Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday July 7 2015
5:56 PM EDT
2014-06-02 at 23:13

Town hall

Thunder Bay-Atikokan candidates were on stage Monday night.
Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Thunder Bay-Atikokan candidates were on stage Monday night.
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY - While they don't agree on everything, most candidates in Thunder Bay-Atikokan are in favour of strengthening treaty rights and oppose the proposed Big Thunder Wind Park.

That's what five of six candidates on the city's South side told a packed town hall meeting Monday night, hosted by the Nor'Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee, Fort William First Nation and the municipality of Neebing.

Unlike a traditional debate candidates were asked one at a time, while the others were out of the room, to answer four questions after a five minute introduction. After the first hour, the second half was opened up to questions from the public with one to two minute responses.

Fort William First Nation chief Georjann asked what steps parties would take to make sure treaty rights were not only honoured but strengthened. The community filed an injunction against several provincial ministries over a lack of consultation on the Big Thunder Wind Park.

Progressive Conservative candidate Harold Wilson said too often businesses have been left to consult with First Nations. But it's the government's responsibility. There's also been a history of doing things for, or worse, to First Nations.

"I want to do them with First Nations," he said. 

NDP candidate Mary Kozorys said the process to date on the wind project has been disrespectful to Fort William First Nation. Most people don't understand the treaty process. It was set up historically to benefit everybody.

“I don’t see that happening at all,” she said.

Green candidate John Northey said his party would make sure First Nations were included as much as possible so that what was agreed to in the past isn't ignored in the future.

Liberal incumbent Bill Mauro said he's spoken with Premier Kathleen Wynne and the party unequivocally agrees that no decision on the project will be made until the community's issues are resolved, proof that Liberals are committed to the process.

"There will be no decision," he said.

Mauro said he thought Nor'Westers were a bad choice for a wind farm since day one. He set up meetings with the Premier and Morriseau and warned the municipality of Neebing that it was still considered in favour of the project. No one knew that the city of Thunder Bay had signed a 2007 lease agreement over the land.

"I’m publicly opposed. How much more can I do for you?” he asked a man after a question about his party's support of the Green Energy Act process.

When it comes to wind farms Kozorys said the province should look to Europe where residents can buy-in to the project not only financially but socially. The project shouldn't go ahead unless costs can be recovered and demand is there.

“The risks are too great,” she said.

For Wilson, whose family has lived in the area near the Nor'Westers since the 1930s, energy policy in the province has been focused on ideology rather than economics.

Northey said public support is needed.

"Not just from a local mayor or a local council but from the people who live there,” he said.

Libertarian candidate Joe Talarico was late due to other commitments so wasn't asked the four questions. During his five minute introduction he said science has allowed for new technology that could one day provide free energy. From geothermal to satellites collecting solar radiation the province could start investing in technology that focuses on abundant resources rather than focusing on scarcity.

“There are phenomenal things we could do,” he said.

Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error



We've improved our comment system.
shortpeter says:
every year the Ontario Liberal gov't pays over 1 billion dollars to US companies to take our surplus energy. On my energy bill, does this cost come under renewables?
6/4/2014 11:18:09 AM
Shortpeter says:
Nuclear energy accounts for 57% of energy generation , renewables 3 % So we are not getting our money's worth from renewables and most people who understand mcGuinty/Wynne's green energy act know this.
6/3/2014 7:00:51 PM
captain says:
I was there for the last hour of the debate at the Norwester last night so I don't know what each one said in the opening.

This was far from a debate. It was totally mishandled by the moderator with almost every question going to Mr. Mauro first. He even prompted one or two people by asking if they wanted Mr. Mauro to answer first instead of rotating through.

The NDP candidate was terrible. It would have been nice to see her answer first but she did only once and her answers were five seconds long when she had a minute. It was shocking.

As for the wind farm issue itself. Mr. Mauro seemed to address one of the major concerns at the end of the debate when he advised that the FWFN does not have to worry about a MOE ruling until their legal process is finished. That sounded like good news to me and every body concerned about this wind farm. So FWFN can move forward with their concerns.

I would like to see that message made into a more detailed story for all to read.
6/3/2014 4:50:41 PM
hockey fan says:
I can't believe some of the comments put forth by individuals after the debate. If people would just inform themselves instead of listening to the machinations or outright lies of certain political parties, they would know that the windmill issue is the cities issue, not the province. Saying Mr. Mauro flip flops doesn't make it true, no matter how many times you say it or go on this comment site and keep clicking on agree. As far as the debt goes, yep the PC's left a 5. something billion deficit. Then the crash in 2008 came along, that sure didn't help. I remember all the major parties stating in the last election, or the one before that, if they were elected and the party in majority, they would cancel those gas plant contracts. So, I guess everyone would have been in trouble with how much the cancellation cost. Doesn't excuse what went on under Dalton McGinty. Our community is better off with a liberal at queen's park and has been since 2003.
6/3/2014 11:02:59 AM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
The Lieberals, as far as a LOT of us are concerned, are criminals protected by their bought and paid for OPP.
6/3/2014 2:04:38 PM
rebelking says:
"udecide".i'm 62 and for the first time in my voting history i have to agree with you.
however... dont spoil your vote, instead visit the following website and vote with wisely with the "none of the above option"

6/3/2014 10:19:56 AM
Commonsense says:
Mauro was asked about the province's debt, which is apparently about $276 billion, with a billion dollars a month being added. We're paying about $10-11 billion this year in interest on that debt.
He had nothing to say about plan for dealing with debt, other than saying stimulus was required, and blaming previous government.

