignitary head table was comprised of McNaughton, PC Energy Critic and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson, and Chatham-Kent MPP Rick Nicholls
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.
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
Highlights from Queen’s Park Dec 1st 2011
Mr. Tim Hudak: Speaker, the incredible arrogance of the McGuinty government: He says, “We will not waver,” “We will not listen,” “We will not care,” “We will not listen to local people from across the province of Ontario,” because Dalton McGuinty believes he knows best.
John Wilkinson is no longer here. Leona Dombrowsky is no longer here. Carol Mitchell, Maria Van Bommel, Rick Johnson, Lou Rinaldi and Pat Hoy did not stand up for their constituents; they didn’t do the right thing. I’m proud to say that now Conservative members represent each and every one of those constituents, standing up for local residents, saying no, saying, “Restore local decision-making.”
That same song and dance cost you all these members, Premier. Have you heard the message? Do you get the music?
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bas Balkissoon): Further debate? The member from Lambton–Kent–Middlesex.
Mr. Monte McNaughton: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’m pleased to rise in support of Bill 10, the Local Municipality Democracy Act, 2011, put forward by my colleague Mr. Smith from the fantastic riding of Prince Edward–Hastings. This is an important bill and one that I proudly support on behalf of my constituents in Lambton–Kent–Middlesex, some of whom are here today.
The Local Municipality Democracy Act will amend the Green Energy Act and the Planning Act so that local municipalities can return to their traditional planning processes. You see, Mr. Speaker, as a former three-term municipal councillor, I understand and respect our municipal partners and I support the rights and responsibilities of municipalities to pass bylaws and make these important decisions locally.
I’ve said this before, and I’m certainly not alone in saying that the greatest injustice of the Dalton McGuinty government is that his bureaucrats are here in downtown Toronto, making decisions about where to locate industrial wind turbines in my riding of Lambton–Kent–Middlesex and throughout the province of Ontario.
The meat of our debate today is that since the implementation of the Ontario Green Energy Act, municipalities no longer have the ability to incorporate specific requirements within their official plans and zoning bylaws as to appropriate locations and setbacks for these types of facilities. It’s an absolute disgrace that the government continues to ignore the will of local residents in the 80 elected municipal councils who have demanded that their local decision-making powers be restored.
For Dalton McGuinty and the government of the day sitting here in Toronto to think that they know what is best for a municipality and its elected council is at best arrogant, but more likely is outright wrong.
In my riding, we’ve already had resolutions passed by many municipalities and we’ve heard from residents, families and small businesses. All of them are concerned with the lack of input from town councils in regard to these types of facilities.
This bill addresses these concerns and will make sure that our municipalities, our partners in democracy in government, have a voice and a say in how land within the municipality is developed and utilized.
I have been pleased to work with MPP Smith to help with this important piece of legislation. I look forward to supporting this bill here today and encourage all of my colleagues in this House to support the bill today as well. Thank you.
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.
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 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.