Support from public, farmers’ groups ‘sparks fire’ in Thompson
As the Ontario legislature voted down a private member’s motion 45-28 last Thursday to place a moratorium on industrial wind turbines until independent health studies can be done, the full public gallery stood up and turned their backs on the government, said Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson, who presented the motion.
“It was a respectful demonstration of disgust, in my opinion. The government turned their backs on the people of rural Ontario, so they turned their backs on the government. It was such a poignant vision,” she said during a phone interview last Thursday. She added that the Conservative caucus then gave the public gallery a standing ovation.
Thompson, who admitted the resulting vote was disappointing, said the support of busloads of people from Amherst Island, Haldimand-Norfolk and Huron-Bruce and over 1,500 emails sent from across the province to support the moratorium “sparked a fire in me.”
“We are trying to continue to have a strong voice for the people of rural Ontario,” she said.
Thompson said Patrick Jilesen and John Gillespie of the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture and Bill Palmer, Bethanee Jensen and Jennifer Small from the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario spoke during a press conference about their support for a moratorium on industrial wind turbines before the vote.
“They were real farmers stepping up to say this moratorium is needed,” she said.
Thompson pointed out that MPPs speaking against the moratorium all represented ridings in Toronto and that none of the NDP MPPs from rural ridings were in the legislature during the vote.
She said she thought her private member’s motion had a chance when she presented it.
“I thought I was in a position to deal with everyone’s better judgement,” she said.
While presenting her motion, Thompson said that it’s time for a moratorium when Ontario has a surplus of power.
“Will you do the honourable thing and recognize the will of thousands and thousands of people who have travelled to Queen’s Park today, signed petitions and sent emails to all of us here in this House supporting my moratorium? Will you do the honourable thing?” she asked.
“In Ontario, citizens living in Huron, Chatham–Kent–Essex, Dufferin, Bruce, Prince Edward, Grey, Haldimand and Norfolk counties, as well as Nepean–Carleton, to name just a few, have filed hundreds of complaints with the Ministry of the Environment regarding adverse health effects since wind turbines started operating,” said Thompson.
Energy Minister Chris Bentley responded that the Liberal government stands for clean air, clean energy and clean energy jobs while those supporting the moratorium do not.
“We stand for the health studies and the health advice from the medical officers of health of both Ontario and Canada, and countless other studies out there that make it clear that it is safe and that we’ve taken the appropriate steps. When I travel through rural Ontario, I see a heck of a lot of farmers and communities participating in the clean energy, green energy, clean air agenda that my friend opposite opposes,” he said.
Thompson said she and her colleagues in the Conservative party are not going to give up the fight.
“There’s a new fire in the entire caucus. More than ever, the people of Ontario are not being listened to by this government,” she said.
She added she will be attending a public meeting tonight (March 14) at 7 p.m. on industrial wind turbines in Atwood at the Elma Memorial Community Centre, hosted by Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece. The meeting is also expected to have Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, the Progressive Conservative critic for energy, in attendance.
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