Progressive Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex) was elected for a third term yesterday, victorious again as part of the landslide PC majority win in the Ontario election.
Four years ago in a video on this blog, McNaughton was crystal clear on the PC party’s then plans for the McGunity/Wynne Liberals’ pernicious Green Energy Act, namely, to scrap it. The draconian legislation enacted in 2009 led to an ugly and invasive proliferation of subsidy-sucking, economically-useless, environmentally-destructive, democratic-rights-robbing, community-fracturing, health-depleting, bird/bat-slaughtering, ground-water poisoning, hydro/electricity-cost-rocketing, mostly foreign-owned industrial wind turbines that destroyed the rural way of life, devalued property, and drove people from their homes in many parts of Ontario.
Here’s what McNaughton said prior to the 2014 Ontario election (some wind noise).
Now McNaughton has reiterated that “It’s time to clean up the hydro mess.” Let’s see if he and the newly elected Doug Ford PC government will make it so.
Another Kafkaesque industrial wind turbine nightmare in Ontario. A regional airport (Collingwood), with an aerodrome close by (Stayner), and eight 500’ (152 metres) air-space-invading industrial wind turbines (wpd Canada’s Fairview Wind Project) to be wedged between both airfields, posing grave danger to pilots and their passengers—and the whole thing approved by the Ontario Liberal government.
What could possibly go wrong when pilots, flying visually without instrumentation (as is the case in over 90% of the flights at these two airports), have to negotiate a safe take-off or landing through a blur of Georgian Bay fog, or lake-effects snow, and an indiscernible phalanx of gigantic 50-storey-tall white windmills?
All eight of the planned wind turbines will “penetrate” the safe arrival and departure airspace mandated by Transport Canada standards.
The Collingwood-Stayner airspace is a no-man’s-land of regulation, a lawless vacuum with respect to wind turbine installations. Ontario’s Green Energy Act deliberately has no safety provision for wind turbine setbacks near airports. All eight of the planned wind turbines will “penetrate” the safe arrival and departure airspace mandated by Transport Canada standards, as prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
If the turbines are built, and they thereby are found to create an unsafe situation, Transport Canada could shut the airports down.
However, here is the kicker. Transport Canada has no jurisdiction over where wind turbines are located with respect to the air space of registered, uncertified airports such as the Collingwood Regional Airport and the Clearview Aerodrome in Stayner. But, when the turbines are built, and they thereby are found to create an unsafe situation, Transport Canada could shut the airports down. The airports, not the wind turbines!
In this case, there is a dangerous jurisdictional vacuum. Neither Transport Canada, nor the Ontario government, nor the local governments, which the Liberals’ Green Energy Act stripped of their planning powers, have any legal say over the aeronautically-safe siting of wind turbines at registered, uncertified airports.
Wind companies—often foreign-owned—pretty well get to do whatever they want.
Such is the looney landscape of Ontario’s sickly “green” wind energy program that wind companies—often foreign-owned—pretty well get to do whatever they want, aided, abetted, enabled, financially rewarded, and legally defended by the Ontario Liberals’ Green Energy Act and their kangaroo court of (hopeless) appeal, the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). Only two of the scores of wind turbine project appeals to the ERT have had partial success, with final outcomes still pending.
wpd Canada’s Fairview Wind Project between the Collingwood-Stayner airports is being appealed, with an ERT hearing scheduled for May 16, 2016 in Collingwood. What are the chances that the safety-minded appellants will prevail? The onus is on them to prove “serious harm” to human health. You’d think that this would be a no-brainer, logical, obvious. But the narrow terms of reference by which the ERT operates and the unfair burden of proof heaped on the appellants usually spell defeat.
For a mind-blowing overview of this particular Kafkaesque situation involving wind turbine approvals and appeals, watch the 30-minute media event held at Queen’s Park on April 21, 2016 (starting at 3:09). At the press conference, Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson, Kevin Elwood (the pilot owner of the Clearview Aerodrome), and Charles Magwood, area property owner, outlined chilling facts about the lawless loophole that could endanger the lives of pilots and their passengers, and potentially close down an economically vital airport and aerodrome for good.
