Green Energy Act is provincial bullies in action

To the Expositor:

On Wednesday, December 14, I heard Dalton McGuinty giving a public address on CBC Radio. He spoke clearly and eloquently about bullying in schools. He stated that the actions of bullies needs to be taken seriously and responded to in school communities, so that all learners in these communities can be safe.

I share his belief that bullies need to be dealt with head-on for the safety and well-being of all to be ensured. Throughout life, we are all learners who deserve to have safe space to find out and speak about the aspects of the world which affects us.

In a recent conversation with someone who helped to write the Green Energy Act, I heard that it was based on dreams and ideals. There was the desire to support communities in moving into healthier forms of harvesting and using energy for human activities without the huge cost to the Earth of our current energy systems. Unfortunately, the Green Energy Act has become a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Appearing to be gentle and innocent, it has become the legal front for large corporations to do as they please, regardless of community preferences and perspectives.

I invite Mr. McGuinty and the members of his cabinet to have another reflective look at how this act is perpetuating the dominance of a select few corporations, over legitimate concerns consistently articulated by individuals and community groups. Under the Green Energy Act, corporations have little legal obligation to respond to community concerns or to significantly modify or withdraw their plans from an unwilling local community. If safety and well-being for people and nature are truly intended, the Green Energy Act must be reconsidered.

I look forward to the content and focus of public discussions about alternative energy sources and projects on Manitoulin Island turning to the details of green energy projects that are truly local, sustainable, in the small and medium sized scales appropriate to this particular community, individually or co-operatively owned, and varied in scope and nature. What kinds of projects will honour and respect nature and support the economy for generations to come?

The Manitoulin community has clearly stated and debated the risks and costs of the current mega-wind project proposal. Have the interests of the many community members who have already spoken yet been heard over the voices of the corporate bullies? Bullies tend to want to make things happen right away, in their way, on their terms. I call upon Mr. McGuinty to follow his own advice—take action to amend the laws which now support this bullying behaviour. As citizens, we need to re-establish safety in our own learning community.

Although the forces that drive the Green Energy Act appear to be daunting, it is still important that each one of us speak our truth concerning Northland’s proposed project. These comments need to be submitted before January 27, our final opportunity to assert our local concerns before decisions are made for our community at the provincial level. The Manitoulin Coalition for Safe Energy Alternatives (MCSEA) suggests that copies of the comments sent be kept. There is also the option to make anonymous comments. If you need help with who to write or where to send your ideas, please contact MCSEA. Many people, many perspectives, and many voices heard are part of what make us a community. Let’s come together to create what makes sense and what will truly work for those sharing and protecting Manitoulin Island…for years to come.

Emily Weber

Honora Bay