LETTER: Time for a ‘doors open’ Legislature, says MPP

Dear Editor:

As the Progressive Conservative Deputy Critic for Green Energy, I was surprised to learn that just days before she began her campaign to be Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and Premier of Ontario the former Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing changed regulations within the Municipal Act that allow for green energy projects to move through the approval process at a much quicker rate.

I am concerned because the amendments to the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) were not thoroughly explained to municipalities and stakeholders, and municipal officials whom I spoke to were unaware these changes were happening. I see some very serious repercussions if these draft amendments are adopted. From an economic standpoint, this move to accelerate green energy development will only exacerbate Ontario’s fiscal problems. After several years, the promise of green energy has failed, and the reality is that wind and solar power are neither affordable nor reliable.

The promised green jobs and manufacturing have also not materialized and those few highly-subsidized jobs that do exist do not even begin to make up for the exodus of industry and manufacturers from our province. Other countries around the world have finally had to accept the reality that wind and solar energy are a net drain on an economy. Subsidies are being slashed or eliminated and wind turbine and solar companies are declaring bankruptcy at an alarming rate, yet these draft amendments commit Ontario even further to a failed ideology. The pending World Trade Organization ruling against Ontario’s local content provisions in the Green Energy and Economy Act will prove to further hinder the development of local jobs and production facilities in the province.

This Liberal government is well-aware of the growing resentment in rural communities and the dissatisfaction of municipal councils over the anti-democratic manner in which their planning authority for renewable energy development was taken away. Some of the proposed amendments further erode the planning authority of municipal governments with regard to renewable energy. These changes serve to open up previously unavailable areas to green energy development and direct local authorities to ensure that zoning and development by-laws support renewable energy production and direct land use planning to that end.

I am writing to you today because this further proves that the Liberal government, despite proroguing the Legislature last month still continues to make decisions that greatly impact Ontarians without the opportunity for the Official Opposition—or the public – to hold them to account. I am very concerned that measures like these—done behind the doors of a Cabinet meeting – will become more frequent. Ontarians deserve a doors open Legislature so they can know what is really happening behind the closed ones.

Lisa Thompson,

MPP, Huron-Bruce

Written by on November 30, 2012 in Communities, Letters to The Editor - No comments

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