The trio also discuss possible graft and corruption in this case: wpd Canada’s payments made to the Liberal party, followed immediately by government approvals for wpd Canada’s project, and wpd Canada’s creation of a shell company with no assets in order to evade liability for accidents and de-commissioning of wind turbines.
In Ontario: lawless loopholes, callous, criminal disregard for human health and safety, apparent bribes for wind project approvals, calculated liability evasion, democracy-robbing legislation—all for economically useless, environmentally-destructive, subsidy-sucking industrial wind turbines, ugly symbols of a bankrupt, immoral, dishonest, fake planetary climate emergency.
The same goes for Kevin and Gail Elwood, John Wiggins, and the residents’ group Preserve Clearview, after the Environmental Review Tribunal dismissed an application for costs related to their appeal of a decision to grant WPD a renewable energy application for the Fairview Wind Project.
(Scroll down for updates)
Take a look at what happens when Ontarians try to oppose an industrial wind turbine project.
Laws, regulations, and processes seem to have eliminated every conceivable obstacle for the mad rush of the (economically useless, environmentally destructive) wind industrialization of rural Ontario. At the same time they effectively, undemocratically block wind project opponents at every turn. The Ontario Green Energy Act (GEA) and its quasi-judicial complaints department, the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) pitch opponents headlong into a Kafkaesque nightmare.
- The government gives the Proponent permission to undertake an industrial wind turbine construction project, which includes granting a special environmental permit that allows the Proponent to kill, harm, and harass a Victim or two.
- Locals launch an appeal on the grounds that the project would, amongst other troublesome consequences, cause serious and irreversible harm to the Victims.
- The appeal is heard by a Tribunal, which issues a very rare decision favouring the Victims, finding that the Proponent’s project will indeed cause serious and irreversible harm to two classes of Victims.
- The Tribunal orders a further hearing to consider the Proponent’s proposed mitigations of this serious and irreversible harm.
- In the meantime, however, the Proponent is legally entitled (and signals the intention) to go ahead and begin the project site pre-construction work, and in the process kill, harm, and harass Victims, without first having to table mitigation plans at the next Tribunal hearing (see 4 above).
- Lawyers for the Victims file a motion to have the Tribunal issue a stay of the Proponent’s pre-construction on-site activity associated with the special permit to kill, harm, and harass.
- The Tribunal dismisses the Victims’ motion, with reasons for its decision to be given at a later time.
- Lawyers for the Victims then appeal to a Divisional Court with a motion for a stay.
- The Divisional Court also dismisses the appeal because the Victims’ lawyers, through no fault of their own, are unable to establish specific grounds for said appeal, given that they are in the dark about the reasons for the Tribunal’s dismissal of the motion (see 7 above).
- The Victims’ lawyers are entitled to renew their Divisional Court motion (see 8 above), if and when they ever receive the reasons for the Tribunal’s dismissal decision (see 7 above).
- Meanwhile, the circle is complete, with the Proponent apparently free to go ahead and kill, harm, and harass the Victims, even though there is to be a future Tribunal hearing (see 4 above) at which the Proponent is supposed to make proposals for mitigating the killing, harming, and harassing that probably will already have taken place by then.
That is the saga thus far with respect to the battle between the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County and the wind energy company wpd Canada Corporation.
The ERT appears to be nothing more than a Kafkaesque-Potemkin-kangaroo-emperor-with-no-clothes court.
The GEA and its companion, the ERT have allowed wind energy companies, eager to cash in on the Ontario Liberal government’s 20-year-guaranteed, above-market returns, to ride roughshod over democratic rights of people and municipalities. The kleptocratic subsidy scheme is footed by the taxpayers, and consumers’ electricity charges triple as a result.
Wind project opponents are spending inordinate amounts of time and money to fight a losing battle, the contest rigged from the start. For wind project opponents, the ERT appears to be nothing more than a Kafkaesque-Potemkin-kangaroo-emperor-with-no-clothes court.
The ERT gives people the illusion of offering democratic equality and justice before the law. In reality, it forces them to accept the industrialization of rural Ontario against their will, while depleting their wallets and spirit.
