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Where are the rules when you need them?

After spending several columns exploring the effects of overregulation and over-bylawing by corporations and bureaucracies beyond our control, I would like to go full circle now, and apply this (hopefully for the last time) to the wind turbine situation here in the County.
Among the agencies who have 800-page binders of rules and regulations which prevent everything but breathing, are Environment Canada and Health Canada, and their respective provincial bodies, Baby Environment and Baby Health.
So, with 436-foot wind towers looming in our immediate future, and destined to take over the entire south end of the County, I have one question:
Where are they now?
Environment Canada? These are the people who run Prince Edward Point, which doubles as a bird sanctuary. These are the people who go freakin’ nuts if you kill a frog or a turtle.
They’ve got Two Big Signs at the end of Long Point stating that they are in charge, and allow NO vehicles, NO four-wheelers, NO campfires, NO camping and NO hunting.
But, when the suitcase of wind corp money hits the table, all of a sudden Environment Canada is totally cool with destroying protected land, along with the inevitable deaths of songbirds and mosquito-eating bats.
What the hell? Seems that the rules and regs have some flex after all, as long as it’s driven by money and politics, and not by the needs of the community.
Are these the same people who fined a friend of mine for clearing cattails away from his dock so he could park his rowboat?
Are these the same people who made another friend of mine build a bridge in his driveway over a trench that housed frogs, dragonflies and mosquitoes?
Where’s your ‘tough guy attitude’ now? Where’s your deep, abiding, enforcement-driven, no-nonsense love for wildlife now?
“Screw the birds and bats! We’re in the $$$$!” That, I think, should be the new Environment Canada motto. But save the frogs. I don’t know why.
I can only guess that their ‘NO’ signs will soon be coming down, and will be replaced with:
“Hey guys! Grab your guns, tents, matches and four-wheelers and knock yourself out! Who needs an Environment anyway! YeeeeHawww!”
Maybe, if my friends had slipped the Environment people a ‘Twenty’, their problems would have ‘gone away’.
To me, this shows how arbitrary these regulations are. They can be changed on a whim … just not YOUR whim.
These are the people assigned to protect our land. And they’re looking the other way. Even worse, they’re inviting Protected Land for sale, real cheap, if the money is right. It breaks my heart.
From the Mighty Tower – which generates new legislation faster than Bran Buds through a monkey – they even start to run into each other!
Check this out: Health Canada says, “Do not leaving heated food on the counter to cool, or it will draw bacteria and you will die.”
Energy Canada says: “Do not put hot food in the fridge after cooking, as it requires more electrical power to cool the food.”
So you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Because they’re just making it up as they go along.
By now, I’m hoping that all EnviroGov’t people have broken down into tears in the realization of their dereliction of duty in saving protected land. They’ve probably gone home to get drunk and shoot the finches gathered at their birdfeeders with their .22s.
But they’re not the only agency culpable in this Windmill fiasco.
Let’s take a look at the two government Health agencies.
These are people who have raided family picnics, and poured bleach on sandwiches to make sure no-one ate them, to protect them from food made ‘off-premises’.
Ask them about the Health effects of wind turbines, and they will say, “I dunno.”
Well, you’re the Health people, could you not find out?
“Well, no, not really, cause we’re … er … really busy making sure that mothers wear hair nets and rubber gloves when they prepare their kids’ school lunches.”
For God’s sake! These are people who are terrified by bacteria! Do you not think they’d be a little concerned about something that’s 436 feet high?
But they don’t see it, and don’t want to see it, because that would pit them against McGuinty’s Dream, and that’s not a good career move.
My late brother Rick was one of four certified geniuses I’ve known in my life. (For the record, the other three are Dr. D. Seybold, Wellington’s Hugh Sonnenberg, and my friend Jack Moore. Jack just barely made the cut, because he can analyze a problem brilliantly, but always comes up with the wrong way to solve it. At least according to me.)
Rick used to say: “Everyone looks at the world through tinted glasses.”
And the glasses are formed by a person’s skills and life experience.
For example: “If you have a problem,” he said, “and you take it to a civil engineer, it will be a structural problem. If you take it to an electrician, it will be an electrical problem; if you take it to a doctor, it will be a medical problem.”
The point is: Everyone sees wind turbines from their own perspective. It’s a saviour and a devil at the same time, depending on the tint of your glasses.
My glasses tell me that we are cursing our children and grandchildren with the destruction of some of the County’s beautiful, untouched, protected land; while others say we are blessing our children with renewable energy.
To me, the price is too high. It’s just another sad example of how we continue to destroy our world in pursuit of perfect comfort. Coal took the air. Windfarms will take the rest.

