Nurses for Safe Renewable Power

Looking for a healthy environment for everyone

The RNAO one year later

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario or RNAO is holding its Annual General Meeting and conference this weekend, beginning yesterday with speeches from the three political party leaders in Ontario.

It’s worth looking back on the year that has passed since RNAO’s last annual meeting, especially for those who are concerned about the rise of a new environmental health problem: the health effects resulting from exposure to the noise and infrasound produced by large-scale wind power generating machines.

A year ago, several nurses took a motion to the RNAO annual general meeting. The resolution stated that with the rise of reported problems and the presence of relevant research, be it resolved that the RNAO would support further health research into this issue and further, support a moratorium on the approval of wind power projects in Ontario until the results of that research were known.

The motion was defeated.

The RNAO did everything they could to make sure that happened though, to be fair, there were a significant number of people who abstained from that vote, saying they would have liked to learn more. Other irregularities that day:

-at an information session for voting delegates the night before, the chair actually spoke against the motion and proffered the RNAO’s paper on renewable energy, which supports wind power development

-at the information session, an RNAO staff member (Kim Jarvi) interrupted the question and answers between the resolution proponents and voting delegates, trying to monopolize the discussion. One voting delegate was heard to say, “I can’t get a word in edgewise.”

-a complaint was made to the Parliamentarian at that time; no action was taken.

-on the day of the meeting again the chair spoke against the motion–this is strictly prohibited in any rules of order you wish to consult

-the proponents of the motion were not allowed their three minutes to present. The chair corrected this and ask them to return to the microphone but began the timing at her announcement and so valuable time was used up as the proponents made their way back to the mike.

-the chair allowed an NON-MEMBER of the RNAO (again, against RNAO’s own bylaws) to speak to the motion. This person was Mr Gideon Forman of the group Canadian Physicians for the Environment, or CAPE.

-the proponents were not allowed to rebut.

And now, what has happened in the year since?

-the University of Waterloo is doing a study on Renewable Energy Technologies and Health (RETH)

-Health Canada has launched a study into the effects of the environmental noise and vibration

-other studies have been published that show a link between the turbine noise and health problems including Nissenbaum et al, Shepherd et al.

-the medical Officer of Health for Grey-Bruce did a literature review and found that there is no support for a “null hypothesis”; in other words, it is impossible to deny a link between the environmental noise from the wind power turbines and health effects

-Members of Provincial Parliament and Members of Parliament have called for a moratorium on wind power project approvals; a petition was presented in Parliament by MP Pierre Poilievre

Since then, one of the nurses has resigned her membership in the RNAO. “I can’t belong to an organization that doesn’t care about health,” she told Dale Goldhawk on Zoomer Radio in an interview.

The RNAO continues to be a pawn of the Liberal government and its renewable energy agenda which is being criticized daily (see Fraser Institute report, April 11, 2013).

The nurses of Ontario are not well served by this organization.

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