Toronto Star – A controversial deal between the province and Samsung Group will not die just because its main champion, George Smitherman, is leaving Queen’s Park, insists Premier Dalton McGuinty.
As first disclosed by the Star, McGuinty’s cabinet is split over the provisional agreement with the South Korean industrial giant to manufacture renewable energy equipment like wind turbines and develop wind and solar farms here.
Smitherman, who resigned Sunday as deputy premier and energy and infrastructure minister to run for the Toronto mayoralty, pushed the accord against the wishes of most other cabinet members.
Opponents in cabinet fear Samsung is getting a sweetheart deal that could end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars in subsidies.
“Samsung remains a very promising deal,” the premier said.
“I want Ontario to be the place where we are manufacturing those wind turbines,” not just for use in the province, but to sell elsewhere, he told reporters Monday.
Smitherman says Samsung’s investment of up to $7 billion would create more than 15,000 jobs.
But high-ranking Liberals say the fight to stop the deal will continue.
“This is a bad deal for us,” said an insider, who noted Smitherman’s final cabinet meeting Oct. 28 was rancorous due to angry debate over Samsung.
– Robert Benzie