Letter - Small wonder people are cynical about politics

The Regional

September 28, 2011

Some wonder people are cynical about politics. When Haldimand County did the only responsible thing [while having to be dragged kicking and screaming to do so], by joining some 80 Municipalities in asking for a moratorium on wind farms pending the outcome of health studies, I assumed it would stand by the decision, so you can imagine my astonishment upon learning [Regional News, Sept. 21st] that, in a move that has a strong odour of government by fiat, Mayor Ken Hewitt and C.A.O. Don Boyle signed some sort of memorandum of understanding with four companies wishing to pollute our skyline with hundreds of wind turbines producing the most expensive and inefficient power on the planet. These two gentlemen seem to have bought into a bill of goods that green energy will magically lead to prosperity and jobs, jobs, jobs.

It would truly be miraculous if a relatively insignificant Ontario County could produce a net gain in employment while exactly the opposite has proven to be the case worldwide.

European nations now admit that for every green job 3 or 4 quality positions are lost in the broader economy. Worse yet, only 10% of green jobs become permanent, mostly of the menial variety.

This initiative seems devoid of any economic sense and raises some serious questions:

Will Haldimand County Hydro be required to connect these 40-storey unsightly monstrosities to the grid? If so, will that result in a further increase in already exorbitant electricity bills? Will Haldimand be forced to forgo hydro dividends for the number of years? How many ratepayers will leave? How many people will abandon plans to retire here? What will the impact be on property values? What of the claim of an impact on health which the Province's Environmental Review Commission recently conceded may have some validity?

This agreement apparently requires ratification by Council. While I harbour reservations, I sincerely hope those we have elected to protect our interests reject this fairy-tale proposal out of hand. Had members of Council polled constituents on the issue I'm convinced that, except for some eco-zealots and the few who stand to benefit from land-lease agreements, nobody wants these things. I would respectfully suggest that the road to prosperity lies elsewhere.

Once upon a time, tourism was among our mainstays. Sadly, nowadays it gets short shrift.

The Nanticoke Generating Station and 600 high-paying jobs are about to be legislated out of existence. Get creative, force the government's hand, buy the damn thing, covert it to natural gas and bio-fuels and sell power to the grid at a profit. It would certainly be of benefit to beleaguered tobacco farmers and those growing cucumbers. On the other hand, perhaps creative thinking is too much to ask in what seems to have been allowed to become a backwater.

It is one thing for a mayor to encourage economic development but quite another for Mr. Hewitt to be the star of a web infomercial for the Samsung Corporation, an offshore conglomerate whose sole motivation appears to be greed. Seems to me this amounts to impropriety of the tallest order, for which Mr. Hewitt should surely be censured by Council. What happened to the campaign slogan "your agenda is my agenda"?

Ian Brownlee