There has been more than a little criticism lobbed in the direction of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and his government’s sudden about-face on a controversial plan to build a new gas plant in Oakville.
To his credit, the impacted area’s MPP, Kevin Flynn, a Liberal, saw the folly of the proposal – given that it was only 400 metres from homes and schools as one example – and protested against his own party, which is something that is becoming less common.
Officially, the province cited two reasons for the decision: 1) Energy consumption is down. 2) They have other areas that can feed the grid.
On the surface, the government’s explanation makes zero sense. To wit, if energy consumption is down, why are other projects necessary?
And, behind door No. 2 is the burning question: Is rural Ontario’s landscape being sacrificed in an erstwhile effort to pretend the provincial government cares about eliminating coal-burning plants … one of its few promises in the 2006 election campaign that it seems to be bent on keeping?
In essence, the provincial government’s change of heart on the Oakville issue is circumspect on a number of fronts. In particular, it seems the government is intent on attempting to keep its GTA seats and by bowing to public pressure in this case, it might have earned some good tidings in the highly populated urban centres of Toronto.
One must wonder, too, what it will take – if there is indeed anything – for the government to undertake a comprehensive study on health and yes, economic, impacts of wind-turbine projects before its supposedly arm’s length agencies rubber stamp projects that will change this area’s beautiful landscape for at least two generations.
As polls have recently suggested, 75 per cent of Ontarians are ready to see a change in government. And given that this is one that seems to continuously ignore rural voices by alleging those opposing change are NIMBYists (while listening to NIMBYists in cities).
Furthermore, the plight of the Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society seems all the more unconscionable as it deals with society’s most vulnerable children and appears to be closing due to a $1.3 million deficit, and $870,000 in carried forward debt.
Why that is only the cost of two turbines.
The cost of cancelling the plant by the company contracted to do it? $1 billion.
The price of an early Liberal election campaign?
It looks like for us rural Ontarians, it is simply a matter of wait and see.
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