Premier stands behind wind farm development

BELLEVILLE, ONTARIO - Ontario's premier says the government is ensuring wind farms won't harm Ontarians' health as they provide jobs and clean energy.

"I have confidence in the standards, that we have struck the right balance between protecting health, protecting our natural environment, and allowing our economy to grow," Dalton McGuinty told reporters after his speech to the Rotary Club of Belleville.

"The demand is out there (to) create jobs," he said at the Ramada Inn, adding some residents are also demanding electricity without wanting to live near power plants.

"We're trying to reconcile those demands with our responsibility to make sure these things are safe and don't compromise our health," McGuinty said.

"So we're relying on the best expertise that we've gathered from around the world.

"We have put in place now under the regulations of our Green Energy Act the toughest standards in North America and tougher than many they already have in place in Europe."

The premier also commended Belleville's high rate of entrepreneurship and its manufacturing base.

"This is a community that has its act together," he said. "It is remarkable — the kind of manufacturing that is taking place in a smaller centre. It just reaffirms this idea that anybody can do this as long as they have the determination, the infrastructure and the know-how."

McGuinty said advanced manufacturing is key to staying competitive.

"We just can't make brooms as cheap as they can in developing countries," he said.

"But they can't make the Blackberries we make in Kitchener-Waterloo or our Toyota Lexus we make in Cambridge.

"They can't make the E. coli 0157 cattle vaccine we're making here at Bioniche and the headlights they make in Decoma right here in Belleville.

"An important contributing factor to the success here is the relationship with Loyalist (College). The great thing about a community college is they can turn programs around, and often in a just-in-time way."

Colleges are also important in retraining people for second careers, he said.



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