The high cost of political opportunism

Hamilton Spectator – letters
The Dalton McGuinty Liberals are paying the price for expediency. Up until the election campaign nine months ago, they were doggedly determined to replace dirty coal energy with relatively clean natural gas at a gas generation plant in Mississauga. But when the Liberal brain trust began to worry that four Liberal seats in the area might be in jeopardy due to local opposition, they panicked, right up to the premier himself, and cancelled the project. At a cost of $180 million.

But the plant would be dead no matter which party was in power — both the NDP and the Conservatives opposed it. What’s disturbing here isn’t so much that the Liberals were wrong about backing out of the plant, although we would argue supporting it would have been more in keeping with their green energy vision.

What rankles is more why they did it. It was naked political strategy, unadorned, undenied. It had nothing to do with sound energy policy. It had nothing to do with giving careful consideration to the concerns of critics and making a decision based on the best evidence. It was all about saving seats. And since all four area Liberals were elected by large margins, it appears to have worked. But the bigger picture isn’t pretty.
Howard Elliott

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