Opinion

Farm support is only in Dalton’s head

By Jim Merriam, Toronto Sun

Premier Dalton Mcguinty speaks at the Canadian Club of Toronto luncheon, January 24, 2012. (QMI Agency/Dave Abel)

Premier Dalton Mcguinty speaks at the Canadian Club of Toronto luncheon, January 24, 2012. (QMI Agency/Dave Abel)

Premier Dalton McGuinty told the legislature March 7, “Our single strongest group of supporters and champions for feed-in tariff in Ontario ... is Ontario farmers.”

It seems a lot of farmers missed the memo.

The feed-in tariff, by the way, is the part of the Dalton Gang’s green-energy plan, which is driving power prices through the roof.

On the subject of wind turbines, the most controversial segment of green energy, we have the following statement: “Escalating concerns about industrial wind turbines have prompted the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) to urge the province of Ontario to suspend further development until farm families and rural residents are assured that their interests are adequately protected.”

The OFA has 38,000 members.

In June 2010, the Ontario region of the National Farmers Union (NFU) said, “We believe the production of renewable energy must be under the control and ownership of farmers, rural communities and the broader public.

“The development of energy resources should not be left under the control of multinational corporations or private interests.”

Last month, the NFU fleshed out its position with this statement: “Rural communities must be able to set targets around the size, scale and ownership of projects and must have the option of refusing developments that do not benefit their communities ... and communities must have assurance the benefits will remain in the community in the future.”

The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO) is more receptive to green energy.

However, the CFFO also wants it to strengthen, rather than destroy, rural communities ­— as the current system is doing: “The CFFO is supportive of the concept of community-based power projects by the community for the community.”

So farm support seems to be another figment of McGuinty’s imagination.

(He should have received that message after the last election.)

Meanwhile, back on the farm, much of rural Ontario continues to be up in arms.

A number of residents attended the legislature recently to support Huron-Bruce Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa Thompson’s bid for a moratorium on turbine construction.

The following are excerpts from a report by one participant, who was more saddened than angered by the experience.

“Lisa Thompson’s bill was asking for nothing more than a hold on turbines, so we can begin to protect the health of rural families and stop the money hemorrhage to foreign corporations. It’s a sensible request.

“We filled the gallery behind the PCs in support of the bill. What stand out for me are some comments. A PC asked if any NDP or Liberal members had turbines in their ridings. A Liberal hollered out about subways in rural Ontario. Try to find the logic in that one.

“Peter Tabuns, NDP, read from a script that could have come straight from McGuinty himself ...”

The report goes on to say there was continuing denial that some people have real health problems because of turbines. It continues, “Liberals and NDP turned their backs on what is happening to us here again.

“Ten PCs were not even there to vote. We turned our backs to a Queen’s Park that has turned its back on rural Ontario. I was last to leave my section of the gallery. I heard someone from the floor yell, ‘You lost.’ I don’t know who said it. I don’t know who it was aimed at. I do know he can’t even begin to imagine the loss to so many out here.”

jmerriam@bmts.com


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