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Getting the facts straight on ethanol debacle

Re: “Waterfront ethanol debacle not MP’s fault”, published in The Oshawa Express Dec. 20, 2017

Dear editor,

I am genuinely saddened to have to write this letter. I had hoped that, with the demise of the ethanol refinery, the community had seen the last of letters like the one from Elsie Jenkins (Dec 20/17) containing examples of the same old misinformation from federal and other sources that the refinery’s opponents were forced to debunk on a regular basis. I could almost live with it were it not for her unwarranted and unfounded slur of Mr. Larry Ladd because of his simple observation (letter, Dec 6/17) of some of Oshawa MP Colin Carrie’s government’s shortfalls during the community’s fight to protect its plans for a people-friendly waterfront. So, here we go again.

Firstly, Durham Regional Council never “invited FarmTech to our community”. There is no record of regional council issuing an invitation to anyone to establish a biofuel facility at Oshawa’s waterfront. In fact, regional council unanimously passed a resolution in opposition to such a project.

Secondly, there’s plenty of reason that many Oshawa residents were thoroughly dissatisfied with the apparent inconsistency between Mr. Carrie’s repeated claim that “the Oshawa waterfront was not his preferred location” and the fact that his government was providing waterfront land on which the ethanol refinery could be placed. Despite widespread calls to transfer the Gifford Farmlands to the City of Oshawa and the City’s expressed interest in obtaining this land, the Harper government designated this property as Crown Land and put it under the control of the Oshawa Port Authority (OPA), a federal agency. This was land that was never needed for port operations but did provide a place for the ethanol refinery. The results were a surprise to no one. Soon after the OPA’s formation, the federally-appointed majority on its board of directors officially approved the ethanol refinery on those lands. And now we are stuck with the continuing legacy of Mr. Carrie’s government’s actions; the ongoing potential for the OPA to industrialize this land. This impending threat is especially significant now that the OPA needs to find a way to pay the $4.1 million arbitration penalty assessed against it.

It’s one thing to disagree with Mr. Ladd’s concerns about Colin Carrie’s decisions but it’s quite another to accuse him of “deliberately misleading readers”. Though I have my suspicions, I can’t state for sure who Ms. Jenkins may have used as her source for the flawed materials in her disparagement of Larry Ladd’s character. May I gently suggest that she turn to a more reliable supplier if she is interested in a more accurate account of federal actions related to Oshawa’s waterfront. I believe she would find it an eye-opening experience and hopefully realize that unjustifiably denigrating the reputation of a good man has no role in bettering the community.


Brian W. Brasier