Sarnia’s Diane Shultz wasn’t going to miss her chance to show Premier Kathleen Wynne what she thinks.
“I’m passionate because we’re talking about our future, our children’s future,” said Shultz as she demonstrated outside the Best Western Guildwood Inn, where the premier was about to speak.
Shultz joined about 40 others who don’t want wind turbines in Lambton County.
“My daughter and her family live in Plympton/Wyoming and the girls go to Aberarder School where they are building turbines,” she said.
“There will be five of them within 1,500 metres of the school. That’s unconscionable. We don’t know they are safe.”
The group WAIT (We’re Against Industrial Turbines), also demonstrated when Wynne’s last visited Sarnia in 2013, noted spokesperson Santo Giorno.
“I think we are making progress in raising awareness, but we don’t see any evidence that she has become more receptive to the concerns of rural Ontario,” he said. “She sees us as objects to be pushed aside.”
The protesters had no contact with Wynne as her car pulled up outside the hotel, where she spoke to about 200 attending a luncheon hosted by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.
Once inside, Wynne referred to the demonstrators, saying the only way to avoid a global warming catastrophe is to transition to a low-carbon economy.
“Having closed our coal-fired power plants and kick-started a renewable sector, Ontario is already out in front,” she said.
“Those are not easy decisions. There are people outside today who are still mad at us because we made that decision and because we started a new industry in this province. I get that, but we had to take that step.”
Wynne had this to say about other issues of the day impacting Sarnia:
On the possibility of provincial money for a heavy load corridor through the city – “As we talk around the province and have consultations on the $11.5 billion that is available for transportation infrastructure, we need that kind of proposal to come forward.
“I said to the mayor (the heavy load corridor) needs to be brought into the discussion.”
When it was pointed out the province recently denied a $150,000 request to build a business case for the Sarnia project, Wynne said – “My guess is the response was we’re not going to deal with this right now. You need to be part of this other process, which is the $11.5 billion discussion.”
On contract talks with Ontario elementary teachers – “It is our intention to work as hard as we can to get a deal at the bargaining table … I want our kids to be able to start school smoothly after Labour Day.”
On Sarnia’s economic strengths – “At the nexus of innovation, competitiveness and improving environmental performance, Sarnia has probably shown the most leadership and made more progress than any other region in Ontario … Sarnia is a North American leader in the knowledge-intensive industries of bio-industrial innovation and hybrid chemistry.”
On the Liberal’s cap and trade carbon market plan – “Climate change is an issue that is upon us and that’s why cap and trade is critical but … Sarnia is very well positioned because of its history of innovation … to give us good advice on setting up a cap and trade system.”
While in Sarnia-Lambton on June 18, the premier also toured CF Industries near Courtright where a $105-million expansion for urea production was announced.
Later, she attended the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiatives conference at the Point Edward Holiday Inn and called on the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.