What’s at play here is just one aspect of the insidious implementation of the UN’s one-world-government Agenda 21, a blueprint for an anti-prosperity, anti-democratic sustainable development and wealth transfer movement. It uses the cudgel of the massive scientific deception of manmade climate change to clobber and guilt people into phony-green-energy submission. It has them running in circles, looking in vain for democracy and laws to protect their rights.
APRIL 6, 2016 – A hearing on a motion for a stay in the Court of Appeal for Ontario did not quite go as planned. As is the case in any ERT or court proceedings brought on by wind project opponents, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change deployed its lawyers to fight on behalf of the wind developer, in opposition to the people, who not only must pay their own lawyers, but, as taxpayers, also foot the bill for the Ministry’s lawyers!
This work began in areas known to be habitat for the endangered Blandings Turtle; the power developer is continuing even though there are reports that milder weather has resulted in the turtles emerging early from their winter hibernation, and are at great risk.
…Sylvia Davis, lawyer for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, cited a ruling from over fifty years ago that only a panel of three judges could hear an appeal of this nature.
It became clear at that point that the motion would not be heard until after the legal matter of whether this was properly before the court had been dealt with, with a potentially unfavourable decision.
Rather than spend considerable time and money on legal wrangling the decision was made to withdraw our motion for a stay on all physical activity at the White Pines project site. The motion was withdrawn on consent of all parties and without costs.
We will immediately be going to the Tribunal to once again request a stay.
APRIL 8, 2016 – And then, mirabile dictu, the ERT granted a temporary stay!
Late this afternoon the Environmental Review Tribunal granted a temporary stay of WPD’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA). As a result of the stay all construction work at the project site has been brought to a halt. The Tribunal will schedule a written hearing at a later date to decide on the merits of a more permanent stay.
Dr. Ross McKitrick is a Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph, and Research Chair in Energy, Ecology and Prosperity at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He specializes in environmental economics.
Dr. McKitrick spoke (starting at :19) on the topic of Green Conservatism at the Manning Centre Conference in February.
In his brief talk, Dr. McKitrick gives a brilliant, succinct overview of the current absence of rational, logical, empirical evidence-based thinking and planning on the part of the Canadian political class when it comes to the environment and economic policies.
Dr. McKitrick argues that our “very high-level” decision-makers are churning out “extremely distorting” policies based on their false, alarmist environmental beliefs. The results of their scientific illiteracy and ideological alarmism are environmental over-regulation and “green” taxation overkill.
Reading between the lines, we’re in a big, fat, fake-green mess and heading for continued fiscal and economic misery.
The following is a partial transcription (bolding added for emphasis).
On illogical “green” taxes:
The trouble in the Canadian context is, the economic logic only works if they used “instead of,” and not on “on top of” a command-and-control regime….repeal the onerous regulations that we’ve already got in place, like for instance, the Green Energy Act in Ontario, and the federal ethanol mandate, and the proposed coal fadeout in Alberta.
Unless you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and work against those things in a very vocal way, you’re not really in a position to make a credible argument for green taxes in Canada.
Otherwise, it’s just going to be one thing piled on top of another.
On real and imaginary climate graphs:
The mayor of Montreal is so worried about the state of the environment that he’s leading a campaign to block the Energy East pipeline from reaching Montreal, presumably because he thinks that the contents of that pipeline will be damaging to the local environment. He has in mind, I guess, a graph like this, except that it would slope up instead of sloping down, and lots of other graphs, presumably in his imagination, that slope up rather than sloping down.
If you want to see what all the other graphs look like, I’ve put them online at a website called yourenvironment.ca. It’s very easy to navigate. You can look up the complete air quality records for every city in Canada, and lots of other information besides—climate information, CO2 emissions, all sorts of stuff.
On regulatory overkill and pipeline blockades:
Once you get a handle on what’s actually happened to the environment in Canada, you’re going to think the problem is a little different. It’s regulatory overkill.
We’re at a point where we have controlled conventional air pollutants to an extremely low level in Canada, and yet we’re seeing an acceleration of new and extremely distorting policies, including the various attempts to blockade all pipeline development and keep the western fossil fuel reserves in the ground.
