Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was greeted by “the Wynne head” and shouts of “shame” when she arrived Thursday at the Guildwood Inn to speak at a Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Several dozen protesters from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and a similar number of anti-wind turbine protesters carried signs outside the hotel under the watch of OPP officers.
One of the protesters suited up to wear an oversized effigy of the premier.
OPSEU members were protesting the lack of progress on a new contract with the government, and the anti-turbine protesters expressed their opposition to wind energy projects.
“Kathleen Wynne has shown she has a tin ear when it comes to listening to the concerns of rural residents,” said Santo Giorno, a member of the group We’re Against Industrial Turbines, Plympton-Wyoming.
“What she’s doing is wrong, it’s deceitful, it’s dishonest and it’s hurting rural Ontario.”
Suncor and NextEra are currently building a 46-turbine wind project in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
“This premier needs to get back to the bargaining table,” said Len Elliott, an executive board member with OPSEU.
“It has been 160-plus days now without a collective agreement.”
Elliott said the union believes the premier is stalling the negotiations until after Toronto hosts the Pan Am Games later this summer.
“We want her to get back to real, fair, non-concessional bargaining on the issues.”
Dave Esser, president of OPSEU Local 128 at the Sarnia Jail, said there was a “decent presence” at the rally.
“We just want her to know that business-as-usual isn’t what we’re interested in,” he said.
“Don’t walk away from the table.”
Plympton-Wyoming resident Ed Vanderaa, a wind turbine opponent, said, “She has to listen. She’s ignoring but she’s hearing it, and if we continue the storyline . . . she’ll finally get the message.”
Wind protester Mary-Lynn Cooper said she wanted the premier to know she’s unhappy with decisions the provincial government is making.
“She’s giving the world away to the corporations and industry,” Cooper said.
Katie Horvath, co-founder of a social justice student advocate group at Lambton College, said her message to the premier was, “Start paying attention.”
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