To the editor,
Coun. Mark Goetz of South Bruce – and now also candidate for mayor – spread at least two pieces of misinformation at the Oct. 5 all-candidates meeting in Formosa. Representing the host organization, Protect Our Waterways (POW), I feel the need to correct the record.
The first significant piece of misinformation Goetz told the audience of approximately 250 people was, “the majority of people want to hold off any referendum until they are more informed.” He has no basis in fact to make this claim, yet he cited the 2021 GDH Willingness Study as his source of this information.
That study found that of the 229 people who participated, there was an “overwhelming preference for a public referendum.” The study also found that there were “differing perspective on the timing of the referendum.” In that section, the study states that participants raised a “diversity of comments” related to timing including, “as part of the 2022 municipal election”, “as soon as possible”, “held separately from the municipal election,” and “more time should be taken before a referendum is held.” In no part of the GDH Study does it state, claim or even infer that the majority want to hold off a referendum until they are more informed.
More to the point, POW presented 1,754 signed petition cards to council in January 2022. Goetz dismissed the petition, repeating his misinformation about what most people wanted and the study from which his facts were drawn.
Perhaps Goetz just doesn’t read studies as well as he should. This was evident in his claim at the debate that any statement about the dairy industry being concerned about a DGR affecting their sales was “just a statement”, “never proven to be said”, and a “fear tactic.”
Yet, in the 2022 South Bruce Agriculture Business Impact Study, the chief operating officer of Chapman’s Ice Cream stated, “it’s the average consumer people like me have to worry about. Public perception is everything and I can’t criticize the public with associating bad things with nuclear and milk in this instance.” (page 107, Appendix C)
The Chapman’s COO also stated, “A nuclear waste depository underneath farm country may erode confidence in the Ontario dairy industry. The perception of the safety of our food supply may not always be accurate, but it still effects the buying habits of Canadians. In our opinion, as one of the largest processors of Canadian Dairy in Canada, this is a lose-lose scenario for consumers, processors, and dairy farmers.”
When asked by the consultant conducting the impact study on whether he had made that statement, the COO answered, “yes I did.” So, who are we believe? Mr. Goetz›s view of the facts or the COO of Chapman’s who made the statement? I know where my vote goes.
Hope-to-be Mayor Goetz seems to pick and choose his facts with an eye to those that reflect his bias that the DGR will be good for South Bruce. Whether those facts are there or not seems not to matter.
At the close of the session, he repeated his misinformation saying, “people made it clear, they want more information” and accuses the people who want a referendum as soon as possible as “not listening.”
As the flag bearer for demanding people become more informed, we respectfully suggest to Coun. Goetz that he become better informed himself. Because, as he said about being the mayor, “you’re setting an example for all.”
Anja van der Vlies
Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste