The Ontario government’s multi-billion-dollar wind turbine deal with South Korean industrial giant Samsung Group is in jeopardy after a power play in Premier Dalton McGuinty’s cabinet, the Toronto Star has learned.
Sources say rival ministers opposed to Deputy Premier George Smitherman’s pet scheme, which they fear will mean “billions” of dollars in subsidies to Samsung, have convinced McGuinty to stall the landmark deal first reported in the Star on Sept. 27.
Smitherman touted it as a “historic framework agreement” that would see Samsung develop green energy projects and manufacture equipment to support them. In return, the province would reward Samsung with incentives above what other wind and solar developers can get.
In an extraordinary scene behind closed doors at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting – where Samsung’s bid to build wind turbines and other green energy gear in Ontario was expected to have been approved – insiders say ministers “gang-tackled” Smitherman, who is also energy and infrastructure minister.
“It wasn’t just one or two, it was everyone,” said one senior Liberal insider. “Things got pretty ugly.”
Smitherman was not available for comment.
At issue is what some Liberals believe is a sweetheart deal with a foreign firm, which would also get priority access to Ontario grid space.