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McGuinty stalled on gas plant closure

The governing Ontario Liberals are at a loss to explain why construction continues at a gas plant in Mississauga they promised to shut down during the election campaign.


November 3, 2011
by CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO: The governing Ontario Liberals are at a loss to explain why construction continues at a gas plant in Mississauga they promised to shut down during the election campaign.

Critics question whether the Liberals plan of keep their promise when they won’t say how they’d move a facility that’s getting closer to completion.

Premier Dalton McGuinty laughed off those questions yesterday, saying his plans to cancel the project are “more complicated” than he thought. But he insists his government, which is expected to sink $16 billion into the red this year alone, will relocate the plant.

Energy Minister Chris Bentley said the Ontario Power Authority is currently in discussions about relocating the plant, but wouldn’t say how much it will cost.

Both the Progressive Conservatives and NDP say they’re worried about how much taxpayers will have to pay for cancelling the gas plant and another one in Oakville –which are both in Liberal-held ridings.

The Liberals will sink the province even further into red ink by dragging out the plant’s relocation, said Tory Leader Tim Hudak.

For six years, McGuinty supported the idea of building a gas plant in residential areas, only to change his mind 12 days before the Oct. 6 vote, he said.

“And here we are, more than a month later, and he says what, ‘It’s more complicated than I thought?’” Hudak said.

“C’mon, that’s old-school politics nobody believes. It looks like he’s setting us up for yet another Dalton McGuinty broken promise that’s going to hit us in the pocketbook.”

The Tory leader also promised to shut down the plant just one day before the election. The New Democrats didn’t say during the campaign what they would do with the plant.

Residents have long opposed the Greenfield South plant, which straddles the Toronto-Mississauga border, saying it was too close to homes, schools, a hospital, a hospice and a large mall.

In explaining his party’s change of heart during the campaign, McGuinty said the community had changed significantly since the plant was proposed in 2005.

Four local Liberal candidates made the promise to stop construction of the plant in a barely publicized announcement Sept. 24.

© 2011 The Canadian Press