A lib­eral in­sult

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

Inthe lat­ter part of the last cen­tury, want­ing to please an Or­ford rid­ing mem­ber of the Parti Québé­cois, then Premier Bernard Landry changed the des­ig­na­tion of what we cel­e­brated in Que­bec as Vic­to­ria Day to Pa­triot Day. What a coup! What must have sur­prised him more was that the Lib­eral Party ap­proved the mo­tion, re­mind­ing him that the Pa­tri­ots were the found­ing mem­bers of what has evolved into to­day’s Lib­eral Party.

No­body who as­pired to the val­ues that this party rep­re­sents can ac­cept the aw­ful bill 78 shame­lesssly passed last week in the Na­tional Assem­bly. It is a dis­grace, un­wor­thy of any demo­cratic gov­ern­ment.

It is not about the tuition fee de­bates and it is not about the so called right of stu­dents to study, if they want to. Noth­ing can keep most of them stay­ing in class, af­ter all. And as far as we know, all Cegeps and Uni­ver­si­ties have reg­u­la­tions that clearly state that if you miss more than a cer­tain num­ber of classes you have failed your course. No, from day one there were com­ments from pun­dits that this was the cause that would pro­pel the Lib­er­als to vic­tory in a snap elec­tion. It un­for­tu­nately looks like there are al­most rea­sons to be­lieve that this is true. Let’s be hon­est, ev­ery sec­ond week since the start of this so called strike there were ma­jor strikes against known Lib­eral op­er­a­tives by the Ham­mer squad of the Sûreté du Québec; this was not pleas­ant to the Charest gov­ern­ment. And yes­ter­day, the Charbonneau com­mis­sion tent opened for its show.

What was un­pleas­ant from the start and gives a stench to the whole thing was the easy amal­ga­ma­tion be­tween the con­cept of stu­dents and van­dals by the gov­ern­ment and some me­dias. Let’s not play in­no­cent here. Ma­jor po­lices and in­tel­li­gence forces in the whole world have in­fil­trated the so called “anar­chists” and “pro­gres­sives el­e­ments” that are al­ways re­spon­si­ble for the ri­ots that emerge from what starts as bois­ter­ous but still peace­ful ral­lies. That nei­ther the SQ nor the other mu­nic­i­pal po­lice corps has not ar­rested these al­most pro­fes­sional rab­ble rousers is wor­ry­ing to say the least. If af­ter all these years, decades, they do not know who they are and ar­rest them in time can only lead to the other con­clu­sion: they know who they are be­cause they con­trol them. If so, and one only has to re­mem­ber the Mon­te­bello dis­as­ter of a cou­ple of years ago when an SQ op­er­a­tive was ex­posed in a video lead­ing some ‘anar­chists’, this time the dam­age con­trol will have to make a mir­a­cle.

Jean Charest will have, at one point, to start act­ing as a Que­bec Premier, a role that is very dif­fer­ent than other tenants of the po­si­tion in Canada. In this case, he ag­gra­vated a sit­u­a­tion that would have needed only a cou­ple of hours of his charm. Two of the three stu­dent groups would have backed him. For rea­sons of his own, rather than be­ing a uni­fier, he be­came a source of dis­cord. Robert Bourassa he is not.

The end re­sult is sim­ple. Peo­ple ap­prove the gov­ern­ment mea­sure, univer­sity fees have to rise in a timely fash­ion and dis­ap­prove of the gov­ern­ment ac­tion at the same ra­tio. A lo­cal con­flict is now univer­sal with rock stars like Ar­cade Fire on Satur­day Night Live or movie icons in Cannes har­bor­ing the lit­tle red square.

We ask Mr. Charest, a lo­cal M.N.A., on be­half of our readers, to amend him­self. Re­tract the ar­ti­cles of Bill 78 that are an af­front to our civil lib­er­ties im­me­di­ately; the oth­ers make per­fect sense as ev­ery­one agrees, take the phone and in­vite the stu­dents, teach­ers, col­lege and univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tors to an in­ti­mate get to­gether where he could ap­ply his usual charm. He would get back a lot of re­spect, show that the he can mend his ways (a big plus in Que­bec, we love noth­ing bet­ter than a re­form char­ac­ter) and stop the non­sense while there is still time.

