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McGuinty Liberal MPPs Vote to Override Local Families Concerned About Industrial Wind Farms

(April 29, 2010) (Queen’s Park) Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson voted to protect local families worried about Dalton McGuinty’s plan to build industrial wind farms in their communities without any local input, consultation or control.  He also spoke to hundreds of protesters, many of them from Simcoe-Grey, who gathered at Queen’s Park to support the efforts of the PC Caucus to place a moratorium on new wind developments. 

“As a former energy minister, I can tell you that we absolutely have to question these large industrial wind turbine projects,” stated Wilson in the Legislature.  “The honourable members across the way say this is going to be the saviour in order to close down coal-fired plants. That's bunk, and that's bunk whether you live in Europe or any other place in the world that you can point to where there are a significant number of wind turbines. It's a very small part of the electricity mix.”

Wilson was debating the motion put forward by the Ontario PC Caucus that would once again give local municipalities the final say over whether or not they want to host giant industrial wind farms.  When it came time for the vote, the McGuinty Liberal MPPs in attendance unanimously voted the motion down, with many MPPs dodging the vote altogether.

“When you're awarding 20-year contracts that are 40-cents-plus per kilowatt hour for wind power and up to 80 cents for solar, when that is factored into the mix, people are going to have sticker shock,” said Wilson, pointing to recent estimates that hydro bills are set to rise by $350 per year or more. 

“I'll also say, as a former Minister of Health, that...a public medical officer of health in Grey County said last year, and kept emphasizing it with the government and was totally ignored, that you absolutely should put a moratorium on it until the health effects are known, because she has had, as I do-I have people coming into my office who look quite sick to me,” said Wilson.  “I may be no Dr. Phil over there, but they look quite sick to me. They live near these projects, and you have to believe them. You should at least give them the benefit of the doubt.”

See below for the full text of Wilson’s remarks in the Legislature from Hansard.

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TRANSCRIPT FROM HANSARD


Mr. Jim Wilson: In the short time I have, too, I want to thank the members of the public who are in the gallery, and I want to thank the 80 people who came down from my riding, from Clearview, Singhampton and the Collingwood area, and participated in the rally.

As I said at the rally today, as a former energy minister, I can tell you that we absolutely have to question these large industrial wind turbine projects. The honourable members across the way say this is going to be the saviour in order to close down coal-fired plants. That's bunk, and that's bunk whether you live in Europe or any other place in the world that you can point to where there are a significant number of wind turbines. It's a very small part of the electricity mix.

You've got to move forward and start talking about further refurbishing the nuclear fleet and bringing in nuclear power. The only reason your power demand is down by 33% right now is that most people seem to be unemployed. Some 350,000 people in the manufacturing sector in this province don't have a job, so the factories are closed. That's the only reason you've kept pollution at par in the last few years. The only coal-fired plant that ever was closed in this province was done by the PC government under Elizabeth Witmer as environment minister, and I was energy minister at the time.

I'll also say, as a former Minister of Health, that absolutely-a local example: A public medical officer of health in Grey county said last year, and kept emphasizing it with the government and was totally ignored, that you absolutely should put a moratorium on it until the health effects are known, because she has had, as I do-I have people coming into my office who look quite sick to me. I may be no Dr. Phil over there, but they look quite sick to me. They live near these projects, and you have to believe them. You should at least give them the benefit of the doubt.

Finally, as I said at the rally today, you're not being fully truthful with the public in terms of the actual costs. When you're awarding 20-year contracts that are 40-cents-plus per kilowatt hour for wind power and up to 80 cents for solar, when that is factored into the mix, people are going to have sticker shock. In fact, the Green Energy Act, we estimate, will cost consumers about $350 a year, and we're told by some people that that's off by several factors. So it could be hundreds more per year by the time we're all done.

The other thing is, and it has been mentioned by all colleagues, when over 50 municipalities had the courage against the Liberal government-you might take away their funding for a road or something, the way you guys operate. The fact of the matter is, they had the courage, like the 16 municipalities in Simcoe county, including Clearview township, which I asked the Premier about a month ago in this House-and the Acting Premier that day, Brad Duguid, answered as he always does every day, that he really doesn't care what the municipalities think; he's going ahead as energy and infrastructure minister and getting rid of any local say. As has been pointed out, the last time that was done in this Legislature, that Premier didn't survive very long.

I ask Liberal members here today, many of them facing large projects in their ridings, to take the time, have a moratorium, say no to these companies right now until you get your facts straight, because right now your facts aren't straight and you're not sticking up for your constituents. This resolution gives you an opportunity to do that today.

 


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