Matt Gurney, National Post
On Monday, the Ontario Liberal Party finally released documents relating to the last-minute cancellation of a proposed gas-fired power plant in the town of Oakville, west of Toronto. The Oakville plant was one of two scrapped by Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal ahead of last fall’s provincial election (the other being in Mississauga) once it became clear that the Liberals would lose both those seats otherwise. In the end, the seats stayed in the Liberal column. But at what cost?
That question, at least, can now be answered. The Liberals admitted months ago that the total costs of cancelling construction of the Mississauga plant (which had already commenced) was $190-million, that the taxpayers were on the hook for. But until Monday, they had absolutely refused to disclose the cost of cancelling the Oakville plant, a refusal the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly recently ruled constituted a prima facie breach of privilege, thus opening the way to finding the Energy Minister, Chris Bentley, in contempt (those proceedings are underway now). The final tab for the cancellation of the Oakville plant? An additional $40-million.
That’s less than $190-million, which isn’t surprising. The Mississauga plant was partially built, and that means money was spent on labour and materials. It needs to be dismantled and the site cleared up. But what cannot be explained is how Mr. Bentley, in announcing that Ontario must spend $40-million to not build a power plant in Oakville, got what he bizarrely called “a very good deal for taxpayers.” Read article