Power to the People or Protection of Vested Interests?

Originally published as a Letter to the Editor in the Eganville Leader, December 9, 2015

Is Ontario MPP John Yakabuski’s proposed Energy Referendum Act a tool to “put power in the hands of citizens” to determine whether or not to allow large-scale renewable energy projects in their communities? Or is it a thinly disguised ruse to stop the progress of clean energy projects in Ontario?

What other industrial projects require local government to hold a referendum before they proceed? None. For example, is TransCanada’s proposed Energy East tar sands export pipeline subject to local referendums along its entire 4,600 km route? No it is not. If it was, it would never proceed, as many municipalities have already passed resolutions opposing the Energy East pipeline, and many others are considering such resolutions.

If Mr. Yakabuski’s Private Member’s Bill was a genuine attempt to put power in the hands of citizens to determine their future, I would support it fully. But it is not genuine. It singles out one category of energy development and would impose special requirements on clean energy that are not imposed on dirty energy or any other type of industrial project.

This is a shameful act to protect dirty energy vested interests disguised as people power. The people of Renfrew County and Ontario expect and deserve better.

Duncan Noble, Killaloe

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