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Community group leader surprised McGuinty to be rewarded after disastrous premiership

Not everyone thinks honouring Dalton McGuinty is a great idea

In a “state of the city” address, Ottawa Mayor and former Liberal government cabinet minister Jim Watson announced he will honour ex-premier Dalton McGuinty with a “key to the city” this year, the Ottawa Citizen reports.

Mr. McGuinty’s family has been involved in politics for a long time, and McGuinty’s father served as a Liberal MPP for three years, representing Ottawa South.

McGuinty resigned as Liberal leader in Ontario when polls indicated the Liberal Party might not win re-election if he were still at the helm; the Party then elected Kathleen Wynne as leader, who went on to be Premier.

On Mr. McGuinty’s watch as Premier, the Green Energy Act was passed, stripping municipalities of their control over local land-use planning for energy projects and altering 21 other pieces of legislation to encourage large-scale development of wind and solar power projects.

The push for renewables, without any cost-benefit or impact analysis according to two Auditors General, was a significant factor in raising Ontario electricity bills, which are now among the highest in North America. The electricity bill spike was responsible for what some called “energy poverty” as many families had to choose between “heat or eat” as they struggled to cope with the expense.

Locally, a wind power project was proposed for the community of North Gower and part of Richmond, which could have seen eight to ten huge wind power generators located close to hundreds of homes in the area. The huge turbines, which create vibration in the ground, would also have been located adjacent to the buried Trans-Canada natural gas pipeline.

Noise is a major concern in Ontario today for people forced to live near wind power projects. Wind Concerns Ontario has government records showing thousands of official noise complaints, most of which have never been resolved.

When the power developer representative was asked in 2009 by Rogers TV host Mark Sutcliffe if the turbines make noise, he answered, “Of course they do! They’re power generators.”

A referendum was held by the community and more than 1,400 witnessed signatures from confirmed Ottawa citizens residing in the project area was presented to Ottawa City Council. (The population of the entire North Gower area is less than 2,500.)

“That project was completely inappropriate for the North Gower area and should never have been proposed, or gotten as far as it did,” says Ottawa Wind Concerns Chair Jane Wilson. “It only got stopped because the government halted the Feed In Tariff program, and then the small developer — who was really here for government money —  failed to qualify for a second round of proposals.

“The turbines would have created noise for hundreds of families—I can’t believe our city is now rewarding Mr McGuinty who supported this environmental disaster.”