Thursday, July 2, 2009

Haldimand "Threat of Nuclear Plant is Hurting Local Economy"

Threat of Nuclear Plant is Hurting Local Economy
by Jim Elve of Waterford

On June 28, the Ontario government suspended plans to deploy two new nuclear reactors at Darlington. Even with a bottomless public purse, the costs were deemed too high.

On July 1, the largest energy company in the US, Exelon, dropped plans to build a two-reactor plant in Victoria, Texas. The costs were too high.

In April, another large American energy company, St. Louis-based AmerenUE suspended work on a reactor in Missouri. Costs were too high.

On July 2, New Brunswick revealed that the refurbishment project at the Point Lepreau nuclear station was eight months behind schedule and more than $100 million over budget.

On June 8, secret papers left at a CTV studio revealed that the refurbishment of reactors at Bruce Power’s Kincardine plant is over a year behind schedule and between $300 and $600 million over budget.

On June 11, Prime Minister Harper's chief spokesman, Kory Teneycke, said Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is a "dysfunctional," $30-billion "sinkhole" that will not get any more federal funding.

As of July 1, Areva’s Olkiluoto nuclear energy project in Finland was 42 months behind schedule and 60% over budget.

The new generation of nuclear development is proving to be a lot like the previous generation: too costly to deserve either private or public investment. The much-touted “nuclear renaissance” is proving to be just so much hype from a highly polished and well-heeled sales force intent on lobbying for a dubious, if not absurd, new round of fruitless investment.

Here in Haldimand-Norfolk, we are being lured with the same empty hook. Bruce Power’s bid to build a two-reactor plant with private capital is every bit as financially ill-advised as the aforementioned projects. The pie-in-the-sky promise of 1000 high paid jobs is as believable as the promises that the new generation of reactors would be built on time and on budget.

About three weeks ago, Ontario Energy Minister George Smitherman reiterated in no uncertain terms that Ontario is not supporting Bruce’s Nanticoke proposal and that the province has no intention of purchasing any electricity that might be created at a possible Nanticoke nuclear plant. We simply do not need it. Ontario already has a surplus of baseload nuclear energy and on over 200 occasions in 2009, we’ve actually paid industrial customers to use it… after we paid the nuclear plants to produce it.

Last week, a Bruce Power spokesperson told Saskatchewan residents that a nuclear plant could not be built in their province without the support and stability offered by a firm provincial government commitment. Indeed, no nuclear project has ever been built without massive taxpayer support.

Despite the lack of financial backing and the strong probability that no plant will ever be built at Nanticoke, Bruce Power continues to press on with the Environmental Assessment it began last November. The nuclear Sword of Damocles continues to damage our local economy by scaring away potential new residents and driving away long time citizens.

Surveys taken by MPP Toby Barrett over a three year period indicate that 76% of H-N residents are opposed to a new nuclear plant. New residents echo the same sentiment over and over; if they’d been aware that a nuclear plant was being proposed 6 km from downtown Port Dover, they would have bought their retirement homes elsewhere. Instead of helping our local economy with future jobs, jobs, jobs, the threat of a nuclear plant is stifling growth and curtailing employment for our existing local tradesmen and businesses.

Both Bruce Power and Premier McGuinty have assured us that they will not pursue nuclear development in anything but a “willing host community”. We can permanently remove the growth-inhibiting threat of a nuclear plant by urging our municipality, through resolutions by Norfolk and Haldimand County Councils declaring that we are not a willing host.

Haldimand and Norfolk residents can contact their democratic representatives on county councils and tell them to remove this threat that is already damaging our local economy. The hollow promise of future jobs relies on nuclear investors being hoodwinked into investing here when they are dropping the nuclear hot potato everywhere else. If it won’t happen, let’s make it clear to real investors that were driving unprecedented growth in Port Dover before the spectre of a nuclear plant loomed on the horizon.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Haldimand "Craving Attention"

Craving attention
The Chronicle Editorial
July 1, 2009

So how much obligation does a newspaper have to provide coverage to someone who admittedly engages in acts simply to garner attention?

This is the question facing Haldimand newspapers in the wake of last week's dog and pony show in Cayuga.

In the days leading up to last Tuesday evening, Doug Fleming was asking people to come to a meeting where he would form a militia aimed at removing trespassers from properties in Caledonia. Specifically he wanted to target Six Nations residents who have been embroiled in land occupations in the area.

And then hours before the meeting Gary McHale distributed a press release saying, "At no time was Doug Fleming's new group going to be called 'Caledonia Militia'. It should be apparent to everyone that the word 'militia' was used to get media attention. It is unfortunate in Canada that media will not cover a story unless you use such a word..."

In no uncertain terms he was saying the whole thing was a publicity stunt.

McHale signed the release as media relations for the 'Caledonia Peacekeepers' , the new name of the Caledonia Militia.

In light of the confession McHale and the group have lost even more credibility. All along they have claimed they are only trying restore balance to a situation in which they perceive two-tier justice.

