As you may know, the motion for a moratorium on wind turbine developments and to return planning powers to Ontario municipalities was defeated in the Legislature April 28th by 40-17 …but it didn’t go down with out a fight, or drama including a standing ovation (from both sides of the House) for an outburst from a Wind Concerns Ontario member.
Many MPPs made fine speeches including Elizabeth Witmer (“The Green Energy Act has eroded the democratic rights of the people in this province”); Julia Munro (“People expect a government that provides safe communities…the people have a sense of abandonment”); and Jim Wilson (“The Green Energy Act should have been called the Power Grab Act”).
Here is the transcript from Hansard of the speech made by Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod:
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I’m pleased to be able to speak to the PC caucus motion, on behalf of Tim Hudak and the PC caucus, which is calling for a moratorium on wind farms until health and environmental impacts are studied and until local planning authority is restored to municipalities.
I’d like to recognize [the residents] who have travelled across the province, making a five-hour trip from my constituency in Nepean-Carleton just to be here today. They did this to bring their views to this Ontario Legislature because this Liberal government has taken away their voice with a made-in-Toronto plan for our small community. The proposed development of 10 very large wind turbines—and, as I learned today, it could be as many as 28 wind turbines—is contentious with residents, raising many legitimate and valid concerns.
This debate is not about wind power as an important component of Ontario’s energy planning. There’s no argument that Ontario must continue to diversify and investigate ways of shifting to clean and renewable power, because we know we need to act to protect the environment and, yes, we need to act to reduce our energy consumption and find greener ways to produce power. This debate is about forcing rural communities across Ontario to accept made-in-Toronto solutions to problems in our bigger cities.
The Globe and Mail of April 7 agrees, because they suggested that wind power is “not simply benign, and the potential impact of wind turbines on the environment, the landscape and people’s health need more attention.”
That is what this motion is calling for: to ensure that we’re paying attention to the people who are here today, and the people who couldn’t come here today, who have concerns with the Green Energy Act.
The Green Energy Act forces communities like mine, like the member from Dufferin-Caledon’s, the member from Wellington-Halton Hills’s, the member from Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound’s—I could go on. It forces our communities and our municipalities to accept made-in-Toronto planning solutions by removing local planning authority from them. Wind turbines and other green energy initiatives are able to bypass the consent of local citizens and their councils.
Let me put that into perspective. Municipalities have a say on what gets built in their communities, and that is whether it is a housing development, whether it’s a shopping centre, whether it’s a road or whether it’s a transitway. But in this case, when it comes to wind turbines, local voices are shut out of the debate.
The residents in Nepean-Carleton have been left with little opportunity to have their say on a wind farm that this Liberal government is forcing on our small community of North Gower. It’s yet another example of how this government consults with few while implementing legislation which could have such a far-reaching impact on the health and well-being of our citizens. It’s yet another example of how, after six years in power, the McGuinty Liberals are so focused on subsidizing their green energy schemes and giving away sweetheart deals that they’ve forgotten about protecting the views of democratically elected local governments.
It’s time to hit the rethink button, just like you did last week on another issue, and it’s time that he supports my colleague from Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke’s motion calling for a moratorium on wind farms until the studies are in and the municipal authority is restored.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the opportunity to debate today.
More on the other speakers later. This is not over.
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