Filed Under: Steve Campbell

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  1. Ernset Horvath says:

    It seems since the last disussion there appears to be information that has come to light under the Freedom of Information Act
    First it has come out that the MOE has known about health issues all along.
    And the MOE has no way of measuring sound to ensure IWT developments are with the set guidelines for noise…never had.
    Although MOE Wilkinson had assured us all they were indeed safely under the guidelines.

    Trust is a valuable commodity….

  2. Steve again says:

    Only a crazy person would lay a single comment against Jon L’s amazingly detailed justification for wind power (which is being attacked all across Ontario as an ill-conceived, legislation-driven dream by the Ontario government to try to escape Dalton’s commitment to reduce coal power (which he hasn’t). So that leaves it up to me.

    I don’t see much heart in what you say, so my comments will likely have no meaning to you. You’re clearly a FACT man, and I read your recent Letter to the Editor labelling all anti-wind people as liars.

    Not like Dalton. Not like Gilead Power. Not like White Pines. They are pure as the driven snow, speaking only Great Truths, and working only for the Greater Good of Everyone.

    Sorry, I had to stop and light a candle, and offer a little prayer to them.

    But, in order to address your comments, I need to switch into scientific fact mode.

    Not that I would ever call you a liar, but the 600 Wolfe Island bird kills quoted were over a 6-month period. You neglected to mention that.

    Or the 1270 bat kills during the same period.

    Since you’re a fact man, multiply that by 2 to make 12 months, and multiply it again by the 20-year life of the turbines. Reduce that a bit to account for less kills during winter months.

    I’m sure that number is still insignificant to you, since there are billions of birds and bats, and many of them are being killed by other means, and not by wind turbines. So why not kill more?

    There’s lots of them, right?

    So they’ll adapt and carry on, just like the dinosaurs. Whoops, bad choice, they’re all dead. Well, just like the dodo, Whoops again. Just like the Whooping Crane, the Bald Eagle, the North American Buffalo and the Passenger Pigeon. Yes, that’s a good example, because there’s still several of them around.

    The people clearing the Rain Forests of Brazil for grazing land used your same argument, although we later found out that over 1,000 species were being eradicated every year. But still, we need our Corned Beef, so that’s okay.

    Your argument seems to be: Let’s do what we need to do to get extra electricity, even though we’re already exporting excess electricity we don’t need. And let the other lower species adapt, as they (almost) always do.

    Sorry, not buying it. I was pro-wind going into this whole debate, but the time is not right. I hear word that the turbines going up are way ahead of the Ontario government’s ability to feed it properly into the system. The Ontario Power Workers, who manage the control and distribution of electrical power here, have stated this very publicly.

    Wind will be good in the future, I agree. Wind-power that is legislated and force-fed, long before the Power system and rural communities are ready for it, is simply driven by politics and money. Not the needs of the people.

    This never plays out well.

    You can kiss off all the birds and bats you want but, right now, we’re not ready for it either. The conflict is tearing apart our treasured communities.

    But that’s okay. Hundreds of neighbours who now hate each other is probably another acceptable condition for you.

    But not for me.

