A recent moratorium on off-shore wind turbine projects is likely cold comfort for locals calling for a similar moratorium on land-based wind turbines. The off-shore moratorium was announced in February, with the government citing the need for more scientific studies on the environmental impact of the projects. While on-shore wind turbines are widely considered to be safe, with supporters pointing to 40 years of health impact studies, a number of local organizations across the province are asking for a moratorium on new projects until additional studies can be done.
Tim Hudak, Niagara West MPP and leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives, is among those calling for moratorium on on-shore wind farm projects. Hudak’s own riding will be home to some of Ontario’s largest wind farms. In a stormy debate at Ontario’s Legislature on Feb. 24, Hudak accused Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid of jockeying for votes.
“You have declared a moratorium so you can save your own seat in Scarborough when it comes to offshore projects. People know what this is all about. You made a decision to save your own skin,” said Hudak during Question Period on Feb. 24. “You had the gall to say to the people in Smithville… that if they opposed the projects, they were NIMBYs. You had the gall to say they couldn’t stand up for what they believed in and that the Premier knew best. Well, there’s a new phrase for you, Minister; it’s called NIMSIAR: not if my seat is at risk. That’s why you made your decision on offshore energy plans.”
Minister Duguid referred to Hudak as a “nowhere man,” and said the Tories had yet to present a viable alternative to the Liberal energy plan.
“John Lennon said it right: The Leader of the Opposition is the nowhere man of Ontario politics and, day after day, he confirms this status. He sits on the sidelines and chirps at our efforts to reverse his legacy of an energy system left in shambles, but he hides from Ontario families when they ask him what his alternative is,” said Duguid. “The nowhere man is nowhere on getting off of coal and building a cleaner, healthier future for our kids and grand kids. He’s nowhere on what he’s going to do with the thousands of clean energy jobs that we’re creating.”
In a statement to press following the debate, Hudak said the province was ignoring the concerns of rural Canadians.
“Dalton McGuinty put the concerns of fish and birds ahead of Ontario families when he backtracked on his offshore industrial wind farms. He needs to put a moratorium on all these industrial wind farms until communities and local families can have their say,” Hudak said.
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