Thursday, 1 December 2011

Bill 10, the Wind Turbine Abolition Act

The Intellingencer

Bill 10, the Local Municipality Democracy Act, was introduced today as a private members bill by MPP Todd Smith of Prince Edward Hastings.  It might as well have been called the Wind Turbine Abolition Act.  

If you didn't know what the Bill was about, you might think that it was bringing democracy to those poor, small municipalities governed by dictatorial regimes or government appointees.  In fact, it's a Bill that was totally focussed on two or three clauses in the Green Energy Act that govern the control of wind turbines and other renewable energy sources.  The Bill was designed to firmly give that control to the municipalities, specifically those NIMBY municipalities that don't want wind turbines.  Municipalities like Prince Edward Hastings, home to weekenders from Toronto and Ottawa - and MPP Todd Smith. 

John Laforet, former President of Wind Concerns Ontario, posted a blog on the Huffington Post that seemed to read more like a personal biography or CV than a manifesto.  And, why is Mr. Laforet the former President?  On the day before the election he was the President.  A few days later, he wasn't.

Here's an extraction from that blog:

The Green Energy Act has done a lot of damage to communities in rural Ontario. Neighbours aren't speaking, people are getting sick, citizens have been compelled to go to great lengths to resist the fundamentally anti-democratic approach. As a consequence, your government has only been able to approve 12 wind turbines under the regulations that the Green Energy Act brought in over two years ago.
This paragraph is internally inconsistent.  Laforet blames the Green Energy Act for all sorts of damages (e.g. discord, sickness and civil disobedience).  And yet he says that this has come from 12 wind turbines?
Sounds to me like symptoms of self-induced hysteria, not turbines.

If you want an in-depth description of how the Green Energy Act is actually stronger than the patchwork collection of municipal bylaws that preceded it, read this document from the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association.

Municipalities under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEGEA) do have significant powers. 
In fact with only 1MW of wind constructed since the Act was passed, those examining the facts should recognize that
large wind developments now in operation were developed under the old Planning Act.

The truth is that the province-wide Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) process is open and transparent, requiring a more rigorous and cohesive process than the red tape heavy patchwork approach of the past.
Unfortunately a few municipalities appear to be hiding behind the province politically, rather than using the
tools and powers provided by the GEGEA.
John Laforet closes his blog by saying:

Tens of thousands of rural Ontarians will be watching on Thursday, I hope for everyone's sake they will see their Premier standing in support of local democracy.
Apparently, there weren't too many people watching, even from MPP Todd Smith's party.  

The Bill was defeated 45-32.  

I don't have the underlying vote count by party but here was the seat count after the election:

Liberal 53
PC 37
NDP 17

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