Call to Canadian voters

The first day of CanWEA's conference coincided with the start of Canada's federal election campaign. The election call caused environment minister David Anderson to cancel his keynote address. But it also gave association president Fred Gallagher and Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki a chance to urge voters to put renewable energy on the political agenda. "It's an opportunity that only comes around once every four years, when the people we elect to office actually say they care about what we think and value," said Suzuki. Just prior to the election call, the Liberal government released a "mini-budget" giving every taxpayer C$125 to offset rising energy prices. At a public forum, Gallagher challenged Canadians to tell their local utility they want to use the money on green power. The government is spending C$1.3 billion on the rebate program, he says, enough to finance the installation of 1000 MW of wind power.