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It’s not easy being ‘Green’ if you want to make some

I was chatting with a Prince Edward County (PEC) friend, a “naturalist and bird lover” and informed her that the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Fund from which she now derives income in retirement, invested $75,000,000 in a Corporation called BluEarth Renewables Inc.  BluEarth is a firm that is investing in renewable energy developments like Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs). It is operated by Kent Brown CEO and brothers John and Ross Keating, Executive Advisors, the same three principals who own and/or operate TransAlta Corp., the company responsible for the IWT development on Wolfe Island. Noting the bird mortality issue in relation to this project she stated, “How ironic and frustrating that my pension investors are investing in a wind turbine company that I personally would never support. As a naturalist and bird lover, it is these decisions that make one feel so helpless.” In representing herself as a “naturalist and bird lover” no one could possibly consider her to be in complicity because the pension fund which she has paid into all her working life, and over which she has no investment control, is implicated in IWT bird mortality. IWT development, particularly those like the Wolfe Island IWTs and proposed Ostrander and White Pines IWT projects in PEC, all in “important bird areas”, represent a hue of “green” technological ideology she does not accept yet unwittingly and/or unwillingly supports.

Fact is, that almost all of us, pro or anti IWTs can in some financial way be tied to IWT developments. Our investments, mortgages, employment, taxes, pension and RRSP funds, company stock and mutual funds, and even the profits from the consumer goods we purchase each and every day, can, with little effort be linked to IWT developments. Investment advisors and other money management corporations (and I reference corporations here as “legal” entities… how bizarre this concept is!) advocate risk management principles such as spreading investments over many diverse potential capital appreciation sources. That way a failure of one aspect of an investment portfolio will not have as dire a financial effect overall. However, we often do not have control over, or even recognize where our money is being invested. The mandate of money management companies is after all to achieve for their clients the best return on their investment. The following example I provide is an extremely simplified example of our economic relationships to IWTs. I trace some of the corporate relationships of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gilead Power, the IWT development company behind the Ostrander project, through to companies which many of us have a financial relationship with here in PEC:

To begin this corporate journey we have, Donald McFarlane, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Gilead Power. McFarlane is a founder of Jovian Capital Inc. and a Director of MGI Securities, part of the Jovian Capital Group of Companies.

Then we have JovInvestment, another corporate entity of the Jovian Capital Group of Companies.

JovInvestment is a syndicate of Limited Partners seeking tax-assisted investment in a diversified portfolio of flow-through shares of oil, gas, and renewable energy production companies seeking to achieve capital appreciation. A small sampling of these Limited Partner Corporations is as follows:

Dundee Corporation; An asset management and real estate company, you may recall that they were about to invest many millions of dollars in the Trillium offshore IWT project before it was placed under moratorium by the Liberal Government. This is now the subject of a two billion+ dollar lawsuit by Trillium over contractual obligations of the Ontario Liberal Government. The Government Crown attorney’s have as of yet, in violation of legal deadlines, to answer to this lawsuit.

Bank corporate entities include; TD, Scotia, and National.

Manulife Securities; A corporate entity of the Allied Group of Companies which provides financial, investment, tax and other accounting services, particularly in the agricultural/farm sector.

Just these few companies alone have financial relationships with many of us in PEC. It is little wonder that many of us opposed to IWTs feel so “helpless” when it comes to this issue which we inadvertently or unknowingly find ourselves contributing to. The Green Energy Act was simply the icing on the cake of our unwitting and/or unwilling involvement.

Disclosure: I, David Norman am an independent freelance writer, an environmental activist and an anti Industrial Wind Turbine advocate. I do not hold membership or association in any pro or anti Industrial Wind Turbine group, organization or political party. I declare no known complicit financial interest in the companies referred to in this article or others I have referred to in related articles, or any involved in IWT development. I have not requested or will receive (accept) remuneration for this or other articles/blogs I have published related to IWT development. I can be contacted at; davidglennnorman@gmail.com.

David Norman, Rogue Primate of Bloomfield

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. John Bolton says:

    I will not be banking any avian facts from Mr.Mumford. Turbines kill rare raptor species that circle high in the sky. The cat argument is fallacious and deliberately obfuscating. Its not a numbers game but about protecting rare species.

