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Problem-plagued LIberals have lost support in 10 ridings in SW Ontario

April 20, 2014

Deborah Van Brenk

If the minority Liberal government can’t pass its budget next month, Ontario will be plunged into a widely expected spring election. Deb Van Brenk tested the early voter mood in the 10-riding London region, driving its Hwy. 401 backbone. Once almost solidly Liberal, the region now has only one Grit left standing. High power bills, the gas plants scandal, wind turbines — voters are chafing at many issues.

HOW THE REGION HAS VOTED

2011 (Liberal minority government):

Conservatives: 7

Liberals: 2 (MPP Chris Bentley later resigned in 2013)

NDP: 1 (gained Bentley’s London West seat in 2013 byelection)

2007 (Liberal majority)

Conservatives: 2

Liberals: 8

2003 (Liberal majority)

Conservatives: 1

Liberals: 9

Glen Ure says he doesn’t want wind turbines on his property, because of potential difficulties selling his farm near Chatham, not because he’s worried about any health issues as his farm is surrounded by the large structures. Mike Hensen/The London Free Press/QMI Agency

Where: Hwy 401 at Kent Bridge Rd. (Chatham-Kent-Essex riding)

Who: Farmer Glen Ure

From just this overpass, between the West Lorne and Chatham exits, 76 wind turbines are visible in the near and far horizon.

Some sprout just beyond the borders of Glen Ure’s farm, where he’s lived all his life and where his parents farmed before him.

Elsewhere in the region, others battle turbines out of health concerns but Ure rejected offers to be a wind landlord because he wasn’t satisfied with the wind companies’ answers to his many questions. Governments and energy companies control enough of his life and he’s not about to let them control his land, too.

Anyone looking for his vote will face a barrage of questions:

— Why have his power bills soared to $6,600 a year, even as he uses less electricity?

— Why spend more than $1 billion, as the Liberal government did, to relocate two gas plants because of city people’s concerns while ignoring rural issues?

— Why have taxes gone up without measurable benefit to him and his neighbours?

His biggest question? Why, in his 70 years of farming and then trucking and then farming and retirement, have governments promised the world but delivered less than dirt?

“An old farmer told me, when I was 10 years old, ‘politics is like pig farming. You get one person in, fatten him up and kick him out, get another one in, fatten them up and kick them out.’ You vote people in and think they’re going to do all right (but they don’t follow through).”

Read the full story and comments here.

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