Sunday, June 16, 2024

The End of Democracy in Meaford and Ontario?


Don’t citizens have a say? Apparently not. TCE and Provincial officials are proving that they, not local citizens, rule in Meaford. Democracy is when citizens have a say, and their majority will is reflected in decisions affecting them. Council has done what TCE demanded. Not democracy!

I join many, many people of Meaford who are saddened and disappointed by council’s vote of 5 to 2 in favour of a resolution of support for TCE‘s Pump Storage Plant proposal. Thousands of local residents have been abundantly clear that they do not want this project. Two council members listened and voted NO. Five councillors voted YES, choosing to follow out-of-municipality interests. TCE is based in Calgary, and the riding of the Minister of Energy Todd Smith is 300+ km away on the Bay of Quinte. Neighbours, friends and fellow residents of councillors were ignored. Local voters were ignored.

Council has now handed the Independent Electrical System Operator (IESO) and TCE a “willing host community” resolution. TCE desperately needed this resolution for its pitch to IESO. Because of this council vote, IESO now has the ability to say Meaford wants this project to continue. If these 5 councillors had not sided with TCE, there is a good chance this project would not survive.

IESO and the Minister of Energy can pretend this deceptive resolution is valid, however, Meaford, as a community, is not on board. This resolution is a work-around to allow this environmentally offensive, inefficient and hazardous energy proposal, on expropriated land, to persist. Neither IESO nor Honourable Minister Smith should accept this resolution as valid. One Councillor who voted NO said, “I will not be bought.”

The will of the community is represented in thousands of online petition signatures, thousands of paper petition signatures, hundreds of recent emails (595 at last count) opposed the resolution and the project. The ratio of project opposition versus supporting emails was approximately 5 to 1, according to reports of some council members. The community’s opposition to this project was abundantly clear, causing great concern about the integrity of our political leaders.

The project is green-washed and misrepresented even in the wording of Council’s resolution. The resolution was inaccurate, rushed and changed at the last minute. There was little opportunity for genuine public discourse between Council and Meaford citizens. Apparently five councillors were not going to respond to the will of the voters or citizens anyway. Even though for three years councillors have said they were powerless, they had to do something because the Minister and TCE said JUMP. Democracy gone.

Tom Buck, Save Georgian Bay

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