On false environmental thinking embedded in high-level decision-makers:
I can only conclude that a lot the decision-makers—and this kind of thinking is embedded at very high levels—have in mind a completely false picture of the Canadian environment. They’ve been convinced that it’s much worse than it is and that the trends are going in different directions.
On irrational, ideological environmental alarmism:
The real target today is environmental alarmism. It’s this irrational but popular ideology that the environment is bad and getting worse, that we face an emergency and that we have to take radical measures.
It’s easy to defeat once you start showing people the data, and it’s easy to defeat if you can get a hearing for the idea that if you get specific about what you’re really talking about, we can measure these things. In fact, we do measure them, and in Canada we have decades and decades worth of measurements. So you can get the discussion on a very rational footing.
On the phony “97% consensus”:
We should encourage people to discuss the science, and we do it in a deep way—and not with the slogans like the “97% consensus,” which is another one of these phony statistics that emerges.
On huge regulatory overkill and unnecessary coal phase-outs:
What we need to do is to get people to think clearly about what it is they are talking about. Are you concerned about air pollution? Well, we have the data on all the major air contaminants. We can measure it, this is what it looks like…It’s not one big thing. It’s a lot of little things and most of them are actually being handled very effectively by our current regulatory systems in Canada.
There isn’t a huge opening to come in with some silver bullet like emission taxes that are going to have a big effect on the state of the environment…
We have a problem of overkill in some areas, including, for instance, the coal phase-out in Ontario. That was a huge overkill in response to the air emissions issue…They didn’t need to phase out those coal-fired power plants. But it’s the alarmism that made it impossible to have that debate at the time.
On “extreme weather” fibs:
When governments start to hauling out the issue of extreme weather, there is nothing mainstream about that kind of science. The mainstream science, including the IPCC, does not draw a connection between greenhouse gas emissions and extreme weather events. So, politicians need to be called on that sort of thing.
On climate propaganda and browbeating:
And also, finally, don’t overstate the challenge. I was struck this week by research that came out of Yale University, that even after all these years of propaganda and browbeating, Canadians are roughly evenly-split on whether global warming is mostly anthropogenic, but so is the scientific community…Once you try to move to something more specific than that—like, is it the most? or if it is responsible, is it even a problem?— that’s where that kind of consensus breaks down. So don’t overstate the problem!
On false beliefs:
You need to understand that the problem is actually alarmism, and the raft of false beliefs, and not the need for little tweaks to the tax code.
Watch Dr. McKitrick’s whole presentation here, starting at :19.
People living in the Ontario’s large urban centres may not realize to what extent the Liberals, by means of undemocratic fiat, have imposed massive, invasive industrialization on rural Ontario. In many cases it has happened against the will of communities and people.
The Liberals’ Green Energy Act and its companion, the Environmental Review Tribunal—a toothless kangaroo court for any person or organization NOT a wind energy proponent—rob municipalities and property owners of their rights and any fair chance to prevent wind companies, mostly foreign-owned, from riding roughshod over their land and property values, wildlife and environmental protections, and human and livestock health concerns, never mind from visually polluting and despoiling the natural beauty of the Ontario landscape.
To make matters worse, none of the Liberals’ totalitarian-like “green” “renewable” energy push has made any economic sense, as was again confirmed by the Auditor General of Ontario Annual Report 2015, and in fact would appear to be willful appropriation and squandering of taxpayer money and the deliberate imposition of astronomical electricity costs to consumers and business:
Expensive wind and solar energy—We calculate that electricity consumers have had to pay $9.2 billion…more for renewables over the 20-year contract terms under the Ministry’s current guaranteed-price renewable program than they would have paid under the previous program…We found that the prices under Ontario’s guaranteed-price renewable program were…double the market price for wind and three and a half times the market price for solar energy in 2014.
Watch this video—industrial wind turbines in southwestern Ontario, near Shelburne—and weep.
