NextEra is bullying Esther Wrightman — let’s make them stop

1297424746289_ORIGINAL (EW)Esther Wrightman.  Do you recognize the name of this young mother of two, living in southwestern Ontario?

If not, maybe you remember the January 2013 video and photos showing a crane removing a bald eagle nest near three wind turbine locations planned by wind energy developer NextEra?  The video was made by Esther and posted by her on the Internet.

The images created an international uproar and lots of embarrassment for NextEra Energy Canada, a subsidiary of a giant U.S. energy resources company and owner of several wind projects in southwestern Ontario. Here’s the newspaper report and photo of the nest removal.  And here’s a photo of the site today .

Esther is now being sued by NextEra, but not because she drew attention to removal of the nest.

It seems that Esther decided to rename NextEra (in parody) on the website she maintains to highlight the next terrors that this developer intends to inflict on southwestern Ontario, and the next errors that it will surely make.

NextEra didn’t like being rebranded in this manner, so sent a lawyer’s letter to Esther in March, 2013, demanding that Esther cease and desist.

Esther wasn’t intimidated by this letter, as evidenced by her reply .

So, in May 2013, NextEra decided to teach Esther a lesson, with the help of no less than three high-priced lawyers from McCarthy Tetrault.  NextEra registered a “SLAPP” lawsuit against Esther in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.  SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.

For more details on Esther’s story so far, read this article by Ezra Levant in the Toronto Sun.

And then view Levant’s compelling monologue on Esther vs Next Era, available here .

And finally, view Levant’s interview of Esther here .

If you have a fondness for the absurd, read through NextEra’s 35-page Statement of Claim in the SLAPP lawsuit.  Here are three excerpts:

  • “..the Defendant suggested that NextEra was ‘terrorizing the community’..”
  • “The term ‘terror’ is associated with organizations such as Al-Quida, Black September, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad..”
  • “The Defendant’s use of these false and misleading terms .. is calculated to damage (and has already damaged) NextEra’s valuable goodwill and reputation..”

Esther prepared a 22-page Statement of Defence, composing it herself as she can’t afford a lawyer.  Her family’s income is modest, a combination of disability payments to her husband plus income from selling plants for rock gardens.

What will happen next?  Worst case: Esther will be dragged into court and be forced to defend herself opposite McCarthy’s high-priced legal talent.  Best case: There will be a groundswell of support for Esther, and so much aggravation for NextEra that they will see the (t)error of their ways and drop the lawsuit.

You’d expect the media to be all over this case of Big Business bullying young mother.  However, except for Sun Media, the mainstream media have so far ignored the lawsuit.  Nothing in the Globe, the National Post, only 107 words in the Star and nothing on the CBC, CTV or Global.  Does this suggest that Big Media is siding with Big Business, or that they’re not interested because it relates to a rural issue?

Esther needs the support of people everywhere.  If money damages are awarded against her, the wind turbine industry in Ontario will claim four more victims.  But if we all support Esther, we can make NextEra back off.  Please make your friends aware of Esther’s situation.

Here is contact information for NextEra, so that you can let them know what you think of them and their SLAPP lawsuit.

You can learn more about Esther and send messages of support to her at:

If a fund is set up to accept donations for Esther’s legal battle with the Forces of Evil NextEra, we’ll let you know.  GO ESTHER!

[Breaking] The Ontario government has just announced new legislation to ban SLAPP lawsuits, which may be passed into law in the fall and may extend to already-filed cases.  You can read about it here .  But we can’t just wait and hope; we need to convince NextEra to back off NOW.

Posted on June 11, 2013, in Advocacy / politics / legal, Wind turbines. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. We will be doing a fundraising event for Esther. I hope she sets up an account soon…

  2. If I was a shareholder in Nextera I would be outraged over the fact that either they don’t have a Public Relations department or if they did, that department is “extraordinarily “dysfunctional!

  3. Caspar Radden

    Acting like Bullies showing here again that MONEY TALKS ! Power allows bullying!
    It is a tragedy first the Bald Eagles, last the stress for the Humans, let’s hope that the ERT
    decision will give the right decision.
    Please consider a petition with because the world will answer to Esther’s brave action. Good Luck

  4. I fully agree with Esther Wrightman, as I am in the same predicament, having International Power GDF Suez placing a wind turbine approx. 125 meters from my property of 3.5 acres ( no residence currently )as part of the Erieau Windfarm project.
    This is in the Chatham-Kent area, which has been swamped wind turbine placements.
    This placement has made my property worthless, and preventing me for ever applying for a building permit.
    Her fight could have been handled in a different manner, and been just as effective.
    Some may say “You’re too smart for your own britches”.
    You have to plan your attack, and estimate your goals and risks.
    I wish all the luck and a successful defence.

  1. Pingback: The Secret Ingredient to Unlimited Powers of Perseverance. | Peter Wright's Blog

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