CAW wind turbine hypocrisy in Port Elgin Ontario

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who are the biggest hypocrites of them all? Well, you would be right if you answered the decision-makers at the Canadian Auto Workers union — which is ironic to say the least. I mean, this is the union who says they represent the little guy. For example, check out this CAW website.

On their left sidebar, it shows a text box with a banner that states: “Fighting Back Makes a Difference.”Except, when the fighting back is by an entire community against the CAW’s financial interests, then it doesn’t seem to make any difference at all to CAW administrators.

So, why are the citizens of picturesque Port Elgin, Ontario protesting and fighting back? Because the CAW is installing one of the largest and noisiest wind turbines available right in the middle of their town, and given what has been alleged, they are doing so by skirting around every rule in the book.  Why? In their own words:

“The CAW is erecting a wind turbine on the grounds of its Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario. The construction of this wind turbine is an important milestone in our union’s efforts to build a more sustainable future. A vision that was lead by environmentally-conscious union members and activists in 2003 is now coming into focus.”

The tragedy is, of course, the primary reason the CAW would have chosen Port Elgin for its world class education and conference centre was because of its pristine beauty.

However, there are grand visions and reality. As Karen Hunter wrote in the Huffington Post:

“Despite all the places CAW could have located the mammoth structure, it picked Port Elgin, ‘considered — one of the leading recreational playgrounds in Ontario’ for an industrial wind turbine. CAW’s vacant 128-acre property nearby was deemed too environmentally sensitive. Besides, the land had just been subdivided and its lots stood to rake in $2 million. The FEC’s densely-populated neighbourhood didn’t have such sensitivities.

The turbine’s proposed location was so beautiful, it posed a problem: the land’s picturesque, clean beach and nature trails led to its classification as a tourist and recreational community. Therefore, the turbine’s noise emission would exceed legislated standards. Not easily deterred, CAW found a quick fix: Classify the small tourist community as ‘urban’ on the turbine application since acceptable noise emission levels are higher. No one will notice. The scheme worked, and the Ministry of Environment (MOE) approved it. Voila.”

There are other issues as well.  According to Hunter, the CAW is using non-labour to build the turbine.  And jobs in construction and related trades are being held up because people backed out of new home deals as soon as they found where the turbine was going to be built.

In other words, when it comes to the leadership of the CAW, it is do as I say, not as I do. I mean, can you just imagine if the shoe were on the other foot and it was the housing developer who shut out CAW workers? Well, we know what would happen don’t we, given recent CAW threats to occupy the London Caterpillar plant.

So, the next time you see or hear Ken Lewenza protesting about something he disagrees with (particularly how industries are ruled by their profit margins), stop and ask him why he is putting the CAW’s financial interests ahead of an entire community

In the meantme, it is obvious that the people of Port Elgin are not going to give up without the very fight the CAW tells other people to undertake to make a difference. And, while I don’t live near Port Elgin, but in the Niagara Region, I wrote this post to support that community from the hyprocrisy shown by the CAW.


Endnotes: (1) For more on this topic, check out the archives at and, as well as this Google Search page. . (2) If the attribution to any photographs is incorrect, please send me the correct information or link via my Contact Form.

29 thoughts on “CAW wind turbine hypocrisy in Port Elgin Ontario

  1. I may have mentioned this here before, but it bears repeating from the hypocrisy angle. Many of the CAW’s neighbours are current, ot retired union workers from Bruce Power, the lynchpin of Bruce Co economy for decades. The nuclear industry does two things wind power can never do, generate cost-effective electricity, and provide stable well paying jobs. So much for CAW union solidarity..


  2. Very good points Martin which is why I specifically said the “decision-makers” at the CAW. This decision has nothing to do with current or retired CAW members or, in fact, any other private sector union workers either. This falls solely on the heads of the CAW leadership, if you can call it that.


  3. Part of this former leadership was Peggy Nash now campaigning for head of the NDP. It might be interesting to hear her thoughts on this subject, were any media reporters inclined to ask her.


  4. I have to add something here, that multiply what’s going on in Port Elgin by hundreds of larger, equal and smaller towns/villages along the Lake Huron and Lake Erie shoreline, the hypocrisies of not just the CAW but of gov’t tactics we’ve been fighting out here for many years. Also, the tactics government and those intimidation tactics used to pit century-old neighbours against one another is, frankly outrageous. There’s been very little written about how McGuinty’s government ignored municipalities in rural/small parts of Ontario for one reason and one reason ONLY. There are more votes to be had in urban Ontario. Name the issue and from where I sit McGuinty has managed to pander to urban Ontario at the expense of the rest of the province…..because he took us for granted.


  5. Erecting these monstrosities is the tragedy of the times. Ruining pristine landscapes along our lake shores and in rural communities on the strength of the votes of urbanites who do not have to put up with the eyesores and continual hum or look at the carcasses of dead birds.

    Pure insanity and we have no chance of a consensus in the opposition to take this government out, McGuinty knows it and his arrogant stance on wind and solar/green energy continues unabated while we go deeper into the rabbit hole of unparalleled debt and deficit.


