As the wind turbines roll into southwestern Ontario ready for construction, reality is starting to sink in.
Ingrid Willemsen of the anti-industrial wind turbine group WAIT in Plympton-Wyoming says that is one of the reasons for Saturday’s planned blockade of Highway 402.
The Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns group has organized the 10 am protest calling on residents to bring their tractors, trucks and vehicles decked out in signs to highlight Ontario is not a willing host to the wind energy projects which are being approved by the provincial government.
“Only through solidarity to fight the loss of our democratic rights can we begin to regain our liberties,” writes Muriel Blair of MLWC in an email to supporters. “Please unite in this fight and show that our numbers are strong and our voices will not be quieted until our rights are restored.”
Willemsen says the protest is what many people see as the last resort for many of the projects which are slated to begin this year. “The blades are rolling down the street and the components are going into the ground,” says Willemsen. “There can’t be any political action that can help anymore…There can’t be any wind company action that can help anymore in terms of contracts.
“I would say it is the last resort as things now visually happening and people can finally can see what they should have been able to envision.”
Willemsen says at this point there seems to be no other way. “I think it gets to this point only because other avenues have been exhausted…I think civil disobedience is sometimes necessary to get the attention people are screaming for…It’s not just a few activists its hundreds and thousands of people.
“With the Green Energy Act and what it allowed, the political approach the rational legal approach is all difficult and may be too late…Civil disobedience may get us there quicker.”
Petrolia Mayor John McCharles disagrees saying politicians should be going nose-to-nose with the provincial government to regain control of planning for the projects. But he understands their frustration.
“Sometime protests are the only way to get the government’s attention,” he says adding he would like to see a combined effort of all Lambton County municipalities to make an impact with the province.
“If we’re going to have a voice, it should be a combined voice. To put a few tractors on the 402 is going to get a few residents and some Americans upset.”
Willemsen says civil disobedience wouldn’t’ be her preferred route either. “I personally would never rather do this ..I’m pretty rational …pretty level headed. And that’s the way WAIT is…we can’t understand why it is such a heap of a mess that couldn’t have been rationally amended somewhere in the last two years
“We’ve been to councilors we’ve been to mayors we’ve been to every level of government they all say go somewhere else they can’t do anything.”
And she says her resolve on the issue was strengthened when she traveled through the wind turbines dotting Chatham-Kent recently. “This is not just a little deal…it feels like we’re living in chemical valley and our houses are right in those plants….put yourself in that place I can’t understand that Ontario wants that.
“We’re never going to give up.”