  2. Barry says:

    If you want to invest more “greenly”, take your money out of the Business As Usual system and invest it in your community where it will benefit you, and your friends and neighbours.

  3. Chris Keen says:

    As happy as I was when this project was put “on hold”, I derive little comfort from reading that the McGuinty government apparently treats legal proceedings (Trillium) with the same contempt it treats its citizens. I guess this shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

  4. David Norman says:

    Hey Chucky,
    To begin my rebuttal, I’m not espousing nor seeking “credibility” (credential). I am however pursuing social justice in this respect.
    And you are correct, pardon my faux pas made in haste, Kent, John and Ross were the developers of the Wolfe Island IWTs through their company Canadian Hydro Developers. This does not however negate the premise nor the conclusions arrived at in my article.
    You go on to state, TransAlta is a very large publicly owned company, it is not owned nor controlled by any one – three people.” Correct again Chucky! And I did not sugest otherwise! BluEarth on the other hand is not a publicly owned company and is in fact controlled by your apparent buddies, I say that because you address them with such familiarity, “Kent, John and Ross”. As well, you come to their defence in their “Eco certified” quest to oppose their hostile “carbon emitting” foes. Kent, John and Ross, profited greatly from Canadian Hydro Developers and the “takeover” by TransAlta. They even took some time to relax and “tour the world”, I’m sure in an eco friendly manner, before coming up with their next eco-scam, BluEarth. I would love to give them a “fair shake”, but perhaps not in the manner you inferred.
    And I do not need your endorsement for entitlement to express my opinion. I will speak out whether you or anyone else feels I’m entitled to or not.
    I have never implied or made pretense to know which electrical energy generation option is the best choice, but I do know that IWTs are a bad one. There are always compromises in human technological endeavour.
    I do drive a car. Being in a rural environment and being partially disabled by a “bum” leg, I must do so. And as this article was meant to illustrate, I am in fact an unwitting/unwilling participant in my IWT fate. As well, I do share my house with a “rescued” cat. It is a house cat with an enclosed outdoor area. This cat has never killed a bird or had the opportunity to do so, although it has messed with a couple of mice who have taken up residence in my home.
    And perhaps most importantly, it is clear that you did not read the article, for as I stated in my “disclosure”, I will not be taking, and would not take anything “to the bank” in this regard.

  5. Janet Davies says:

    I love that TransAlta is now acknowledged as “the largest carbon emitter in Canada” and damn their eyes and all that. They were all that when VisionQuest sold out to them. VQ were the guys trying to get turbines built on Royal Rd. and I was one of a handful of objectors who got a hard time from people before more info came out about IWTs.

    ANYway, the friendly VQ boys sold out to TransAlta when they’d finished their work of schmoozing Royal Road landowners and our municipal Planning Dept.

    Interesting that if they’d succeeded those Royal Rd IWTs would be half way through their projected life span by now. We asked at the time about de-commission plans. Apparently there weren’t any. Apart from (my idea) planting flowering vines to grow up them to help them blend in once they were declared obsolete.

  6. Chuck Mumford says:

    I was unable to finish your article as you lose all credibility in the 1st paragraph. Kent, John and Ross have absolutely NOTHING to do with Transalta…..nothing!

    Wolfe Island was built by their former company, Canadian Hydro Developers, the largest Eco Certified company in it’s time. They were taken over in a HOSTILE takeover, by Transwalta, the largest carbon emitter in Canada. For what it is worth, they fought like heck to avoid the takeover.

    TransAlta is a very large publicly owned company, it is not owned nor controled by any one – three people. Not too hard to figure out. If you wish to take it upon yourself to educate others…..please ensure your facts are indeed facts. Many people work in the wind industry, and like them or not, they deserve a fair shake I believe you are intitled to your opinion in regards to wind turbines…..but I do have one question.

    Assuming the power you use has to come from “your backyard”……what would be your generation of choice, Nuclear, Coal, Gas, or would you rather simply use power that is produced in someone elses “backyard” in which case I’m sure you dont mind what the fuel source is.

    I will also assume you don’t drive a car, or utilize anything from a company with a large city building, or for that matter own a cat……as they all kill far more birds per year than the Wind Turbines installed to date…..and that my friend is a fact you can take to the bank…….unlike the info in your opening paragraph!

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