Randy speaks in support of the Local Municipality Democracy Act in the Ontario Legislature.

December 2, 2011

Mr. Randy Pettapiece:Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s a real privilege to speak in the Legislature today.

To those who put their confidence in me, I want to say thank you. I want to assure all my constituents, wherever they live, that I will do my very best on their behalf at Queen’s Park. As MPPs, we must never forget one of our most important responsibilities, and that is to speak up for those who believe that the government is not listening to their voices and is ignoring their concerns.

That is what I want to do today in speaking in favour of the Local Municipality Democracy Act. My colleague the member from Prince Edward–Hastings deserves enormous credit for introducing this bill, which would restore local municipal control over green energy projects. This is not a debate about green energy itself; it’s about the need for the McGuinty government to start treating its municipal partners with respect and recognizing the critical role in the planning process which is rightfully theirs.

I’m told that no fewer than 80 municipal councils have passed resolutions, motions or bylaws regarding industrial wind turbine development and the Green Energy Act. Those include the townships of Mapleton and Wellington North, the municipalities of North Perth and West Perth as well as the county of Wellington—all in my riding of Perth–Wellington. If the government were to really listen to these municipalities, there would be no good reason for them to oppose this bill.

Over and over again, we’ve heard that the process governing wind farm approvals lacks openness and transparency. That’s what I heard on Friday, November 18, when I met with several of my constituents in Wellington county. They have seen first-hand a process that isn’t open, isn’t transparent and isn’t fair. The McGuinty government’s policy is pitting neighbour against neighbour, municipality against municipality, and a great many people against the provincial government.

Here’s my position, Mr. Speaker: We must restore the municipal planning authority that the McGuinty government stripped away. That’s exactly what my colleague’s bill will do, and that’s why it has my strong support and the strong support of so many of my constituents. So again I congratulate the member from Prince Edward–Hastings, Todd Smith, for bringing forward this bill, and I thank all of my colleagues who have called on this government to do the right thing.

To all my constituents who believe they haven’t been heard, there is reason for hope: I hear you, the PC caucus hears you, and we’re going to do what we can to make sure that the McGuinty government finally starts listening.