    I am filled with the Fear of God at your response, but I’ve lived a fairly long life, and I’ve seen a lot of good ideas presented in the wrong way, at the wrong time. And this one is King.


  3. Jim says:

    Oh, the irony of it all. The Ministry of Natural Resources. (MNR) operates a landfill within the Sandbanks Park—–. It is obvious to me that the ministry intends to use the natural resources when they want but heaven forbid a taxpayer taking a 10 minute stroll on MNR beach without paying a toll. The provincial ministries have followed the old adage of “do as I say not as I do”.

  4. Ernest Horvath says:

    Steve , save your breath with Leona.

    I am not political , but one should be aware that the Liberals and NDP will destroy our quality of life and our traditional jobs with their energy direction….that is all I can tell you.

    This is why and how this all started:

    Here are some of the effects of the Liberal and NDP policy that we are already seeing in Ontario with the loss of another 22,00 jobs on Ontario last month.

    The Liberal agenda is to wash it’s hands of our entire power interests and hand it over to private business.

    This is a statement made by Dwight Duncan,

    “It would be irresponsible for the province and tax-payers to continue to subsidize electricity consumption, because it jeopardizes our ability to invest in health care and education. This is simply not sustainable, nor is it acceptable. The people of this province deserve better.”

    Dwight Duncan (Ontario Hansard Volume B, November 26, 2003)

    I don’t think they care what you end up paying or even if it works. They have partnered with Enviro Groups and feed them tax dollars to promote alternate energy to you at many levels. In short many Enviro groups have become advertising agencies promoting and advocating the Liberal agenda.

  5. John Legate says:

    Here is an article I wrote for the local paper which deals with the reality of the south shore – not some pie in the sky rose coloured wish.

