Canadian Manufacturing

Wind energy industry calls for public dialogue after worker threatened with gun

Canadian Wind Energy Association says aggression against wind energy workers, supporters are not uncommon.

OTTAWA—The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) is renewing a call for “respectful and fact-based dialogue on wind energy” after a construction worker on a wind energy project in West Grey, Ont., was approached by a man with a shotgun on July 26 and threatened with death.

“We fundamentally recognize the right of citizens to express their views, whether they support wind energy or not, and to be dealt with respectfully. In return, we cannot and should not expect individuals supportive of wind energy or associated with the wind energy industry to face threats on their life or to endure other aggressive or criminal behaviour,” said Robert Hornung, President of CanWEA.

“We hope that leaders of all Ontario organizations engaged in dialogue on the role of wind energy in Ontario — regardless of their views on wind energy — will clearly articulate their support for a dialogue that is free of harassment and the threat of violence to interested citizens and members of the wind energy industry.”

According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, aggression directed at wind energy project developers, supporters and workers is not uncommon. Organized opponents to wind energy have hijacked public meetings, verbally abused wind energy supporters and have destroyed property.

“The most recent incident, however, represents a significant escalation in aggression towards individuals engaged in the wind energy industry,” CanWea said in a statement.

Wind energy has faced fierce opposition in many communities, including Grey Bruce, after reports that living close to industrial wind turbines can cause adverse health effects.

Bruce-Grey Owen Sound’s federal member of parliament, Larry Miller, and member of provincial parliament, Bill Walker, support a moratorium on wind turbine construction unless a Health Canada study, announced July 10, concludes the low-frequency noise generated by industrial wind turbines does not pose a significant health threat.

Health Canada said it will release the results in 2014.

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