Jeff Green | Dec 13, 2007
Feature Article - December 13, 2007 Back toHome Feature Article - December 13, 2007 Donna Dillman takes protest further By Jeff Green
Three weeks into her stay in Toronto, at the start of her third month without food, Donna Dillman said she was “feeling rather weak, and emotional, very emotional” when she talked to the Frontenac News over the phone from Queen's Park.
Dillman was still waiting for a response from Premier McGuinty to information she had provided to him when they met two weeks earlier about how much Canadian uranium is exported.
“He told me that we needed nuclear power, and I told him that we had enough uranium for Canadian uses and that most of what we produce is exported. He said he would look into that. But I haven't heard from him,' Dillman said. “The credibility of the premier has just gone down in my eyes,” she said.
In response to the provincial government’s silence, Donna Dillman announced over the weekend that if the government does not signal by Tuesday, (December 11) at noon that an inquiry into uranium exploration will be called, she was going to take her hunger strike to a more extreme level, and restrict her intake to water only. Until then, she had been drinking herbal teas and fruit juices as well as water.
“The government was not going to act, had not acted, despite all the evidence we've made available, and as they were going into recess this week, we were (and I was) running out of time. Even with the minimal amount of nourishment that my drinks are providing, I would not likely make it to see the Legislature resume in February, so this has to end and I have to take it all the way to water only, if the Premier does not act by Tuesday at noon,” she posted on her blog last Saturday evening.
Donna Dillman has been in attendance at the legislative gallery every day the house has been sitting has since she arrived in Toronto, and every day Peter Tabuns, the NDP environment critic, has introduced her to the house.
Last week, she was joined in the gallery by members of the Ontario Landowner's Assocation, who came to the house for the maiden speech by Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington MPP Randy Hillier. During his speech, Hiller railed against the government's record in Rural Ontario. “When will you show respect for the people of rural Ontario?” Hillier asked Premier McGuinty
In his response the premier said he found Hillier to be too negative, and he talked about what he, as a citizen of Ontario, depended on the government for. “I depend on the government for clean air and water” McGuinty concluded.
“Well, don't we all,” replied Donna Dillman.
Late last week, Dillman went to a naturopath in Toronto for a long delayed physical examination. “My blood pressure is low, but in a good range for me” she reports, “and a very minor but noticeable irregular heart beat has developed, but my organs are all in good shape.”
After the house lets out for the Christmas break, either today or tomorrow, Donna Dillman will return home to Lanark. She said she has not decided what she will do after that. One option is to maintain her hunger strike, and perhaps pressure the premier over the Christmas holidays.
“I could be outside his house as he sits down to Christmas dinner,” she said.