Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
Dissent is roiling the Liberal government with MPPs ignoring Premier Dalton McGuinty’s edict that “NIMBYism” will not be tolerated to stop green energy projects.
In an unusually brazen protest, three Liberal MPPs tabled petitions in the House this week with thousands of signatures opposing wind turbines and gas-fired power plants in their ridings.
“It’s a real slap at the premier and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said one government MPP who was not involved in the demonstration.
In his push for cleaner power, McGuinty, who wants to create 50,000 green energy jobs in the next three years, has been crusading against parochial concerns trumping the greater provincial good.
“Don’t say, `I don’t want it around here,'” he said Feb. 10 in London.
“NIMBYism will no longer prevail,” the premier said, using the acronym for “not in my back yard.”
But in the space of a few minutes on Tuesday, three Liberal MPPs signalled that keeping constituents happy is more important than appeasing the boss.
MPP Bruce Crozier (Essex) said the proposed wind farms in Lake Erie’s Pigeon Bay, off Leamington, Kingsville and Union, will affect migrating wildlife as well as residents because of the noise.
“This will have a significant negative impact on property values within this very heavily populated area given the impact on health, tourism and jobs in the community,” MPP Pat Hoy (Chatham-Kent-Essex) said in his opposition to the Pigeon Bay proposal.
Compounding McGuinty’s headache, MPP Charles Sousa (Mississauga South) tabled a petition against a gas-fired power plant in south Mississauga.
Energy Minister George Smitherman yesterday defended the recently passed Green Energy Act, noting it was amended to make it “clearer” that proponents of such projects must do a more thorough job of consulting with residents.
With files from Rob Ferguson