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Crown litigators chose not to call federal witness in wind turbine hearing

(November 21, 2016) Not long ago, I wrote federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau in Ottawa about the Wpd Canada Fairview Wind project.

"As you may know," I said in my letter to the minister, "this project involves the construction of eight 500-foot industrial wind turbines between the Collingwood Regional Airport and the Stayner Aerodrome."

Now keep in mind, this letter was written in September, before the Environmental Review Tribunal acknowledged the threat to public safety that these turbines posed.

"The purpose of this letter is to discuss an issue related to the hearing," I told Minister Garneau. "It has been brought to my attention by Mr. Kevin Elwood of Clearview Township that at the last minute the province decided to call Mr. David Simpson of Nav Canada as a witness at the hearing instead of Ms. Margaret Menczel of Transport Canada."

I went on that: "Mr. Elwood, who owns the Stayner Aerodrome and is one of the individuals appealing the approval of the wind turbines, states he believes the change in witnesses occurred because Transport Canada does not support the wind turbine locations due to the safety threats they pose to pilots and passengers using the two airports. I am asking you to outline Transport Canada's position had a representative of your ministry appeared at the hearing."

Well, several weeks went by but at the end of October I finally received a response from Minister Garneau.

While the minister did not answer my question, he did say that a Transport Canada inspector prepared a witness statement and was available to appear before the tribunal.

Why he chose to avoid my question is beyond me, especially considering a Transport Canada inspector was willing to testify. Surely the minister could share information about what would have been said at the hearing.

In my mind, and in the mind of many others, the witness wasn't called by the provincial Crown because they would have provided testimony that supported the opponents - the many brave men and women who put up their own money and appealed the project to prevent fatalities from happening in the sky above our community.

Thankfully, the Environmental Review Tribunal agreed with the opponents and hopefully that is the end of this issue.

The Wynne Liberal government would like everyone to believe they have been totally arm's length throughout the whole process, but the fact their Crown prosecutor didn't call the Transport Canada witness suggests otherwise.

It's no wonder that people are suspicious of the Wynne Liberal government, especially when it comes to their green energy agenda.

Jim Wilson is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Simcoe-Grey.

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