  6. As a frequent visitor to Port Elgin, I have to weigh in here.

    I took a tour of the historic lighthouse at nearby Southampton last summer and the sight of those wind turbines on the horizon was appalling.

    I wonder what artists do now when they paint the shoreline? Add those modern day monstrosity to their canvases? Or just pretend they’re not there?


  7. Monstrosities, no matter how you spell it Jo. 😉

    In this situation, though,the hypocrisy and arrogance of the CAW is just breathtaking. The worst part of it is there is no avenue of appeal. Can you say green dictatorship!


  8. Why yes, that’s exactly it Sandy, a “green dictatorship”.

    Wolfe Island off Kingston is another example of McGuinty’s visual pollution, killing all kinds of wild birds as well. One would think this would be of great concern to environmentalists like the great Suzuki et al. Appears they’re selective so-called environmentalists.


  9. Liz J — All we need now is someone who is good with photoshop to make us a McGuinty like the jolly green dictator surrounded by wind turbines.

    By the way I removed the photo I had yesterday similar to that, but the Premier was not in green, because I couldn’t trace attribution. So, until I know where it came from, I have left it in draft.


  10. I always wondered if the office staff at CAW Corporate are unionized and if so, do they get whatever they want come contract time? The irony would be priceless to see CAW secretaries striking for better working conditions and fair wages lol.


  11. Normally Ontarians might hope that PC/NDP forces could combine to defeat McGuinty on some of the excesses of his green initiatives. The problem here is that the NDP is supportive of renewable energy, including wind turbines regardless of the effect on rural environment. Liberals and NDP voted to defeat an GEA amendment on Dec 2011.
    Lisa Thompson’s petition deserves support from everyone. Still don’r expect McGuinty or Horwath to be influenced by it.


  12. Actually Brad, I do recall a time when a couple of public sector office staff walked off the job — which unions I can’t remember. Might even have been the private sector CAW. However, even after I did a Google search, I couldn’t find any record. Interesting that.


  13. Martin — Even if Thompson’s PMB doesn’t stand a chance, we should all behave as though it did. Because it is one of the few ways the general public can complain. If we do nothing and give up, Hudak doesn’t get the moral support he needs.


  14. The CAW is urinating away $2 million of dues money for a turbine, at a facility that has a current deficit of $5 million ( verified by CAW ). If the bulk of the membership only knew.
    If the turbine is running at 500 kw at 30% efficiency even with a fit contract and the hydro it’ll draw just to run the turbine, it could take forever to make any money whatsoever.


  15. Good heavens Catherine, that is unbelievable! A school not far from the CAW turbine and we don’t yet really know health ramifications.


  16. By the way, I got a comment from someone yesterday (I didn’t approve it) who said that neither the Huffington Post journalist or I had any right to write about this because — wait for it — we didn’t live in the community. What part about democracy don’t these people understand. The CAW should be ashamed and their members should rise up about this type of dictatorship, our way or the highway suckers.


  17. I had up a photo on my header last night of the Battle of Queenston. After sleeping on it I decided I didn’t want an image of war on my header so took it down. There was also the issue of copyright. I had e-mailed people at Legion Magazine but had not heard back. Probably I would also have had to check with the Canadian War Museum as well. So, taking it down was easier all around.


  18. doesn’t surprise me. The two sides of this issue are very VERY firmly entrenched. It didn’t have to happen but thanks to the decisions the McGuinty gov’t made to ignore our communities we now have issues between friends and neighbours that we NEVER had before Dalton McGuinty.

    Sandy – I for one welcome any attention at all that can bring forward the crap that rural communities have had to endure under McGuinty. There are many other issues besides this one but none that’s ruining the fabric of our communities like the green energy snow job. I invite anyone who doesn’t live along the shores of Lake Erie and Huron or Kingston to come for a visit and see the McGuinty legacy first hand.


  19. My son goes to that school and many of my friends live around that ugly thing that now is a eye sore on our town…. We will keep fighting!!


  20. Crystal — I wrote that post to be supportive. There are a lot of people who have had enough of the Ontario Green Dictatorship. A green energy law that doesn’t allow for appeal? Can you just imagine if the federal Conservatives tried that? The noise would be heard clear around the world. The media’s oh so very obvious double standard.

    Yes, keep on fighting. That is the only thing the CAW leadership understand.


  21. Just letting everyone who commented on this thread know that Premier McGuinty announced today that changes were coming to the Green Energy Act giving municipalities some say in how many wind turbines were installed in their communities. It’s a start to some democracy.


  22. Pingback: ON PC Leader Tim Hudak doesn’t have a progressive bone in his body! « CRUX-OF-THE-MATTER ►

  23. I have property right beneath this monstrosity. Any goodwill the caw has built up over the years has been spent. I am now anti anything that stand for or try to do! P.S.- I work for Ford


  24. John — That must be a nightmare. We live near grape vineyards and the fans have had to be one a few times as of late when there was danger of frost. When that happens we don’t get much sleep. How much worse to hear the whooshing and feel the vibration nearly 24/7?


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