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CAW faces boycott over Port Elgin wind turbine

A Port Elgin community group has launched a boycott of products made by CAW members to protest a wind turbine being erected by the union in town.

The group, known as STOP, will target any workplace where members of the Canadian Auto Workers are employed, said spokesperson Karen Hunter.

That includes auto makers, airlines and retailers organized by the CAW, she said. In Port Elgin itself, the group is calling for a boycott of the CAW banquet hall, the town’s biggest facility.

STOP is worried about the impact the turbine will have on the health of residents, and on property values in the town on the shore of Lake Huron, a big tourist and summer cottage centre.

The $2 million turbine, which has already been the target of protests and picketing, is now under construction on the CAW’s family education and conference centre in Port Elgin.

The boycott is asking local residents to tell their family and friends about the campaign, and will roll out more tactics as time goes on, Hunter said.

It won’t be easy for everyone to avoid products made or handled by CAW members, she acknowledged.

“Our objective is to raise awareness and educate people about what the CAW is doing,” she said.

The CAW has declined invitations to attend community meetings organized by STOP, she said.

The turbine is being built under rules that have been superseded. Current regulations call for turbines to be at least 550 metres from the nearest dwelling.

But 60 or more homes lie within the 550-metre radius of the CAW turbine.

Town council rejected the turbine, but was over-ruled by the Ontario Municipal Board.