While the G20 Summit in Toronto provides us with the kinds of absurdities that we used to think could only be found within Monty Python comedy sketches — for example the anarchists are being led by a professional protester who apparently makes a decent living organizing protests against capitalism — there are other, more sinister absurdities attempting to creep under the radar of public consciousness in Ontario.
The big problem is that these things have a way of mattering to us all.
Some time back, I reminded the visitors to this space that there appears to be a powerful dichotomy within the renewable energy movement in that there’s a lack of consistency in the message, along with a serious failure to understand some of the hard facts on energy.
To wit, I find it passing strange that some of the loudest proponents of very expensive wind energy are also loud proponents of regulated energy costs (which drives up energy costs) on the basis that we need to keep energy costs low, which also stymies conservation efforts. This doesn’t really make sense.
In Alberta, we found a mix of this absurdity when wind-power advocates, themselves proponents of massive wind farms and their attendant and unsightly giant windmills, aligned themselves with groups of landowners who cited loss of scenic vistas as one of their chief concerns driving their opposition to new power lines.
It’s also important to remember that I have also warned of the potentially serious pitfalls awaiting all of us due to the Ontario and federal governments’ failing to tackle the ongoing Caledonia native uprising, and how that failure will have powerful consequences.
Last year, the addle-minded Dalton McGuinty government passed a sweeping “green energy” bill. Buried in the fine print of the bill was an unconstitutional assault on landowner’s rights. As a consequence, while any landowner may file a protest against the incursion of new high-tension line right-of-ways upon their property, they are specifically enjoined from protesting the erection of wind generation facilities on or near their property.
Right now, there are some 600 large windmills in Ontario. With a rated capacity of about 1100 megawatts, the real world capacity of these mills, as with all wind farms, is considerably less than 100 MW. By comparison, Alberta’s Brazeau Dam reliably generates 350 MW.
Ontario would have to add 3500 large windmills just to match the output of one of the smaller natural gas generating stations in Ontario.
Due to the nature of wind power generation, Ontario Power would also have to provide an equivalent amount of carbon fuelled (or nuclear) generation running continuously in stand-by mode in order to ensure reliable power delivery. Along with then failing at the task of reducing greenhouse gases, the power provided would be extremely costly to boot.
Here’s what warrants very close attention. While we’ve all been focused on the G8/G20 fiasco unfolding in and around Toronto, the very same Ontario Provincial Police force has been quietly but determinedly knocking on doors in and around regions where Ontario Power has expressed an interest in building large scale wind farms.
What’s really interesting is that the very same OPP that has steadfastly refused to enforce and uphold provincial and federal statutes against theft, tax evasion, and various crimes of violence against property and persons in the Caledonia region, has been knocking on doors of law-abiding citizens of rural Ontario who have previously expressed opposition to wind farms on or near their property.
These people have been expressly told that they are being watched, and that they must behave lawfully at any protest events that they might be planning against wind power proposals.
Digest that. In spite of documentary evidence that OPP officers have witnessed violent and property crimes in the Caledonia region, no arrests have been made. (Actually, that’s patently false — non-native residents of the area have been arrested and charged for various misdemeanour offenses related to their having been victimized by native gangs.) Meanwhile, that same police force has time to act as the provincial government’s eco-enforcers.
This is a lose-lose for Ontarians and all Canadians. By refusing to enforce the law against the Indian gangs, they embolden even more lawlessness within a self-marginalizing minority.
At the same time, Ontario taxpayers (and eventually federal taxpayers) are multiply victimized by their civil right to question industrial developments being shoved right back down their throats, regardless of whether their opposition is based upon environmental, fiscal, or simply quality of life concerns.
Ask me again why I generally loathe governments.
Bill Greenwood is a Red Deer-based freelance writer.