Yes, newspapers will pay attention when someone comes along and uses a phrase like militia. One of its definitions is "military force."

In Canada the use of a private army is going to get you some attention. It sure doesn't mean you're going to get respect.

Surely recruitment conducted for a responsible group of citizens who want, and need to band together for the common good wouldn't need a publicity stunt to succeed.

So it appears the goal wasn't to actually form a peacekeeping gang but rather simply to provide an opportunity to step once again into the spotlight.

We also have to wonder if the roughly 125 protestors outside the meeting compared with the 30 or so inside gave McHale and Fleming a hint that maybe they're not quite as popular as they think they are.

We have a democratic system in place designed to represent us and to solve problems such as the myriad of land claims across the country. Indigenous peoples will be the first to tell you our system isn't perfect but they wouldn't be the only ones. Average Canadians are also frustrated at the lack of progress in this arena.

But McHale ran in the last federal election. It appeared at the time he understood that in a democracy you can be elected to carry out the wishes of your constituents. But apparently, if you're Gary McHale, losing just means you take matters into your own hands, democratic process be

And no matter how you slice it, that makes him a vigilante -"One who advocates taking the law enforcement into one's own hands."

And yes in Canada that means getting media attention but in this case McHale is under a spotlight revealing -through his own admission -less than admirable motives.

There is no doubt that OPP have handled Six Nations residents differently than other citizens. They have little choice given directives from the Province in the wake of the Ipperwash inquiry.

But there is one question that has never been answered and until McHale or his disciples address it they will continue to be viewed as publicity seeking agitators by most citizens.

And the question is simple: Just how have your actions helped government negotiators reach a peaceful solution to land claims in Caledonia?

Article ID# 1636746

Haldimand "Protest Stays Peaceful"

Protest stays peaceful
July 1, 2009

The quiet town of Cayuga was full of action last Tuesday (June 23) as people came from communities as far away as Toronto. They gathered to protest or observe a controversial first meeting of the "Caledonia Peacekeepers" taking place inside the Cayuga Lion's Club Hall.

After a week of speculation and media frenzy into the apparent forming of a "militia" group in Caledonia, the facts came to light just hours prior to a meeting on Tuesday organized by Doug Fleming of Caledonia and Gary McHale from Binbrook.

The press release read; "At no time was Doug Fleming's new group going to be called 'Caledonia Militia'. It should be apparent to everyone that the word 'militia' was used to get media attention. It is unfortunate in Canada that media will not cover a story unless you use such a word, but the fact that Doug Fleming called it an unarmed militia meant that it wasn't a militia. The name of the group has been a closely guarded secret to ensure max. Media coverage. The name of the new group is the Caledonia Peacekeepers"; Gary McHale signed this press release, media relations for the Caledonia Peacekeepers.

The normally quiet street was lined on both sides with vehicles as far as one could see. Media were there in full force speculating on a clash between the "peacekeepers" inside and the protesters outside. People gathered in small groups. Some were residents who live on the street and surrounding area. Others were from Six Nations who are the target of the "peacekeeping" initiative.

The situation escalated when about 125 protesters from CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group lead by Tom Keefer announced they would attend in protest of the proposed "militia."

Pat Hebb from Hamilton and Margaret Munday from Hagersville were part of the crowd that gathered Tuesday night outside the Lion's Hall. Both ladies own trailers at Conway Park in Cayuga and walked over to see first hand what was going on. "I don't blame them, the protesters or the people inside. I blame the government. They (the government) need to get off their asses and settle this," said Hebb.

The group from CUPE 3903 chanted "Go away KKK" and had signs that read "Canadians Don't Want Anti-Native Vigilantes," "Klan Meeting in Progress," "Militia Go Home".

Niki Thorne, a York University student and member of the First Nations Solidarity Working Group was one of the speakers. "We oppose the threat of violence and escalation of the problem: "This is a bigger issue. This is not just about Caledonia. We need to settle all land claims in a crisp, peaceful and fair manner."

While protesters were making speeches outside about 26 people filled the Lions Hall. In his opening statement Fleming said, "I'm going to be very blunt here. My grandfather's generation fought a war against Nazi Germany to combat that type of thinking. If any of you here have bought into this racist doctrine, I just want you to know this: I despise your beliefs. I couldn't disagree with you more, and this is not the group for you." Fleming went on to say that he personally knows people who have suffered for the last two years and feels compelled to do something about it.

McHale, media relations for the Caledonia Peacekeepers, was the speaker for the rest of the evening. McHale went into detail about issues such as the "race-based policing" of the OPP and how the new group would carry out citizens arrests.

In an interview Monday morning with The Chronicle, Keefer expressed his personal opinion that the renaming of the Caledonia Militia to the Caledonia Peacekeepers is nothing more than "more classic McHale double talk."

"The bottom line is that the forming of this militia is only going to escalate things and could lead to violence. There is no positive outcome to this," said Keefer