Dirty secrets of the Ontario Liberals’ wind power scam: What you need to know from DownWind, the Sun News documentary
THE ONTARIO LIBERALS’ GREEN ENERGY ACT HAS DONE SERIOUS AND IRREVERSIBLE HARM TO PEOPLE, WILDLIFE, THE ENVIRONMENT
- Rural people in Ontario living in the midst of 50-storey-high industrial wind turbines have been badly hurt, even seriously and irreversibly harmed, with respect to mental and physical health and safety, property values (loss of 10-48% or even 100%), livelihood, way of life, community harmony. Some families have had to leave their homes on the advice of doctors.
- Farmers have noticed that wind turbines drive out earthworms due to electrical surge charges and vibrations. This reduces the quality of the soil. “Food production will go down.”
- The wind turbines’ 800-ton concrete bases, of which some of the material is toxic, go 50 feet down, far enough to hit aquifers.
- Livestock productivity, such as that of dairy cattle, is adversely affected.
- Birds are slaughtered by wind turbines.
THE LIBERALS HAVE PRESIDED OVER ABROGATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS AND BULLYING BY WIND COMPANIES
- “The provincial government wants these things and they’re going to come no matter what we do.”
- “(As high as) 140-50 storey buildings – you don’t even have that in Toronto. We’re talking 1,800 turbines up and down the shoreline (of Lake Huron), on some of the most productive farmland in all of Ontario. My God, what are you people thinking? Don’t tell us from your condo that the green thing is so great that we’re going to force it on you.”
- The Liberals’ Green Energy Act supersedes/overrides 21 pieces of legislation including the Clean Water Act, acts that protect the Niagara Escarpment and Oak Ridges Moraine, the Heritage Act.
- All Ontario government ministries have turned a deaf ear to complaints and concerns communicated to “every arm of the Ontario government when they asked for help. The wind companies do whatever they want.”
- The Liberals’ Green Energy Act strips municipalities of their planning powers. More than 80 communities have declared themselves to be unwilling hosts.
THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED AGAINST WIND TURBINE VICTIMS
- Wind turbines “are imposed on people and they are getting no choice. That begs the question of whether it’s Charter-compliant, whether it complies with constitutional principles to put these people through these things without being assured of a certain level of safety. No one should be subjected to a reasonable risk of harm.”
- There have been more than 20 Environmental Review Tribunal hearings of appeals and all of them were dismissed. One was allowed but appealed in Ontario Divisional Court where the wind developer prevailed. “The process they’ve created is so imbalanced and so weighted in favour of the wind turbine companies it’s as if they wrote the legislation. It’s embarrassing.”
LIBERALS GOT IN BED WITH GREEN NGOS, WIND INDUSTRY, BAY STREET LAWYERS TO WRITE THE GREEN ENERGY ACT
- “They all sat down and worked up the language they wanted in the legislation and built a campaign around it. You got the complete package: the PR side, the legislation drafting, the program to re-educate the public service, the whole momentum going, the Toronto Star editorial page cranking out a regular drumbeat – coal bad, wind good.”
WIND POWER IS FAR FROM CLEAN
- “When they talk about displacing coal-fire power plants in Ontario with wind, that’s not actually what happens. As they add wind capacity to the system, they are displacing nuclear and hydro and those are non-emitting sources. And you have to remember that whenever you see a wind turbine, there is a gas-fire power plant running in the background to balance out the load fluctuations. So it’s always a wind and gas combination. They’re replacing emissions-free hydro and nuclear with a combination of wind and gas and we’ll actually end up with higher emissions of pollution …”
- “So you’re paying for a wind turbine to turn, and you’re paying for a gas plant to idle. You’re paying double most of the time. It’s asinine.”
THE LIBERALS HAVE USED JUNK SCIENCE TO MISLEAD THE PUBLIC
- Air pollution levels in Ontario have declined steadily since 1974, but the Liberals claimed in 2009 when the Green Energy Act came into force that there was a rising air pollution crisis. “But they knew perfectly well that air pollution had been trending downward right across the board.”
- Most particulate matter emissions come not from coal power generation, as the Liberals claimed, but from construction, industry, agriculture, and most of all from dust from unpaved roads.
- “There’s no question that there’s been an effort to demonize coal.”
