Over the past few years, wind energy has been the subject of criticism and backlash in Ontario, but the anti-wind sentiment escalated to a whole new level as a wind farm worker was threatened with death last week, Canada's CBC News reports.
According to CBC News, the worker was doing preliminary construction work on the site, when a man pulled up in his truck and asked the worker what he was doing. When the worker responded, the man pulled out a gun and threatened to kill him.
There is an active police investigation into the matter.
In response to the incident, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) issued a statement calling for a "respectful and fact-based dialogue on wind energy."
"Wind energy has been a topic of considerable discussion in the media, in many communities with proposed projects, and among provincial political parties as Ontario phases out coal power and replaces it with clean energy sources," CanWEA said in the statement. "The wind energy industry welcomes this discussion and has consistently promoted an open and genuine dialogue with stakeholders that seeks to ensure questions about wind energy developments are heard, understood and answered."
According to CanWEA, this attack was most likely targeted specifically at the wind industry.
"In some communities, wind energy project developers, supporters and workers have had to deal with aggressive tactics of organized wind energy opponents, including the hijacking of public meetings, verbal abuse of pro-wind individuals and physical destruction of property," CanWEA said. "This most recent incident, however, represents a significant escalation in aggression towards individuals engaged in the wind energy industry."
CanWEA's president, Robert Hornung, urged stakeholders to take action to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
‘We cannot and should not expect individuals supportive of wind energy or associated with the wind energy industry to face threats on their life or to endure other aggressive or criminal behavior,’ he said in a statement. ‘We hope that leaders of all Ontario organizations engaged in dialogue on the role of wind energy in Ontario – regardless of their views on wind energy – will clearly articulate their support for a dialogue that is free of harassment and the threat of violence to interested citizens and members of the wind energy industry.’