A liberal insult
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