Pretending to listen to citizens is worse than ignoring them

Press release from the collective

The issue of 5G deployment is a complete divorce between citizens and policy makers. For more than 2 years, the Collectif has been doing its utmost to make the population of our country aware of the inevitable and dramatic consequences of the deployment of 5G.

Using all the democratic means to make its case, the Collective has accepted without great illusion to participate in the participatory process set up by the government of the Brussels Region. This process gave 45 selected citizens the illusion that they could influence policy decisions. In fact, it turned out that neither the principle of 5G deployment nor the radiation exposure limits were really under discussion. Clearly, only a few adjustments to antenna installation projects will be considered. It is obviously a pseudo-democratic smoke and mirrors operation where citizens are used to support a socially useless and ecologically destructive project.

In the Walloon Region, the government took care to ask a group of experts to carry out a preliminary impact study, taking into consideration the various aspects deemed relevant: economy, employment, energy, environment, health. The choice of these experts was obviously crucial to guarantee the seriousness of this study. With regard to health, the three experts appointed were obviously chosen because of their previous positions in favour of the industrial vision. According to them, the non-thermal effects of non-ionizing radiation would have no effect on health. Unsurprisingly, at least two of the three experts considered that the deployment of 5G does not pose any public health concerns.

However, this « thermal » paradigm has been challenged for many years by thousands of studies and by an overwhelming majority of scientists who are independent of industry (including the Belgian High Council of Health).

The Collectif thought it would be useful to propose to the Walloon parliamentarians that they hear from one of these independent, internationally recognized experts, Professor Paul Héroux of McGill University in Montreal (professor of toxicology and the effects of electromagnetism on health at the Faculty of Medicine).

The Collective has initiated a petition on this subject, which has collected nearly 4,000 signatures in record time. This petition was logically accepted by the Walloon Parliament since it was perfectly in conformity with the regulation in force.

The Environment Commission of the Walloon Parliament, after having heard the arguments of the petitioners, refused by 6 votes against 2 (PTB and CDH) to hear Professor Héroux, thus aligning itself, without any qualms, with the opinion of the Minister of the Environment, the said Minister considering that the group of experts was balanced and judging this hearing superfluous

The citizens will appreciate this contemptuous attitude towards a request made by thousands of citizens.

How can we be surprised then to see the rise of the population’s disaffection for incompetent political parties that confiscate debates while pretending to want citizen participation.

These two episodes have shown that small openings for citizens to express themselves can only marginally change the compromises negotiated between parties over their heads. By granting them only cosmetic interventions, the parties contribute to undermine democracy in depth.

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  • Paul Lannoye, 081 44 53 64
  • Colette Devillers, 02 772 86 80
  • Francis Leboutte, 04 388 39 19

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