As much as Bill 78 is an af­front to a demo­cratic so­ci­ety, a du­pli­ca­tion of laws and mea­sures that al­ready ex­ist in the crim­i­nal code, com­ing from the Lib­eral Party it is a shame.

«Our phi­los­o­phy is to cre­ate har­mony be­tween the nat­u­ral and built en­vi­ron­ments»: This is how En­core Re­de­vel­op­ment, the small com­pany from Burling­ton who is caus­ing big con­cerns near the Que­bec bor­der, de­fines their phi­los­o­phy on the open­ing page of their web­site. En­core Re­de­vel­op­ment plans to build at least two gi­ant wind tur­bines in close prox­im­ity to the bor­der and the Town of Stanstead, Que­bec.

These 425 foot high in­dus­trial wind tur­bines are mas­sive, in fact they stand 125 taller than the Statue of Lib­erty. They would be lo­cated less than 1000 feet from Cana­dian homes, a world record of prox­im­ity!

In an in­ter­view pub­lished last week by the Or­leans County Record, the pres­i­dent of En­core Re­de­vel­op­ment, Mr Chad Far­rell, said there are no rules for putting these tur­bines at a pre­cise dis­tance from homes in Ver­mont. Is it for this rea­son that En­core Re­de­vel­op­ment did not con­sider Cana­di­ans at all in the lo­ca­tion of this project? En­core Re­de­vel­op­ment is clearly un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the con­se­quences of the project for Cana­di­ans.

In Que­bec, there are rules about min­i­mum set­back dis­tances re­quired for build­ing in­dus­trial struc­tures of this type. For safety rea­sons, it should be at least dou­ble the dis­tance that En­core Re­de­vel­op­ment will uti­lize.

Is Que­bec the only place to have such stan­dards of prox­im­ity? I’m afraid not. In fact, min­i­mum dis­tance set­back is of ut­most im­por­tance in most of the world. In Eng­land, the min­i­mum dis­tanc­ing of in­dus­trial wind tur­bines from dwellings is ap­prox­i­mately a mile. In France, it would be more than a mile. Most other Euro­pean coun­tries have sim­i­lar min­i­mum dis­tanc­ing stan­dards. Why? Be­cause such in­dus­trial wind tur­bines have se­ri­ous ad­verse ef­fects on hu­man health for those un­for­tu­nate enough to live closeby, not to men­tion the con­sid­er­able de­crease of their prop­er­ties value. Who would want to take the chance of be­ing struck by a piece of ice pro­jected off a mas­sive blade at­tached to a wind tur­bine turn­ing at a rate of a thou­sand miles an hour?

“You know, there re­ally is no prece­dent to fol­low here,” said Mr Chad Far­rell to the Or­leans County Record. Re­ally ? The logic that ap­plies al­most ev­ery­where else would not be a suf­fi­cient guide­line for a com­pany that is pub­licly stat­ing that their phi­los­o­phy is to « cre­ate har- mony»? So the only state where such se­ri­ous risks wouldn’t war­rant fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tions would be in the green Ver­mont?

If Ver­mon­ters feel se­cure uti­liz­ing such low stan­dards of dis­tanc­ing of wind tur­bines, maybe they should think about it twice and learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence of oth­ers. Why take risks with the health and lives of peo­ple if your goal is re­ally to pro­vide «har­mony» with new forms of en­ergy? There is plenty of space in Amer­ica. We sim­ply need to use this space with the health of the peo­ple who re­side there as the pri­mary con­cern, fur­ther­more, in­dus­trial wind tur­bines do NOT be­long in the midst of ru­ral res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hoods.

Ver­mon­ters can do want they want. But as the philoso­pher John Stu­ard Mill once said, «the right of some­one to project his fist in front of him must stop where the nose of some­one else is start­ing». The Cana­dian nose can’t smell such risk for its’ cit­i­zens who would be greatly af­fected by the fist of En­core Re­de­vel­op­ment.

There­fore, a ba­sic ques­tion is very im­por­tant here: where is the har­mony in this project? The city of Stanstead, on the Cana­dian side of the bor­der, voted a mo­tion

cont’d, page 4

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