In spite of efforts to quash their initiative, a group of Ontario registered nurses including the entire Algoma Chapter of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) and WCO president and RN Jane Wilson, forged ahead at the Annual General Meeting.
They presented a motion asking for members to support a call for more research into the reported health effects from the environmental noise and vibration caused by industrial wind turbines. The resolution also asked members to consider a moratorium on wind development until such research was complete.
While the motion was defeated, several members in the room abstained. "Abstaining from a public vote sends a message that there are those who have doubts about the current RNAO position on wind turbines," said Jane Wilson.
Discussion on the motion was limited to a brief five-minute window, much of which was used up by Gideon Forman, not a nurse but executive director of Canadian Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) pro-wind advocates. Forman, who is not a medical doctor, predicted pollution-related deaths from coal-fired power generation if the motion were to pass. The proponents were not permitted to rebut even though that is usually part of the rules of order.
"Clearly, Big Wind has billions in profits at stake," Wilson said shortly after the vote, "and it appears spokespeople for the opposing side were lined up in order to confuse the issue and to defeat the resolution. They must be worried about what people and nurses in Ontario's communities are thinking."
Wilson was alarmed when, during a discussion of the issue with voting delegates the evening before the vote, an RNAO staffer entered the group and dominated discussion. "I can't get a word in edgewise," commented an RNAO member to Wilson.
After the vote this morning, members were heard to say, "I want to hear the rest of her story!"
The RNAO released its policy statement on energy four days before the vote. The statement has been roundly criticized for lack of scholarship and going beyond the expertise of the nursing organization.
Guest speaker at the RNAO's annual general meeting in the afternoon session was Premier Dalton McGuinty.