Peter 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