Give United Way a break (?)

united-way-bannerPeter Epp, Sarnia Observer
A decision by wind giant NextEra Energy has placed the United Way of Canada into a difficult spot. Florida-based NextEra is suing wind activist Esther Wrightman over altered NextEra logos that were posted online. The energy company says if it wins the lawsuit, any damages it collects from the Middlesex County woman will be donated to the United Way.

United Way Canada – which is in the business of accepting and raising money that is subsequently given to various social agencies – has agreed to accept the donation, but that decision has ignited a firestorm of controversy. Some people are repulsed that the fund-raising agency would accept money from a large corporation that is taking one of its most vocal opponents to court. And there are others who are suggesting that the United Way is just another member of the corporate elite.

Whatever the case, there are two things to remember here. Firstly, the United Way’s primary goal is to raise money, and it accepts donations from all types of people, all types of businesses, and all types of corporations. Those people, those businesses and those corporations make their money doing all kinds of things, and those activities might not meet with the approval of everyone in the communities served by United Way.

Secondly, what NextEra is doing is hardly unique. Wind energy companies in Southwestern Ontario are working to improve the perception the public may hold of their operations and how they make a profit, and have agreed to fund various projects and activities. In Chatham, for example, it was a wind energy company that sponsored the most recent Chatham Santa Claus parade. And earlier this year, the same company agreed to help with some of the cost of improvements to the Chatham municipal airport. Read article

15 thoughts on “Give United Way a break (?)

  1. What a terrible article. Give them a break? The editorial doesn’t even quite make sense.
    Three examples…
    1: (from the article)
    “A decision by wind giant NextEra Energy has placed the United Way of Canada into a difficult spot.”

    UW (United Way) chose to accept it. Much as I hate NextEra, this isn’t their fault. Harvey’s letter to UW informed them of the money and some of the background. Beaudry’s letter apologized for the delay in responding. I’d guess the delay was so they could consult their lawyers to tell them what they could do. What they didn’t do was look into Esther. NextEra made the same mistake. Neither realized that she isn’t one to back down. She’s webmaster of a significant web presence and has significant media following and credibility. Anyone could guess that she wasn’t going to let this go by. NextEra takes every opportunity to try to undermine the opposition and Esther is at the forefront of that opposition.
    Beaudry could have said no. He could have even said that if NextEra wants to donate that money, they will have to do it anonymously. He didn’t. He just said he’d take it. Your bad, Sylvain Beaudry.

    2: (from the article)
    “… those corporations make their money doing all kinds of things, and those activities might not meet with the approval of everyone …”

    – true, but that isn’t the point. It’s not that they shouldn’t take ANY money from NexTERROR, but the SPECIFIC money from a SLAPP suit.

    3: (from the article)
    “…what NextEra is doing is hardly unique. Wind energy companies in Southwestern Ontario are working to improve the perception the public may hold of their operations and how they make a profit, and have agreed to fund various projects and activities. In Chatham, for example, it was a wind energy company that sponsored the most recent Chatham Santa Claus parade. And earlier this year, the same company agreed to help with some of the cost of improvements to the Chatham municipal airport.”
    Whether it’s unique or not is irrelevant. And the wind company which helped with the Chatham airport improvements – they were the ones who built the turbines around the airport making it dangerous? What’s this got to do with UW accepting proceeds from a SLAPP suit?

    4: (from the article)
    “What stings is NextEra’s decision to donate its possible court winnings to the United Way. They’ve placed the fund-raising agency into a difficult spot, and in doing so, have over-reached in their public relations zeal.”

    It has nothing to do with public relations zeal. It’s about trying to put a positive spin on a mean-spirited and very ill-advised SLAPP suit. These suits are intended specifically to use the monetary might of corporations to silence opposition. SLAPPs are so blatantly unfair and inimical to the idea of justice or free speech that they are illegal in NexTERRORs home country.
    The suit was intended to silence Esther. If there were anyone intelligent making decisions at NexTERROR, they would have realized that they couldn’t silence Esther, and that attacking her was just asking for more trouble.

    The message to NexTERROR, as your average schoolyard bully knows, is that you don’t knock someone down and then kick them if there’s any chance that they are going to stand up again.

    The message to United Way – as an organization that purports to be working for the public good – helping the poor and the disadvantaged – maybe lawyers aren’t the best source of advice. Perhaps you should have a staff philosopher – someone who has some idea of morality.

  2. Hey Ontario!
    Mr. Gerretson is leaving office – and, feels your pain. Ya really.
    But, before he leaves – he leaves Slapp gift;
    and, it is being debated in the legislature.

    A treasure!

    p.s. NextEra Ringling Mingling – the base for Wynne’s election campaign;
    and, it has something to do with ‘saving humanity’ – ya really.

    p.p.s. NextEra – opens ‘social work’ department;
    and shareholders are thrilled.

    p.p.p.s [I’m thinking]

  3. let see….wind farms ” agree to fund various projects and activities ”

    either way you spin that comment it still ends up a BRIBE!!!

    Money talks for some, but I guess the ones with MORALs just know right from wrong.

    Next Terror still sucks and so does the United Will accept ANY PAY !!!

  4. The person who wrote that article basically said, United Way’s object is to get money, and they do not care who they take it from. That in itself, is a good reason NOT to donate. This is a despicable way to do charitable work. Not very charitable, at all. He didn’t make them seem any better, and maybe even worse.

  5. I never liked United Way. It’s like an Omnibus Bill with recipients in there you may not want to support. But they could redeem themselves by giving the money to Esther Wrightman, should she lose.

  6. So a wind company gave Chatham a Santa parade while rural people outside of Chatham have lost their property values and some their health.
    Just play up to the urban folks and make them think what a good guy this developer is.

    • How about naming this “good guy developer”?

      Is he the CEO of AIM PowerGen/IPC/IPR-GDF Suez etc, etc, etc?

      Is his name Mike Crawley, former Pres of the Ontario wing of the Federal Liberal Party and latterly former Pres of the Canadian Federal Liberal Party?

  7. Samsung and partners promised Ashfield Twp about $15m for swings and recreation activities in turn for the approval to build 150 wind turbines. This just males it worse, not better for wind companies. That public approval for such a monstrous project can be sweetened by a paltry $15 M is just obscene. The project, Kindsbridge 2 has been approved not by ACW council but by The Liberal government at QP.
    A santa clause parade indeed, What price do citizens put on their heritage?

    • Hey Martin,

      It shows you how convincing ‘town councils’ have been in convincing citizens,
      they can do nothing.

      Sorry – not one of these energy projects –
      was forced by a ‘Directive’ from the Energy Minister.
      Not one.

      Well one – was forced by directive.

  8. I’ve not supported them, since learning of their support for IWTs a few years back. I can’t recall the exact nature of that support, but it had to do with them using donated funds, that donors naturally thought would be going to help the less fortunate in society, not wealthy Wind Weasels sucking the public teat, while destroying the environment and many peoples health and financial wellbeing.
    People just like the Next Terror Bas//rds, picking on a fine Canadian citizen, trying to do what’s right for her community.
    United Way will be getting themselves a whole bunch of new campaigners, only we’ll be campaigning against them, instead raising funds to pay back Esther, every dime Next Terror steals from her.
    Personally I think Esther is going to win, because she is a way bigger, stronger and better person than all of them and their fancy lawyers combined. If the judge is fair, Esther will win.

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