Kathleen Wynne knows her policies will hurt places like Ostrander Point, Milford, Amherst Island, South Kent, Finch and dozens of other rural communities across this province. It’s possible her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, so blinkered by his feverish quest for a green legacy, was unable to conceive the consequences of wiping away the safeguards that protect endangered species, migratory flyways, and the very health of rural Ontarians.
But not so with Kathleen Wynne. She knows her polices are putting rural communities at risk—that perhaps Ontario’s last Blanding’s turtle might be crushed out of existence, that fungus combined with massive turbine blades, spinning at 70 metres per second at the tip, might swat the last little brown bat out of Ontario’s skies.
She knows that Prince Edward County, Amherst Island and Wolfe Islands exist in one of the most heavily travelled bird pathways on the planet and that erecting an expanding bulwark of spinning avian dicers on our shores is a terrible hazard for the millions of birds that cross Lake Ontario each year.
She knows that some folks find living under industrial wind turbines intolerable— that the noise and relentless vibrations makes them sick.
She knows the harm her policies cause. Yet she pushes ahead anyway. Without regard. It is unforgivable.
It is why folks from all across the province will gather in Picton on Sunday. To march in protest against a provincial government and its leader who has turned her back on rural communities—who has decided the health and well being of residents and species are expendable in the service of her personal ambition.
When she was running for the leadership of her party, Kathleen Wynne knew what was at stake at Ostrander Point. She knew the plight of the Blanding’s turtle, the risk to the sensitive alvar habitat and the endangered eastern whip-poor-will. She knew that red-tailed hawks and short-eared owls, once common on Wolfe Island, had all but disappeared from the western half of the island after 87 industrial wind turbines were erected there. She had been well briefed.
While her contenders mouthed bland and poorly considered slogans about a green agenda, Wynne understood the potential harm of the Green Energy Act—she knew the risk of unleashing wind and solar developers into rural Ontario, unfettered by public health, environmental and natural resource protections.
She knew, too, that municipal leaders and planners were irate at being cut out of the decision-making process—that in doing so she was turning her back on a constituency who could help her refine plans to better fit into their communities. She knew she was turning potential allies into fierce opponents.
She knew all this, yet Kathleen Wynne made a decision to use the Green Energy Act as a battering ram—against nature, vulnerable species, communities and residents of rural Ontario.
For no good end. Long ago she must have realized the dream, the plans and ambition had gone terribly sour.
Kathleen Wynne knows that spending the better part of a billion dollars on a gas generating plant at Amherstview—adjacent to an existing gas and oil generating facility that sits idle 98 per cent of the time—is a terrible and useless waste of taxpayer dollars. She knows, too, that erecting 26 even-moreuseless wind turbines on tiny Amherst Island, in the shadow of all this unused electricity generating capacity is an obscene political fiasco. Further, Wynne knows her policy will destroy the idyllic pastoral landscape of this island and decimate the beasts that find shelter on it.
She knows, too, how little wind and solar energy is powering Ontario’s toasters and refrigerators and how much this wee fraction of electricity is bleeding the province’s treasury. Wynne knows the unremitting hardship her electricity bills are causing families and seniors in every community in this province.
Had these policies worked, Kathleen Wynne might have justified her hard-hearted ruthlessness as a necessary evil. She might have even been able to persuade some that wiping out an endangered species or two was worth a cleaner energy source.
But she can’t. Yes, coal plants have been idled, but that electricity generating capacity has been replaced by gas generation—not wind and solar. Yet billions of dollars continue to be forked over each year to developers with nothing at stake but their own profitability. Their contribution to the province’s electrical grid, meanwhile, after accounting for curtailment (paying developers to turn off their supply) and exports, is likely close to zero.
Kathleen Wynne can’t stop now. To do so would be to admit failure. So, we must stop her. We must make rural voices heard across the province—loud enough so that Kathleen Wynne can ignore us no longer.
That is why we must gather in Picton’s Main Street next Sunday at 1 p.m. It is our duty to rise up against a government that knows its policies are hurting people, devastating nature and serving no good purpose.
Dalton McGuinty was driven by ideological conviction. Kathleen Wynne has no such excuse. She knows the damage her policies are causing across rural Ontario. She just doesn’t care. She has made a coldhearted political calculation.
That is why Kathleen Wynne must go.