Late last week the government announced that Health Canada, in combination with Stats Canada, would be investigating the health effects of wind turbines. Both departments, having suffered large government cuts from the 2012 Budget, are pooling their resources to launch a $1.8 billion study into whether or not people are becoming depressed, having trouble sleeping, and feeling stressed because of wind turbines, or because they’re just plain angry about wind turbines or have any of a gazillion other reasons to have those symptoms.
The Health Canada study, being embarked upon despite a number of previous studies demonstrating the safety of wind turbines, is playing to the Conservative’s political base and attacking their primary foes: the NDP and environmentalists. Wind turbines are located in rural areas, where the Conservative voting base is strong and environmentalist concerns are generally ignored (at best), or trampled vigorously (at worst)(1). Given the Harper Government’s invested interest in oil and pandering to its base of supporters who seem prejudiced against anything non-oil, the bias of the study is going to be questionable.
As seen in Eastern Canada and throughout selected areas of Ontario & Quebec, wind turbines can create a large number of long-term jobs(2). Additionally, as an electricity exporting nation, securing wind power as a major source of electricity generation serves to help cement our long-term ability to sell it. These two prime aspects may allow the Conservatives, known to ignore impartial scientific studies, to allow the study to properly run its course(3).
However, given that their base seems to have an inherent hatred for all things not-oil, and that they’re the people continuing to raise a stink about the use of wind, it may be more likely for the Conservatives to bias the study with the threat of additional funding cuts. Given the giant cuts and cancellation of programs related to Environment Canada, including the shut-down of facilities that used to be the envy of the world, those additional cuts are certainly hanging on the table as a threat should they report in a manner opposite the Conservative’s intention.
The effects of Wind Turbines is of great debate between the scientific information proven time and again throughout Canada, the US, and Europe (where wind turbines are far closer to far larger populations). Despite this, the Conservatives are sinking $1.8 billion dollars into funding a study that their supporters hope will kill an industry that should one-day rival and overthrow the oil industry for power generation. Some platitudes to their electoral base is promising to ensure additional pollution, unemployment, and a further erosion of scientific study and statistical research. Given the pre-determined results of this biased study, we might as well have a $1.8 billion Health Canada study on the effects of the financial downturn, layoffs, and austerity measures…
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