Audit of Oakville gas plant cancellation out today

OPA pegs cost of moving to Kingston area at $310M to Liberals $40M.

TORONTO — The opposition parties expect the $585 million cost of cancelling gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga will soar even higher today when Ontario’s auditor general issues a special report.

The auditor will report on the cost of cancelling the Oakville gas plant and moving the project to the Kingston area, which the Liberals put at $40 million but the Ontario Power Authority pegged at $310 million.

The cost of scrapping a partially built gas plant in Mississauga during the 2011 election jumped to $275 million after the auditor investigated, $85 million higher than the Liberals had admitted.

Premier Kathleen Wynne has apologized for the way the Liberals cancelled the gas plants, but says both opposition parties made the same promise to scrap the projects.
The Progressive Conservatives say the Liberals went out of their way to try to prevent the true costs of cancelling the plants from becoming public.

The New Democrats say voters have a right to be angry when the Liberals spent hundreds of millions of dollars to save seats in the Oakville-Mississauga area.

“They moved these plants and didn’t care what the price would be, and they did it for political reasons,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “Is there an upper limit to what this government will do to try to save their own political skin?”

But Wynne insisted the auditor’s report wasn’t about her or the Liberal party, and said she too disagreed with the way the gas plants were handled by former premier Dalton McGuinty.

“It’s not about my political future or our political future,” she said. “It’s about getting information for the people of Ontario so there’s an understanding of what the cost was in changing the venue of those gas plants.”

The Tories went on the attack against Wynne in the legislature Monday, demanding the premier “come clean” and admit the true cost of cancelling the gas plants.

“You used public finances to win five seats in the last election, and Ontarians want to know how much that is personally going to cost them on their tax bills and their energy bills,” said PC energy critic Lisa MacLeod.

“Why do you refuse to come clean in this assembly on what is arguably the largest electoral fraud in the province of Ontario’s history?”

Ontario’s cancelled natural gas power plant timeline

© 2013 The Canadian Press