Ted Arnott, MPP
Wellington – Halton Hills
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2011
Minister of the Environment must explain broken promise: Arnott
(Queen’s Park) – Ontario’s Minister of the Environment was under fire in the Legislature today for
approving an incomplete wind farm application, even after promising he wouldn’t.
“People in Wellington County are wondering if they can believe this minister any more,” charged
Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott. “I would submit that they can’t.”
Mr. Arnott’s questioning followed news that the government had approved a plan to proceed with a
wind farm in Mapleton Township, in Wellington County, even though it lacked a key document—the
municipal consultation form.
That’s because the County of Wellington and the Township of Mapleton did not fill it out.
“The County of Wellington and the Township of Mapleton are making a statement based on the
minister’s assurance that they would have a say,” Mr. Arnott said in the Legislature. “But people
were mistaken if they believed him.”
Wind energy producer NextEra Energy Resources submitted the application to build a wind farm in
Perth-Wellington, which the minister, John Wilkinson, represents.
Responding to Mr. Arnott, Mr. Wilkinson insisted the County of Wellington had been consulted—but
did not deny that the municipality refused to fill out the forms supposedly required for the wind farm
proposal to proceed. His answer left Mr. Arnott completely unsatisfied.
“His answer was completely without credibility,” Mr. Arnott said after the exchange. “It showed
disregard for the process he pledged to uphold, and disrespect for the municipalities he’s supposed
Mr. Arnott requested a “late show”—a rarely used legislative mechanism giving MPPs the
opportunity to revisit their earlier question in a brief debate. That debate is scheduled for Tuesday,
April 5 at 6pm.
He has also written to Mr. Wilkinson to insist he attend the late show in person, rather than sending
his parliamentary assistant, to defend his contradictory statements.
– 30 –
Ontario Hansard – 30-March2011
Mr. Ted Arnott: My question is for the Minister of the Environment. Last May, the minister told his
constituents in Wellington county that if a municipality did not sign off on a wind energy application,
the government would not approve the project. He later backtracked, saying that the municipality
must only be consulted, but he added that the proponents still had to submit a complete application.
Last week, the Wellington Advertiser reported that the county of Wellington and the township of
Mapleton have refused to submit the municipal consultation form on a wind farm proposal in
Mapleton township. The minister used to say that a complete application requires the municipal
consultation form, but now we find out that the government accepted the application nine days
before the county of Wellington even took its stand.
Why did the minister accept the application even though the municipal consultation form was glaring
in its omission?
Hon. John Wilkinson: I’m delighted to answer the question. We have been very clear to our
municipalities that though we have the final say, we will say no unless the municipalities have been
I want to thank the county of Wellington for writing me and expressing to me, as the Minister of the
Environment, their concerns about the project. So they have been consulted; they are providing us
the feedback. That’s exactly how the Green Energy Act is going to work.
If they choose that they do not want to fill in the form that the proponent requires them to complete,
then we’ll just listen directly to the municipality. That’s why we want to listen directly to the public and
that’s why they keep on providing that to us.
But I guess the question that I have for the member opposite is: Does he agree with the lung
society? Does he agree with the asthma society; does he agree with the Registered Nurses’
Association of Ontario; does he agree with the Ontario College of Family Physicians, who all say
that it’s important that we get out of coal, that we go to green, renewable sources of energy? That’s
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?
Mr. Ted Arnott: People in Wellington county are wondering if they can believe this minister
anymore. I would submit that they can’t.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I would ask the honourable member to withdraw that comment.
Mr. Ted Arnott: I withdraw.
Hansard quotes the minister last October: “There will not be an approval of a renewable energy
approval in this province of Ontario unless an application is complete.” The minister used to say that
an application would not be complete without the municipal consultation form. The county of
Wellington and the township of Mapleton are making a statement based on the minister’s assurance
that they would have a say, but people in Wellington county were mistaken if they believed him. The
minister’s own constituents feel deceived.
Why is he allowing the wind farm application in his own riding to go around his own approval
process? Why is he accepting an incomplete application when he promised he wouldn’t?
Hon. John Wilkinson: I say to the member opposite, and I’ll just repeat: The county of Wellington
has been consulted and they have shared their concerns with me.
The renewable energy approval and the Green Energy Act are all about ensuring that the public and
municipalities have their say. But in this province, it’s the province of Ontario, under the Green
Energy Act, that has the final say, because we’re the only level of government that has the ability to
shut down a wind turbine if it’s too noisy. The people of Ontario have a right to clean air, but we all
have a right to a good night’s sleep. And it’s the province, not the municipality, that should be
dealing with wind turbine companies. That’s why we have final say, but as I said, we will say no
unless the municipality and the public have their say.
I want to thank the county of Wellington for writing me personally and sharing with me their
concerns. We take those concerns very, very seriously, and we want to thank them for ensuring that
we have all the-
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.