30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Brenda Brochu attempts to discredit Cosmos Voutsinos in her letter of July 17 by indicating that he is wrong in suggesting there have been no debates between nuclear opponents and proponents in this province.
Mr. Voutsinos, originates from Greece. When he speaks of debate, he is thinking of a Socratic Debate - a debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate rational thinking and to illuminate ideas.
As one of the proponents of nuclear energy at “debates” in Whitecourt that Ms. Brochu cites, I can assure her that the discussions in Whitecourt were of a different nature. Proponents and opponents first spoke to the issues. The moderator then solicited questions from the audience to the speakers. Interestingly, some members of the audience attempted to hijack the question period by prompting their children to ask pre-arranged questions. More mature members of the audience were quite irritated by this disruptive tactic and some saw it as a form of child abuse. Certainly the draconian nuclear fear mongering of their parents must be disturbing to them.
Perhaps of more interest to readers than a discussion of the fine points of debate procedure, is the purpose and outcome of the “information sessions” held in Whitecourt and Woodland County.
Four information sessions were organized by the town and county to provide citizens an overview of nuclear power issues. I participated in the April 4 and April 5, 2008 sessions in Whitecourt and Blue Ridge as the nuclear proponent with Mr. Paul Gunter as the opponent. Dr. Patrick Moore and Dr. Gordon Edwards participated as proponent and opponent, respectively, in subsequent information sessions in Whitecourt and Fort Assiniboine. This was followed by an opinion poll which indicated some 60% of voting age citizens supported the regions involvement in nuclear power.
Mayor Trevor Thain of Whitecourt recently made a presentation to a “Western Focus Seminar” which was part of the 30th Annual Canadian Nuclear Society Conference held in Calgary in early June. The goal of the seminar was to bring the oil industry and nuclear proponents together to explore opportunities which could begin the integration of nuclear energy into western Canada’s energy industry. Mayor Thain provided a handout explaining his towns approach to public consultation. It is available, along with presentations from some 25 contributors to the seminar, on my website as a public service. The website address is http://www.computare.org/guests.htm. The presentations go a long way toward explaining how nuclear energy might fit in.
Duane Pendergast, Ph.D., P. Eng.
Chair, Alberta Branch of the Canadian Nuclear Society