by Anne Stewart, London Free Press
Forget all the pros and cons regarding green and not-so-green energy. Forget about wind turbines, solar panels, nuclear and coal-fired power generation. Forget there is even a Green Energy Act. Empty your mind of everything related to power and the production of same, including smart meters. Be totally neutral as you study the comments below. Then think.
It was Aug. 13, when a letter to the editor of The London Free Press caught your eye. It was headlined Samsung committed to jobs and the environment. It was signed “Dorenda McNeil, Spokesperson, Samsung C & T, Toronto.” It’s rather simple and straightforward. You take the letter at face value.
But you do have some questions. So you call Samsung at (905) 542-3535, on Aug. 15 and ask to speak to McNeil. Two and a half hours later, you have made five phone calls to Samsung, spoken to five different people, received two direct phone numbers of Samsung employees.
However, someone said something that triggered the thought that perhaps McNeil just might be a consultant hired by Samsung. Sure enough, she works for Counsel Public Relations & Counsel Public Affairs Inc. This should be easy.
You place a call. You place another, and another, and another call. As a matter of fact, you place 22 calls on 22 different days. Each and every day, you leave your name, your telephone number, the reason for your call and request McNeil to call you back. No response.
On August 23rd, you write the president and CEO of Samsung in Mississauga. You copy two local MPPs, “for information only.” Both MPPs kindly reply. The issue of non-response is not addressed, however. It’s all about the promise of jobs and the amount of money being spent. And it’s all for your own good.
It has been 22 days since writing Samsung and no reply so far. We’re not talking peanuts here. We are conversing, or attempting to converse, about a $7-billion deal between the McGuinty government and Samsung. And you did not write the letter. Samsung’s spokesperson did.
What might your questions be? Life expectancy of the turbines/panels? Number of jobs to maintain the turbines/panels once installed? What happens when you want to sell your farmland on which the equipment is situated? Who hired Counsel Public Relations? Who is paying the consultant? Perhaps. But after 22 unanswered phone calls, your questions are changing. You are becoming suspicious. Are Samsung and McGuinty hiding something? Did you miss something in the letter?
You re-read the letter, which was a response to the Aug. 9 article Tory says green deal costly regarding the contractual relationship between Samsung and the government of Ontario.” But it’s not political. Because McNeil writes, “Samsung has no interest in entering into a political debate.” Then she warns of dire consequences “a contract cancellation would send to investors and job-creating companies around the world.”
Why did you ever call Samsung? But you did! You pray Josiah Gilbert Holland’s poem, “God, give us men! A time like this demands strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands; Men whom the lust of office does not kill; Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy; Men who possess opinions and a will; Men who have honour, men who will not lie.”
There’s more but you stop at “men who will not lie.” You’re asked: You will keep trying, won’t you? Yes, I will.
So what do you think? More than that, how will you vote?
Anne Stewart is a Wallaceburg-area resident.