Minister Defiant of the Legislature – MPP Jim McDonell

September 25, 2012

QUEEN’S PARK – The McGuinty Government failed in its opportunity to come clean regarding the most expensive seat saver program in Ontario history in the wake of yesterday’s deadline for the Energy Minister to release all documents surrounding the gas plant fiascos in Oakville and Mississauga. The Minister chose to remain defiant of the direct orders of a Legislative Committee and a Speaker’s ruling after thousands of pages with evident signs of redaction or completely blank pages were provided.

Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell has joined PC House Leader Jim Wilson and his Caucus colleagues that are proceeding with a contempt motion after what they believe is the Minister’s open defiance of the Legislature. “The Minister did not come clean with Ontarians about the true costs of the power plant cancellations which served the sole purpose of saving a handful of vulnerable Liberal seats in the GTA,” said McDonell. “The documents show OPA emails repeatedly citing political interference in the decision to cancel the plants. The Government claims the Ontario Power Authority operates at “arm’s length” from Cabinet. The Government went against its own agency’s advice, which outlined how such cancellations were not in the best interest of Ontarians.”

The real cost of the Oakville plant cancellation has ballooned to $450 Million so far, including $210 Million to purchase the turbines from TransCanada, the original contractor, $200 Million in new transmission and $40 Million in miscellaneous costs. Combined with Mississauga’s bill of $190 Million of taxpayer’s dollars, the liabilities stand at $640 Million while more documents are examined.

“I was shocked to witness the confusion that the Government created with its own agency,” said MPP Jim McDonell. “Bureaucrats were left scrambling, diverting their resources from managing an energy system that is already in disarray, as the documents have proven so far. The Liberals will sink to depths ordinary citizens would not think possible in order to serve their partisan electoral interests,” McDonell added. “The Minister and his predecessor must answer for this shocking diversion of public money for partisan gain and the subsequent cover-up. They were aided and abetted by the Liberal members of Estimates Committee who fought tooth and nail to prevent the release.”

The motion, if passed, will immediately re-constitute the Finance Committee and mandate it to investigate the Mississauga and Oakville power plant cancellations.