    The ‘Natural’ South Shore of PEC and Wind Turbines

    In the continuing effort to stop any wind turbine development in Prince Edward County the anti-turbine coalition has reformatted itself yet again. This time it is calling itself the South Shore Conservancy. They are implying that the wind turbine installation would be a great affront to the ‘natural’ environment that exists there. Since the coming of the Europeans the south shore has been by used by man for various enterprises including forestry, shipbuilding, farming, fishing, military operations, off-roading, cottaging, and abandonment. Nature has adapted to each activity.
    The small picture: relates to the area specifically occupied by the proposed site for the wind turbines. This area contains 2 threatened species, the Blanding’s Turtle and the Whip-poor-will. Neither was here 10,000 years ago when the area was covered by glaciers. The Blanding’s Turtle was probably here when Europeans arrived but the Whip-poor-will probably arrived after significant man-made openings in the forest occurred. The Blanding’s Turtle is threatened because of nest predation by skunks, fox and coyote, as well as being the victim of road kills. It prefers gravel as a nest site which makes gravel roads a boon and a danger. The Whip-poor-will is threatened by succession (land returning to its natural state as before man) as well as being the victim of road kill. It likes to sit on gravel roads at night. The road way is often the opening in the forest it needs to hunt the insects it eats. Turbines require a restricted access road for their construction and maintenance. They also require the area around them be kept clear of trees to prevent turbulence. It is quite reasonable to conclude both species will adapt and even benefit from the restricted access gravel road and the bird from the cessation of succession.
    What of the wetlands and existing forest? The turbine proposal calls for the maintenance of the wetland, as it should. Even though Blanding’s Turtle will range up to 5-6km per year from pond to pond, the wetland ecosystem should be maintained. We know how to build roads without compromising wetlands and that can be ensured during construction. The turbines themselves will not be in a wetland area. Virtually 100% of the area where the turbines are to be located is land once cleared by man and that has since been left for nature to take its course. It is called succession because over time species after species become established and are succeeded by other species. The earlier flora and fauna become insignificant or disappear. What is there today is just a brief snapshot in time as to what has been and what will be there. It is not a pristine wilderness.
    A bigger picture involves Ostrander Point being part of the Important Bird Area. There are international criteria established for the creation of important bird areas. Prince Edward Point meets criteria A4i and A4iii. These criteria relate to waterfowl, specifically the large numbers of Scaup, Long-tailed Ducks, Mergansers and Scoters that winter in the waters around the south shore. It does not meet any internationally recognized standards for land birds. Regardless, the Prince Edward Point Observatory counts 750,000 birds migrating through in a year. Bird kills from 9 turbines, even using the inflated rate of 10 birds per turbine, would make no difference in the number of birds passing through the area. In fact even 200 turbines in the south of the county would make no difference. There is also the question no anti-turbine person chooses to answer – what difference will the turbines make to bird populations? The reason is the answer is zero. Not one bit. To understand why there will be no impact is rather simple and relates to reproductive success. To be successful at reproducing, birds need favourable nest sites and food. If fewer birds reach their nesting grounds they will be able to occupy the very best nest sites. With less competition for food the birds that nest will produce larger broods. They may also produce more than one brood per year. Birds maximize the resources available to maximize their populations. In good years most species can more than double their populations. In poor years the opposite can happen.
    The US Wildlife Service has actually attempted to put numbers to this ability of birds to reproduce. They estimate 22billion birds migrate south each year. Of those 22billion birds only about 10billion birds return to their nesting grounds in the spring. More than half the birds die along the way. That number equates to over 1000 bird kills per square mile in the migration areas of Central and North America. It gives one pause to think when 600 bird kills are attributed to all the turbines on Wolfe Island.
    The biggest picture involves the impact of climate change. There are 16 different aspects of climate that have been tied to CO2 levels in the atmosphere of which temperature rise is but one. The impact of climate change includes the extirpation of the Boreal Forest from Ontario. Many of the birds that migrate through Prince Edward County do so to reproduce in the Boreal Forest. Where will those birds go to nest? Then there is the northern Tundra. What will happen to the Tundra when there is no permafrost? The Tundra is the nesting site of all those ducks that legitimize the Important Bird Area designation for Prince Edward Point. Shorelines in the Arctic are being rapidly eroded by the longer ice-free days, and shores no longer protected from waves. What of the birds that nest there?
    Persons truly concerned about birds and other species recognize that we are in a crisis situation that could impact the very existence of many of the species that now call Canada and Prince Edward County home. We have run out of time and need to act urgently. Prince Edward County can and should be part of the solution. To date we have done nothing but prevaricate and delay.
    Try as the anti-turbine faction might to make their stance an issue about birds and turtles, it is not. The nature and wildlife will adapt as they always have. What their stance should be about is the Earth we leave to our grandchildren.

  6. Louisa says:

    Steve, you write such insightful articles here – I really, truly appreciate your thoughts and bold words. Somebody’s gotta do it! I also learn much from the articles and the comments of fellow PEC folks (and the links to action that are shared). And isn’t educating people what half the battle can be.

    I wondered if you would mind if I copied, with full identification and credit of course, this blog entry of yours, to my own personal blog? As well, your final line struck me a fantastic quote to pass on, think about and act on: To me, integrity and moral right are what life is all about. That’s what leaves your personal footprint in the sands of time. May I quote you? Thanks.

  7. Steve says:

    Excellent responses! I have to say that I get a lot of verbal ‘thumbs up’ comments, but your comments tell me that I’m not alone.

    As Ernest indicated, if this was not government-driven, and instead launched by the evident corporate greed, it would be tied to a rail and escorted out of town. Behaviour like this would be WAY suspect, if it came only from the public sector.

    Our great heroes of the environment – Env Canada, the Ministry of Env, and even Quinte Conservation – are notably missing from the discussion of destruction of protected land, birds, bats, landscape, heritage and all.

    If anyone has any quotes or releases from Leona remotely touching on the destructive aspect of the Green Plan in the County, please forward it to this website. I’m preparing a presentation to her.