BILLIONS OF YOUR DOLLARS WASTED ON LIBERAL BOONDOGGLES
- Ontario electricity costs are the highest in North America as a result of the Liberals’ Green Energy Act.
- “Wind turbines don’t run on wind, they run on subsidies.”
- They replace power that costs 3-5 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh) with wind power that costs 13.5 cents per kwh to generate.
- “Nobody was building wind turbines in Ontario until the government started throwing money at it. It’s not cost effective. Wind turbines can’t compete on a wholesale market without a lot of government support.”
- Wind companies get 20-year contracts to sell wind power at far above market rates.
- “The system has to buy power whenever wind companies produce it” whereas standard power producers (nuclear, hydro) have to compete on the wholesale market.
- Ontario lost $1 billion selling excess power in 2013 to neighbouring jurisdictions – “How stupid is that?”
- The cost of the Green Energy Act to date is $4-5 billion, or 70 times the cost of retrofits recommended in 2005, to get equivalent environmental benefits. (Some estimates say the Green Energy Act costs so far are closer to $8 billion.)
- Before the Green Energy Act, Ontario had a few large power plants with the grid optimized to source the power. Now we have “tiny, little unreliable” wind facilities that required a new grid, putting an “extra cost to get something we already had – it increased the costs of having what you had before.”
- “There were far smarter ways of creating energy. If we had done nothing except put the most advanced scrubbers on our coal plants we would actually have had as clean air as we do today.”
THE LIBERALS FAILED TO PERFORM DUE DILIGENCE, OR UPHOLD THEIR FIDUCIARY DUTY
- The Liberal government has to date done no cost benefit analysis, and no health study.
- The much-anticipated Health Canada two-year, $2 million research study of the adverse health effects of wind turbines is due in December of this year. However, it will apparently not establish causation or have conclusive results.
- The 550-metre set-back for siting industrial wind turbines from homes, established by the Ontario government, is arbitrary and was not based on any research.
- In her current election campaign ads, Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne says she believes “government should be a force for good in people’s lives.” In her campaign she claims “I believe there is only one good reason to enter politics, and that is to help people,” yet the documentary showed her not to have had the basic decency to stop to listen when she was approached by industrial wind turbine victim Norma Schmidt.
FLAGRANT CONFLICT OF INTEREST – LIBERAL FRIENDS CASHING IN
- Mike Crawley, erstwhile president of the Ontario Liberal party, a former senior aide to former premier Dalton McGuinty, was at the same time CEO of a major wind developer that was proposing four or five projects in Ontario. In 2004 he was awarded a contract worth $475 million, in addition to others.
FEAR AND COWARDICE – INDUSTRY INSIDERS ARE AFRAID TO SPEAK OUT
- People in the system have not dared to speak out.
- “There were people in the power generation sector who understood that the government numbers were not correct and did not add up, but they were effectively muzzled. The people that work in the power sector know that this is a crazy system. These wind farms are displacing hydro-electricity, which is just a waste on every level. The hydro-electricity plants don’t generate any air pollution emissions. They give us reliable, predictable base load power and now we let (them) sit idle.”
- “So people who work in the sector, they can see what is going on and they know that this is a waste but for understandable reasons they are not about to make a big noise about it because they could lose their jobs if they do.”
- “Our electricity system, to the people that run it, has become a joke, and they dare not raise a finger to oppose it.”
- “The electricity industry professionals will see the wasted generation … and their response is ‘so long as we have a blank cheque to keep the lights on, it’s all good.’ “
There is much, much more to learn and be alarmed and outraged about in this documentary film, which runs 1 hour, 36 minutes and may be purchased for $9.99 and downloaded.
UPDATE: The full documentary Down Wind is now available on YouTube. Click here.
THE LIBERALS “HAVE GOT TOO MUCH INVESTED TO ADMIT THE ERROR”
In the upcoming Ontario election on June 12, any vote for the Liberals would appear to be one in favour of propping up a government that has proven itself to be working to enrich its cronies with the province’s treasure, not one that is interested in the welfare of the people it is mandated to serve, or in nurturing the economic health of the province.