Live chat on lfpress.com draws hundreds
By Jonathan Sher
Last Updated: December 13, 2010 4:12pm
It was the one question many asked of Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid — and one he dodged for the better part of an hour.
During a live chat on lfpress.com, Duguid was asked again and again by readers if he’d be willing to live next to wind turbines of the sort he is pushing across the province.
The question was asked so often it was raised a few more times by the live chat moderator, city editor Greg Van Moorsel.
But while Duguid wrote much about the benefits of wind power — more than 600 words over the course of 11 responses — he wrote nothing of whether he personally would be willing to live next to a turbine.
That led to much frustration among some readers who accused Duguid of ignoring concerns and simply repeating the exact same phrases he uses whenever he defends wind power and Ontario’s Green Energy Act.
“(The minister) can’t speak without cue cards,” wrote Maureen Anderson, an organizer of an umbrella organization representing dozens of anti-wind groups across Ontario, Wind Concerns Ontario.
It was the head of Wind Concerns Ontario, John Laforet, who joined Duguid in a live chat in which readers could write questions and comments.
The event generated so many responses that only a fraction could be posted in the chat.
While most who posted were opposed to wind energy, the split was closer among those who watched the chat and replied to online questions about wind power.
What was bracingly clear was this: Those on both sides of the debate believe wind power will be a force in the next Ontario election in Oct. 2011, with 84% responding to an online question saying turbines would affect how they voted.