    It’s funny. I went from Green to concerned to alarmed to outraged … all because it’s about money and politics … the Mean Green, not the Real Green.

    The respective so-called ‘conservers’ and protectors of our pretend National Wildlife Area had better not set foot on my land, because they’re a joke.

    I will not accept any edict or fine from any of these bodies because, if they can’t act on wildlife deaths of this magnitude, they should just shut up and go home.

    I would love to see someone inside these three bodies take a public stance. They’d be fired, but at least they could walk away with integrity. To me, integrity and moral right are what life is all about. That’s what leaves your personal footprint in the sands of time.


  8. jason says:

    Ya well, green energy has been taken over by green lust. Sure, green power has the POTENTIAL to improve our lives 6 times before breakfast but as soon as they realized money could be had the whole mission statement changed…..the projected image the public SEES didn’t though. The ads still show a clean shaven benevolently smiling man in a suit standing in a Monsanto wheat field stating that “we’re here for your future”. (Their website has quite a few propagandaish pictures like this….although when I tried to open their online brochure my computer crashed! Guess my computer has more taste than I thought). I think they’re manipulating the perceived benefit of green technology to get away with eco terrorism…ironic. I wasn’t aware what Environment Canada was up to with this project until reading this blog post….I wish I was surprised.

  9. Ernest Horvath says:

    I can spell..I just can’t see.
    Have a good days folks !

  10. Ernest Horvath says:

    Under Feral regulations.
    The onus is on a company to prove the product is safe for Canadians.
    The onus is on the company to prove it doesn’t damage the Environment.
    With this alternate energy direction that has been ignored.
    You also cannot advertise a product a claim it does something when it clearly does not.
    IWT capapcity claims which is always what you hear are not living up to the claims..not even close.
    It is not free.
    And it is not carbon free. Because it cannot produce reliable power any given day , hour , month.
    So it requires conventional power..negating the very reason for it’s use.
    It is not the people that need to prove it’s worth.
    It is up to the industry.
    Assertions , and claims ..are nor reality or facts.
    Good article.
    Where is Environment Canada ?
    Where is Health Canada ?
    These projects should be dead in the water.

  11. Chris Keen says:

    I picked up a telephone message today from WPD Energy. “Jane” suggested that if I had any questions or concerns about their proposed development along the south shore of Prince Edward County, that I should telephone or email them. I very nearly dismissed this as a total waste of time. It then occurred to me that this was a very clever tactic to garner government approval. It’s a classic case of the negative option process. If we don’t object, we agree!! (“We got no responses, so obviously there are no objections.”)

    WPD proposes to erect 30 turbines along the south shore of the County. If approved, many of these these turbines will be in the middle of a universally recognized Important Birding Area. WPD will likely have to apply for a permit to allow it to harass or kill the endangered Blandings Turtle and the Whip-or-will which reside in part of the area they propose to use.

    If you oppose this, it is critical that you send an email to and let them know that you object to the proposal. It has the potential to seriously disrupt bird migration through one of the major north-south migratory routes, as well as killing birds and Blandings Turtles and Whip-or-wills. There may be other reasons why you object to their proposal – the environmental impact is clearly not the only issue. So I think it is critical that you fight this tactic if you disapprove of these turbines for any reason, because silence is acceptance.

    I’d suggest you also copy Dalton McGuinty – and Leona Dumbrowsky – . Dalton will never respond, and Leona is missing in action as far as this issue is concerned but it is important that they know how you feel. Wolfe Island has been a holocaust for the migratory and resident bird populations but the government has failed to enforce contractually agreed remedial actions. So there is no time to waste.

    As an, aside – “Jane” addressed me by my full first name so I am assuming that some level of government has provided WPD Energy with the names and owners of property within a certain distance of this proposed project. I am extremely annoyed that my privacy has been breached. No level of government should be complicit in a private sector project like this – especially one that is so contentious.

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