Is Ontario still a democracy?

The appeal launched by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Gilead Power against the decision by the Environmental Review Tribunal to revoke approval of a wind power project at Ostrander Point begins this week, on January 21 before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In advance of the legal proceedings, the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists* have published this opinion on wind power development in Ontario.


Opinion from the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists
Authors:  Myrna Wood ( and Cheryl Anderson (
January 19, 2014
Citizens all across Ontario have been asking themselves this question. 

Over the past decade, municipalities and planners have participated in provincial programs to preserve our important natural heritage.  People have joined together to help by participating in planning for the Niagara Escarpment, Oak Ridges Moraine, and countless smaller areas.  They have contributed funds to conservancy and land trust organizations to allow the purchase and protection of significant natural areas.
In spite of all this, the Ontario government’s Green Energy Act has allowed developers to plow roughshod over important natural habitat. The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists will be in Divisional Court from Jan 21-24 to defend an Environmental Review Tribunal decision they won last July to stop an industrial wind turbine development at Ostrander Point Crown Land Block.  The Ministry of Environment and the developer, Gilead Power, are appealing the Tribunal ruling that halted the project.  Ostrander Point is in the centre of an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area that supports millions of migrating birds, bats and Monarch butterflies and Species at Risk, reptiles, plants and birds as well as areas of globally imperilled Alvar landscape.
Similarly, residents of Amherst Island, in eastern Lake Ontario, are fighting to stop the development of 37 industrial turbines covering the land famous for its ‘Owl Woods’ and the surrounding wetland staging areas for migrating shorebirds.
In the Niagara Peninsula, a 77 turbine project is threatening the security of 88 significant wetlands and 104 significant woodlands around Haldimand County.  Other projects propose more of these huge installations to cover the entire Niagara Peninsula.  Last year an active eagle nest was destroyed to make way for a turbine.
Wind turbines have been built in the Lake Huron migration corridor, on Manitoulin Island and projects are being proposed for the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Even the presence of Endangered Species does not stop these proposals. Permits to kill, harm and harass Species at Risk are issued to wind projects whenever they are found.  For instance last year over 30 permits were issued for Bobolinks and Meadowlarks, both on the Ontario Species at Risk and COSEWIC lists.  At the same time, the Ontario government has changed the regulations of the Endangered Species Act to exclude all major industries from even having to apply for permits to kill harm and harass Species at Risk.
Many of the new developments are not on farm fields or brownfields but are being proposed for Crown Lands such as Ostrander Point.  The provincial government has handed over our Crown Lands to power corporations without any consultation.  Public consultation is not required when a development is considered to be implementing a ‘higher level government decision’ such as fostering renewable energy.  However, when the government decided to shut down coal fired plants and try to replace that energy created with renewable energy it neglected to set aside significant wildlife habitats from development and corporations immediately moved onto areas that have been denied them for generations. 
Conservation was not considered in the new government policy.  Instead of supporting and investing in renewable energy technology for homeowners to lower our emissions, government handed over control of energy policy to corporations, many of them oil and gas companies.  Meanwhile, it has become clear that we do not need new power generation at all because the Canadian Press has reported that Ontario has had an electricity surplus since 2006.

more information at: or Cheryl Anderson 613-849-7743

*Wind Concerns Ontario was a Participant in the original proceedings.

Smithville letter writer: demand Premier Wynne stand by her word

Take up Premier Wynne on word and demand action on wind turbines

Grimsby Lincoln News

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment was created to protect the environment for wildlife and humans. However, the ministry is involved in approving green energy projects and is approving projects that are clearly detrimental to the environment, in particular the installation of industrial wind turbines across the Ontario countryside.
Why is the Ministry of the Environment condoning the sprawl of industrial wind turbines across our countryside in clear disregard for rural dwellers and our wildlife?     
Because the Ontario government has mandated it to do so, in order to fast track and push through these unpopular and financially unviable projects that the McGuinty government created.
Kathleen Wynne has said that she would re-think some portions of the Green Energy Act and specifically give back the authority of the Municipal Planning Act to municipalities that have declared themselves “unwilling hosts to industrial wind turbines”.
In June 2013, the British government took action to create a law to ensure that all municipalities had proper planning authority with respect to wind energy development.   
Where is the commitment from our Ontario government? When will we get some action to back up the promises by Kathleen Wynne? Why has our government specified industrial wind turbine setback distance from dwellings only 550 metres, when most countries have a setback of 2,000 metres, recognizing the negative effects that wind turbines have on the living conditions of people?
Kathleen Wynne has said, “we are working to bring people together to find common ground, because that’s what we do in Ontario.”
 So, we should all be demanding action now, by writing to Premier Wynne.  
Kathleen Wynne, Premier.   
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park,
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Sidney Thompson,

Wynne faces rough road in 2014: Ottawa Citizen

The Ottawa Citzen‘s Matthew Pearson lays out the challenges before Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne for 2014. Funny, despite the billions being spent on wind power, and the dramatically rising electricity rates which may be traced in part to renewable power sources, this issue is not mentioned.

Despite scandals, Wynne says government moving Ontario forward

By Matthew Pearson, Ottawa CitizenJanuary 1, 2014
Despite scandals, Wynne says government moving Ontario forward

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne looks back over her first 10 months in office and ahead to what 2014 will bring in a wide-ranging year-end interview with the Citizen.

OTTAWA — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has graced the province’s television and computer screens lately dressed in a Liberal red jacket, jogging through the peaceful countryside near Orangeville.
Her party may hope the ad instils confidence in voters; that it suggests the 60-year-old is training hard for the toughest race of all — a provincial election widely expected next spring.
But it could also be seen in a much different light, one in which Wynne is running from the scandals that continue to chase her minority government and mounting criticism that, after 10 months in the premier’s chair, there’s been a lot of talk and little action.
The last month alone has not been her government’s finest.
Consider the damning auditor general’s report that revealed a system of overly generous salaries, pensions and bonuses at the provincially owned utility Ontario Power Generation. Or the revelation that Chris Mazza, the embattled former CEO of the Ornge air ambulance service, collected $9.3 million in salaries and bonuses from the province over six years.
There was also a long-term energy plan that will see hydro rates increase by 50 per cent over the next decade and news out of southwestern Ontario that Heinz and Kellogg’s will both be closing factories, leaving nearly 1,300 people without jobs.
Even the recent announcement that Cisco has partnered with the province to create as many at 1,700 new jobs in Ontario — which came on the first day MPPs were back in their ridings for winter break — had some observers suggesting it was not a job creation plan but rather a government handout to a deep-pocketed technology giant.

Read the full story here.
Letters should be less than 300 words and preferably less.

Our wishes for 2014

On this, the eve of a new year, we would like to put forward a list of wishes for 2014.

We wish that the Ontario government would put people first and, recognizing that people want to do the “right thing,” stop punishing Ontario citizens for conserving power, and instead support innovations for power conservation and generation that we can all use in our own homes. Many people would love to have home solar arrays, on-demand water heaters and geothermal systems—but these are out of reach. Meanwhile, billions in taxpayer dollars are going to huge corporations in subsidies for forms of power generation that are not fulfilling the promises made for them.

Wind Concerns Ontario is not “anti-wind” or “anti-green”–those are labels meant to demean us and the efforts of thousands of Ontario citizens who want only to protect their communities from industrialization by wind power plants.

We wish that the Ontario government, and specifically the Ministry of the Environment, would re-draft its regulations to actually protect the natural environment, including unique landscapes, and vulnerable wildlife such as migratory birds, turtles, and bats. Bats may not be cute but they are critical to a healthy environment, for everyone.

We wish Ontario’s public health officials would take seriously the noise complaints being filed by the hundred in Ontario communities forced to host industrial-scale wind power generation facilities, and follow up on these complaints. The Ministry of the Environment sure isn’t. And, while you’re at it, recognize that infrasound from these turbines is just as harmful as it is from other sources. This environmental health problem is not going away.

We wish the Ontario government would do a cost-benefit analysis on power generation from wind, and include impact studies on local economies and residents of the communities. Many communities asked for this to be done pre-Green Energy Act, but it never was; the Auditor-General said in 2011 this was a major shortcoming…it remains uncorrected.

We wish the entire energy sector could be de-politicized and that the credo of Sir Adam Beck was once again respected: electricity should be available and affordable for everyone.

Wind Concerns Ontario will continue working for justice for Ontario’s small and rural communities, and for those people in Ontario who have had their health and their financial stability affected through the forced installation of expensive and unnecessary wind power generation projects.

It is our hope that Ontario can return to a state of economic health, and to being our home, where the rights of citizens are respected, our heritage preserved, and the beauty of our natural environment cherished and protected.

Best wishes to all for 2014.

Jane Wilson and Parker Gallant
and the Board of Directors, Wind Concerns Ontario

We return January 2nd.

Globe and Mail: “Ontario’s energy fiasco”

Here from today’s Globe and Mail, a scathing review of Ontario’s energy management portfolio, which is a rather dignified way of describing a complete and total failure.

Globe editorial

Ontario is tilting at the wrong windmills

The Globe and Mail
Last updated

In Ontario, the generation and pricing of electricity have become a never-ending story of confusion, secrecy, illogic and rising costs. The only thing that can be banked on with certainty is the rising cost. Earlier this month, the Liberal government released its latest long-term energy plan, an attempt to water down the cost-escalation brought on by the 2009 Green Energy Act – the gift that keeps on cooling the provincial economy and warming the opposition at Queen’s Park. The government is now promising residential electricity rate increases of 9.6 per cent next year, 5.8 per cent in 2015 and 15 per cent in 2016. Ten years from now, the average family’s bill will be 50 per cent more than today.

Read more here.

Power bill costs turning political opinion on wind power

Wind power costs turning the political tide

Posted on

This is from today’s Toronto Star. While Martin Regg Cohn still doesn’t “get it” (he still think resistance to wind power plants is “NIMBYism”) he at least has opened his eyes to the numbers and the economic cost to Ontario.

Ontario tilts against wind turbines as costs spiral: Cohn

Economics, more than politics, is causing the greatest drag on wind power as Liberals look for light at the end of the wind tunnel.

Resistance to wind turbines in Ontario emanated mostly from rural residents and was quickly exploited by opposition politicians eager to steal Liberal seats.
Resistance to wind turbines in Ontario emanated mostly from rural residents and was quickly exploited by opposition politicians eager to steal Liberal seats.
By:  Provincial Politics, Published on Tue Dec 10 2013
Who would have imagined Ontario as Ground Zero for the global anti-wind movement, pitting people power against wind power? Instead of a low-carbon environment, the governing Liberals generated a highly toxic political environment.
Yet it is economics, more than politics, that is causing the greatest drag on wind power today. Diminishing returns have prompted the Liberals to tilt against wind turbines.
The pace of future wind expansion will be scaled back over the next 20 years, according to the Long Term Energy Planreleased this month by the government. The latest plan is a belated admission that previous energy plans were off target.
To understand how much the Liberals miscalculated, it’s worth looking at another report that preceded this one. Prepared for influential clients in the energy industry by global consulting firm IHS-CERA, the title of this private study says it all: “Too Much, Too Fast — The Pace of Greening the Ontario Power System.”
It treats our wind turbines as a case study on how greening the power system can plunge it into the red. A cautionary tale for international clients, the report would have been essential reading for provincial energy planners as they looked for the light at the end of our wind tunnel:
“What happened in Ontario . . . provide(s) universal lessons regarding how a simple, appealing, but unrealistic idea can intersect with the political process and set in motion environmental policies that run counter to the underlying costs and complexity of the electric power sector.”

Read the full story here.

Scott Stinson: Liberal gov’t forgets it’s achieved nothing

Scott Stinson: Ontario Liberals celebrate energy plan with forecast — appear to forget they’ve achieved almost nothing

| | Last Updated: 02/12/13 6:42 PM ET
More from Scott Stinson | @scott_stinson
Liberal Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli
Matthew Sherwood / The Canadian Press Liberal Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli

There is a distinct whiff of futility in trying to assess the impact of Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan, if only because the governing Liberals have released 20-year forecasts for the province’s electricity demand, supply and costs in 2007, 2010 and again on Monday, three years after the last one.
Suggested slogan: This Time We Mean It.
But, to the extent that the government has released this version of the LTEP to celebrate all that has taken place in the energy sector in the past few years, with an eye toward championing those accomplishments during an expected spring election campaign, it is worth examining what the Liberals have to be triumphant about.
Short answer: Not much.
The document released by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli makes conservation the government’s central energy goal, a position that is  dramatically undermined by the fact the province’s regulated time-of-use residential electricity rates just jumped by 7.5% for the off-peak hours of the day. The rates increased the most, in fact, for off-peak times, which sends a strange signal when trying to convince consumers to switch their energy use to periods of low demand.
The other main thrust of the new-new plan, which expects total energy production in Ontario to increase not much at all over the next 20 years, is that consumers will continue to see electricity bills rise steadily — although, as the Liberals say, not as sharply as they were expected to increase. This counts as progress….
Read the full story here.

Ontario’s power system needs change, not blame

Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli released a new Long Term Energy Plan at Queen’s Park today. The result? Nothing much has changed. Unfortunately.

  The “new” plan maintains the same targets for wind power development, just to be accomplished within a longer time frame. That’s bad news for ratepayers and taxpayers affected by higher electricity rates as a result of the province’s push for “green” power.
   “Ontario never did a cost-benefit analysis for wind power, but now we know what the costs are,” said Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson.
   “Very little power produced, power produced out of phase with demand, and few of the thousands of jobs promised. At the same time, the costs are skyrocketing electricity rates, plummeting property values, and absolute tyranny through industrialization of Ontario’s rural communities with huge wind power plants.”
   Wilson noted that the Energy Minister’s response to criticism about electricity rates is to produce a new website that featured a tutorial on how consumers can better use electricity.
  “That was pure insult,” she said, “especially to rural residents forced to pay horrendous delivery charges for power, and who are already doing all they can to conserve while the government continues with policies that drive up costs.
   “We need change, not blame.”
Wind power by the numbers:

  • ·         Currently 3,700 megawatts of wind power under contract but not yet connected to the grid– could mean another $1 billion per year to Ontario costs or $250 to average ratepayer’s bill annually
  • ·         Over 6,700 huge industrial wind turbines are already built or are proposed for Ontario
  • ·         76 Ontario communities have declared themselves “Not A Willing Host” to wind power project
  Contact Wind Concerns Ontario at