But our govt can't keep the economy going by doling out for projects, all on borrowed money.
We're building a crippling debt, that will have serious consequences when interest rates rise. Using borrowed money to keep getting re-elected is wrong.
6/3/2014 9:32:24 AM
udecide says:
For the first time in 63 years I will not be voting and I do find that sad. I really feel here in Thunder Bay we do not have a decent candidate running. We truely are becoming a welfare city.
6/3/2014 7:51:25 AM
tudor says:
Is the statement above accurate. Did the city sign this agreement before the Green Energy Act came in.

I keep wondering why the city has not said anything on this topic. It seems to be the city wants it. They signed it after all.

If Mauro did get it stopped, would the city of T.Bay be happy.

If he didn't get it stopped, are the residents okay with the fact that their city council got what they wanted.

I am not clear on this one except for the fact that everything I have heard about it seems lousy and I sure don't want windmills on the mountains. Doesn't sound like anyone does including Mauro.

So should any MPP go against what the city wants. This seems a big catch 22. Damned if he fixes it if he can. Damned if he doesn't.
6/3/2014 6:39:35 AM
lori says:
I have never heard Mauro say one positive about this project anytime he has been asked so I don't have a clue where dynamiter got his info.

What is wrong on this site and is not contained in the article is that the deal with Horizon was signed before the Green Energy Act came in. Now i don't like this deal either. The city messed up big time when they signed this deal but I stand to be corrected here and I am sure people will if I am wrong.

But what in the green energy act forced the city to lease out property they owned. The city had land, they leased it, end of story. Neebing never opposed the deal later.

The whole thing is a mess and people are looking to Mauro to fix it which I think is rather unfair. I don't see people yelling at Gravelle and he was in cabinet when this happened. People are not yelling at the city and they caused it.

As for the ROF and First nations, S. Duncan path would lead to civil unrest. Just impose our will and develop ROF. That's not how things work.
6/3/2014 12:01:01 AM
Tiredofit says:
Lori, I've dealt with Mauro since day one on this project and can confirm he has been against it since the outset. He has not abandon the GEA at all despite what Dynamiters says.

As for Gravelle, his response since day one has been typical, well it's not in m riding so I can't do much about it. It really has been the city that blew it on this deal, the GEA wasn't even around when the city signed the lease agreement. Horzion changed their mind once the GEA came into effect, it gave them more money, amoung other options, had they not, the farm would have been completed by now, so in effect they blew it as well.
6/3/2014 6:34:19 AM
S Duncan says:
The green energy policy IS THE problem.

That was brought to us by the liberals and all its doing is driving up costs for electricity across the board.

We are lucky enough to live where evaporation and gravity provide us with wonderful, green, efficient hydro electricity.

We shouldn't be adopting the standards of other nations or geographical areas because we have advantages over them.

Are windmills good? Sure, when there aren't other reasonable choices. We have those better choices here and choosing to pursue avenues outside of what is abundantly available is pure stupidity.

If the libs in So Ont want windmills, go ahead but we don't need them up here. Regardless of party affiliation they just don't make sense.

And what was with all the FN issues? is that all that matters nowadays?

If so, then the liberals aren't your guys. We've seen how they totally mismanaged the ROF and continue to do so, only now they pretend to be on top of it. Yeah, right!
6/2/2014 11:26:28 PM
Stucky says:
6/3/2014 1:05:40 AM
S Duncan says:

where do you think snow and rain come from? That snow and rain fills lakes and rivers which then by the miracle of gravity flow downhill through hydro electric dams.

and then it repeats all over again.

Cant get much greener than that!
6/3/2014 4:56:05 PM
Watchmaker says:
S Duncan you don't appear to understand much about the RoF. The bottom line there is that the deposits are marginally economic at best when the costs of the infrastructure needed to access them are factored in. Road or rail, north-south or east west, the costs in developing that infrastructure will cut into the profit margin of any private sector developer wishing to develop the orebodies.

Now, are you advocating for tax dollars to go to build the road/rail line for the companies? Because you seem to decry "wastage" of taxpayers money....

There is also the infringement of Aboriginal (not necessarily Treaty) Rights here and the Crown has a duty to notify and consult in a meaningful fashion with First Nations. The Province has been engaged for quite some time but not always with the best results.

To say the Province has done nothing on RoF is essentially incorrect.
6/3/2014 7:35:03 AM
john says:
Renewable energy costs only account for about $15 on the average bill. Nuclear accounts for about $37 and maintaining the grid accounts for $46 on the average bill.

So Hudak's plan to build more nuclear generating plants will have an even bigger effect on your bill. Nevermind the $30 billion for construction.
6/3/2014 11:36:57 AM
dynamiter says:
I really like this abandonment of Green Energy by Mauro - after all he promoted it when it first came out. He smells which way the wind is wafting and then tries to stay of the nice smelling side. Trouble is he is the cause of the stinky stuff as he wanted his fair share in order to get re-elected. It wasnt until Beals and boys started to create a stink that caused Billy to rethink his position ( retroactively of course). Way to go bill.
6/2/2014 11:20:34 PM
Comments for this story are semi-moderated. Read our comment guideline.

Add a new comment.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Log In