Residents of rural Ontario have as many different New Year’s wishes as there are different individuals.
Among them of course are wishes for continuing strength in commodity markets, cattle prices that hold up until this year’s stockers are sold next fall, improvement in other livestock markets and a reduction of input costs.
Although such wishes directly affect only those involved in agriculture, they have a huge impact on rural communities large and small that rely on the agricultural sector for their survival, whether they know it or not.
Although wishes vary, rural Ontario did speak with something close to one voice during last October’s provincial election.
And nothing has happened since to suggest the majority of residents north of Hwy. 7 would wish for anything more than they wanted back then – better government in 2012.
The concerns that face rural residents have been all but ignored by the Dalton Gang for the past eight years. In fact, when this government has decided to act, often it has been to the detriment of rural Ontario.
At the risk of blowing in the wind once too often, let me repeat that the single most important issue continues to be the wind factories that are springing up on farmland around the province.
There is compelling evidence that these turbines cause health problems for people living near them and their development certainly has meant the end to local control of planning.
Add to that the third-party support that has emerged for the proposition that the entire green power initiative was ill conceived by the province and that turbines are just one part of a poorly considered deal that makes serfs of rural Ontario residents.
Their masters are major offshore industrialists.
The third party that entered this fray is the province’s auditor-general.
As summarized by Senator Bob Runciman recently, the auditor general brought attention to a number of questions.
These include why the Ontario Energy Board and Ontario Power Authority – the two agencies supposedly responsible for power in the province – were excluded from negotiations leading to the $7-billion sweetheart deal Ontario signed with Samsung?
Why are there no cost-benefit analyses of that deal and the hundreds of other contracts under the feed-in tariff program that are driving costs higher than the turbines themselves?
Why were guidelines ignored and regulations violated in the rush to approve green energy projects?
Who came up with the Green Energy Act that eschews most normal government safeguards in favour of decisions from the offices of the premier and the minister of energy?
And on and on it goes.
Anyone seeking answers to these questions, or questioning turbine factories on farmland, runs the risk of being called “anti-green.”
The fact this is a superficial response to legitimate concerns seems to escape the critics.
Ontario has been sold a bill of goods with the Green Energy Act. And the invoice for it will be paid by every consumer of electricity in the province for generations to come.
But the invoice already has come due for residents of rural areas of the province that are being forced to accept whatever kind of wind factories Queen’s Park decides to ram down their throats.
In short it is a mess, both unsightly and unseemly. And it needs to be cleaned up.
In light of this fiasco, who can blame rural Ontario residents for wanting better government next year and into the future?
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding