MOECC, RES Canada discriminate against francophones in Eastern Ontario
May 31, 2018
We learned today from Sauvons La Nation/Save The Nation (one of the 30 community groups in our coalition) that the wind power developer responsible for the Eastern Fields power project, RES Canada, has refused to provide documentation on the project in French.
La Nation, according to Statistics Canada, is about 70% francophone; the Township of Champlain’s francophone population is about 62%.
According to a spokesperson for Sauvons La Nation, RES Canada told community members it would cost too much to translate all the documentation.
RES Canada stands to make about $7 million a year from the 32-negawatt power project.
The MOECC translated a small portion of the documentation in the introduction but is alleged to have told the community, the documents aren’t really for the general public anyway.
Right now, Eastern Fields is currently posted on the Environmental Registry for comment. Residents have been asking for French documentation prior to the June 2nd deadline but to no avail. The result is, francophone residents who will be affected by the Eastern Fields project, for which there are significant environmental concerns, have been excluded from participating in the legislated public consultation process. The community has made its concern over this power project known in many ways, from presentations, public meetings that attracted hundreds, and hundreds of signatures on a petition taken to Queen’s Park.
Of all the ways the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has excluded the people of Ontario and abused rights to due process, this has surely got to be one of the most egregious.
Wind Concerns Ontario contacted the Senior Project Evaluator for Eastern Fields — she’s away.
We contacted an official in the Minister’s Office whose name was given to us — he’s away until after the election.
We also contacted the Office of the Human Rights Commission for Ontario: no response.
What the MOECC should do:
-require RES Canada to provide documentation in French
-provide it to the residents in the areas affected by Eastern Fields
-embark on a new 45-day comment period.
It was interesting the Ontario’s premier was in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell today, the riding in which Easter Fields would be built, if approved, and spoke about the importance of francophones in Ontario.
When it comes to wind power projects, apparently, francophone Ontarians can be ignored and discriminated against like everyone else in Ontario’s rural communities.