The Sierra Club has always had a pleasantly avuncular image — nice folks in L.L. Bean pants, counting birds on the Bruce Peninsula.
How things change.
Until recently, Sierra Club of Canada executive director John Bennett was best known for his opposition to the recycling of nuclear generators by Bruce Power. Here’s what Bennett said last winter, after the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission signed off on the shipment of used nuclear generators to Sweden: “I think the chances for a major nuclear accident have just increased several-fold.”
Meantime, the medical officer of health for Bruce-Grey, Dr. Hazel Lynn, said she had no worries about the shipment, echoing the nuclear safety commission and every respectable independent scientist or engineer queried about this issue. Hmm.
Now, activist Bennett has set his sights on the wind debate — specifically, those who oppose industrial wind turbines on grounds they may harm human health. “I think what happens is that people have aesthetic responses to this and then they go looking for arguments,” he told skeptical politicians in Bruce County recently.
He continued: “They are being told they are inefficient. That’s not true. They are being told they have no say where they go. That’s not true. So when you lie to people and get them excited and you do have some people that have health problems you get a reaction like that.”
What planet is this man on?
Wind turbines are, in fact, inefficient — because the wind often doesn’t blow. Ontarians in rural areas do not have a say in where they go — because the province unilaterally seized planning authority for turbines under the Green Energy Act. These are facts. Bennett accuses opponents of industrial wind energy of lying. About what part, precisely, are we lying?
Here’s what’s happening now, in Ontario: The taxpayer-subsidized industrial wind industry, midwifed by the McGuinty Liberals, is in a panic at the prospect of its patrons losing power. Its lobby group, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, is pulling out all the stops to persuade Ontarians that this naked emperor is, in fact, wearing a tuxedo.
The truth: McGuinty and his ideologues rammed this policy down the throats of rural Ontarians. The Liberals now plan to cover the province’s most pristine areas with 50-storey concrete towers, with no regard to the rights or concerns of the people who live in their shadow.
That is wrong. Calling it right doesn’t change it.