QUEEN’S PARK – With hydro rates set to rise across the province on May 1, opposition parties continue to try and extract the truth behind two cancelled power plants in the GTA from the governing Liberals. Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek probed the government this morning on their decision to cancel the power plants and subsequent unwillingness to divulge the full costs to taxpayers.
Committee hearings over the controversial decision to cancel the two gas have been ongoing since the Legislature returned from prorogation in February. Witnesses have continued to reveal inconsistencies between the government’s rhetoric and reality regarding the plant cancellations.
“The truth is not a luxury, the Ontario people deserve to have it,” stated Yurek during his questioning of the Premier.
“Will you stop the deception and give us the total cost of the Oakville gas plant?” concluded Yurek in reference to the Oakville gas plant closure.
The Liberals have maintained their silence on the total cancellation cost for the Oakville plant claiming they don’t want to pre-empt the work of the Auditor General who’s expected to release a report detailing the cost in August. The PC Party maintains the government has suppressed the true cost.
In a report released last week, the Auditor General revealed the actual cost to cancel the Mississauga would be $275 million. This is $85 million higher than the government originally stated.
“The Auditor General stated during committee hearings that the Ministry of Energy has all the information necessary to calculate the cost of these cancellations,” said Yurek, “There’s no reason they should have low-balled the cost of Mississauga by $85 million and no reason why they can’t reveal the Oakville cost today.”
Yurek went on to say that the unfortunate thing about this scandal is it will hit the ratepayers hardest.
“People in Elgin-Middlesex-London are telling me every day that their hydro rates are too high. Businesses have told me that their hydro bills are preventing them from creating jobs.
“We need the Premier to take some responsibility here and reveal the truth because when this government is not held to account, the people of Ontario lose.”
The video of MPP Yurek’s question can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC-c_z5q7a4&feature=youtu.be.
- The Liberal government cancelled a proposed power plant in Oakville amid community protest in 2009. They also closed a partially built gas plant in Mississauga during the dying days of the 2011 provincial election.
- The PC Parties introduced a point of privilege motion in early fall 2012 claiming MPP’s privilege was being compromised in regards to questions over the cancelled plants. As a result, the Standing Committee on Justice Policy has been investigating these cancellations.
- Former Energy Ministers Chris Bentley and Brad Duguid have admitted during committee hearings that the Mississauga decision was made by the Liberal campaign team. Current Premier Kathleen Wynne was the Liberal campaign co-chair during this time.
- The Auditor General released a report last week pegging the cost to cancel the Mississauga power plant at $275 million; the Liberal government had previously said the cost was only $190 million.
- The Auditor General is currently reviewing the costs to cancel the power plant in Oakville and is expected to release that report in August. The Liberal government claims the cost for this cancellation is $40 million despite expert committee witnesses projecting the costs to be much higher (in the range of $600 million to $1 billion).
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