Ramblings of alarmist activists fall on deaf ears here in North [Ontario] – by Ron Grech (Timmins-The Daily Press-March 25, 2011)

Ron Grech is a reporter for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at  
rgrech@thedailypress.ca

What we see again is an alarmist message from special interest groups aimed at
justifying extreme measures that will impact the lives and livelihood of people in
Northern Ontario. Northerners have a natural inclination to bond and care for the
health of their surroundings. Why else would they choose to live here and raise their
families here? (Ron Grech – March 25, 2011)

With the Darlington public hearings beginning last week, activists were provided an opportunity to push their agenda thanks to an earthquake and tsunami setting off a nuclear crisis in Japan.

Proponents for refurbishing of the nuclear facility pointed out the two circumstances are very different. The fact is half of Ontario’s power comes from nuclear plants and they have operated for more than 30 years without incident. The province does not sit on a fault line, so facilities here do not encounter immense earthquakes and tsunamis the way they do in Japan.

But that type of reasoning washes over the public when people are captivated by a disaster and uneasy about bringing it close to home.

Northerners can’t help but watch this discussion in southern Ontario without being mindful of how they have been affected by knee-jerk alarmism and governments swayed by public pressure and half-truths.

Activism is not about presenting a reasoned argument and balanced set of facts. It is about tilting the apple cart of public opinion and embarrassing governments to slide legislation through.

We saw it in the past with the elimination of the spring bear hunt in 1999 after the Shad Foundation threatened to finance a publicity campaign decrying the orphaning of bear cubs. The campaign, designed to sway voters in key southern Ontario ridings, would have attacked the then-governing provincial Conservatives for allowing such slaughter to continue.

It is the same methodology activists have used to protest the annual culling of seals off Newfoundland. No science required — just hold up a photo of a doe-eyed baby seal to get a point across.

As long as a cause can be found and money can be raised, there will always be lobby groups to lead such campaigns.

The current provincial government has been obliging to activists who feel the way to save the woodland caribou from extinction is by reintroducing them in forests where they have not been seen in generations. The proposed amendments to the Endangered Species Act would have mining and forestry face barriers across vast areas of Northern Ontario.

What we see again is an alarmist message from special interest groups aimed at justifying extreme measures that will impact the lives and livelihood of people in Northern Ontario.

Northerners have a natural inclination to bond and care for the health of their surroundings. Why else would they choose to live here and raise their families here?

Yet the alarmist approach is to pull a plug in the absence of reasoning or any consideration of implications. It’s enough to turn you off as soon as activists open their mouth.

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