Local NDP MP Jean Rousseau has been ‘on the case’ when it comes to the controversial wind turbine project in Derby Line. According to a press release, last Thursday he met with Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird to discuss what actions to take concerning the wind turbines near the Canada-US border at Stanstead. The private meeting took place in Ottawa following a request by the Compton-Stanstead MP and his insistence during comments in the House of Commons. Mr. Rousseau was supported by representatives for NDP experts on the issue Brian Masse, official opposition critic for the Canada-US border, and Paul Dewar, foreign affairs critic.
Jean Rousseau reported that he was satisfied with the meeting: “This shows that with a little good will we can work together in the House of Commons to help citizens. I hope that Conservative MPS in Quebec will be inspired by this example of cooperation between the two main parties in the House of Commons.”
Rousseau’s team is also in constant contact with Mayor Dutil. “Things are going in the right direction. Minister Baird agreed in the House of Commons to work with me to protect the interests of the citizens of Stanstead. So far, we are seeing an openness and a real will. It remains to be seen whether it will lead to the desired results,” Mr. Rousseau commented.
The work continued on Friday when NDP MP Jean Rousseau and the Mayor of Stanstead, Philipple Dutil, met the United States Consul General, Andrew C. Parker, in Stanstead, to discuss the project. The private meeting took place near the planned location where wind turbines may be installed by the firm Encore Redevelopment. Mr. Dutil and Mr. Rousseau also took the time to make citizens’ concerns known, notably because of the proximity of the American project to residences on the Canadian side of the border.
“The residents of Stanstead have always lived in harmony with their American neighbours in Derby Line. We must not allow one project like this to harm the spirit of collaboration between our communities. This is the message that we want to give to the Consul General,” said the two Quebec officials after the meeting.
“It went well,” they added. “Mr. Parker listened to us. We’re hopeful that our message was heard and that he’ll work with American authorities so that the situation in Stanstead can be resolved.”
In an interview with the Stansteaad Journal, Mr. Rousseau added these comments: “The main thing we talked about was that when the Vermont Public Service Board held their hearings, the Canadian citizens were not there. We wanted to know why the Canadians were not considered. The real work has to be done through the Vermont Public Service Board because they are the ones who will make the decisions. Now Mr. Parker understands why we’re concerned.”
The Vermont Public Service Board was supposed to hold its next public meeting on the topic in May or June, but that meeting has been postponed to sometime in August. “The towns of Stanstead are at least now recognized to be part of the process,” said Mr. Rousseau.
“Now citizens have to get organized and put together a dossier and help out Mr. Dutil and his team. I’ll be making sure that the Federal and Provincial governments are also speaking to each other about this project,” he added.
Today, Mr. Rousseau is meeting with mayor Dutil and Conservative MP Jacques Gourde, from Levis, to further discuss the issue. “This is a non-partisan problem; we just need to work together to do something,” concluded Mr. Rousseau.
The Vermont Public Service Board will make a final decision on whether or not to allow Encore Redevelopment to erect the wind turbines in Derby Line in October of this year.