As I read yet another letter from JIM Walsh, the man who faithfully supports Colacem, I was puzzled. Are there more people like him who don’t realize who has been running the cement industry in Quebec for decades (and who are the very same investors behind this cement plant)?

Many of these people were publicly disgraced at the Charbonneau commission for their dishonest business practices in Quebec and have been denied public contracts in that province. It was one of these well-known figures who was on the board of directors of Colacem, but had to step down to avoid bad press (he has recently been released from prison). The reason Colacem chose to build in Ontario is because they are no longer allowed to operate in Quebec. In fact Quebec is stuck with the McInnes cement plant in Port Daniels, which spews over
1 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year. It is the most polluting industry in the whole province and has recently been sold to a Brazilian outfit.

With our country’s climate change goals, that is bad news. Do you still believe, Mr. Walsh, that Colacem’s proposed cement plant will be greener? They will burn petroleum coke, which is a residue of the oil refineries, a cheap and highly polluting fuel, which will emit sulphurous oxides, when mixed with rain produces sulphuric acid. (It is NOT the fine white fertilizing powder that some mayors from our western towns proclaimed would be beneficial to farmers’ crops). The 1 million tons emitted by the McInnes plant will be duplicated here.

Once the 410-foot-tall chimney is built and smoking, who will have the courage to stop it?  Check the lack of support of all politicians in the last few years. They remained in hiding and let Action Champlain pay the bills and carry the fight. I wonder how serious our MPs and MPPs are about climate change.

Such a monstrosity will not bring prosperity to this area unless people  care to live in a heavy industrial zone. I wonder  if many people are prepared to sell their soul to the devil for a few bucks. As it stands we have witnessed the ineffectiveness of the system to protect us from a powerful multinational which can bully its way into any locality with total impudence and against the will of the citizens. It is a very disturbing trend. Big money is power and power has no conscience.

I believe that if enough people pressure on the Ontario Minister of the Environment, David Puccini, demanding an environmental review of this proposed industry, we can stall the project until the government can study the long term effect on our environment. He can be reached at the following E-mail address: [email protected] .

Leola Meagher