Bungling of the Mississauga Gas Plant is a Disaster for all of us

Have you ever wondered what $180 million would fund here in Ontario?

It’s a big chunk of change that would give 27,000 students free tuition or provide 6,000 cancer treatments. It could also be used to hire 600 doctors or 3,144 first year nurses. Or it could fund a seat saver program to protect three Liberal seats.

Now guess which one Dalton McGuinty opted to use it for?

You guessed it – $180 million blown in the heat of an election to cancel the Mississauga Gas Plant and thereby boosting the fortunes of three area Liberal candidates.  Calling it disgusting would be putting it lightly.

For years the Liberals forged ahead with this controversial power station.  They paid short shrift to residents who complained about the ills of building a gas plant upwind from Canada’s largest population centre, that was on the banks of a conservation area; 500 metres from a hospital, and against the recommendation of experts.

They even started to build the thing, spending millions on labour and materials as construction began; parts were delivered and shovels hit the ground – then came September 24, just days before a close provincial election.

Obviously worried about losing the keys to the Premier’s Office, Liberal campaign officials got together with the Premier and decided they needed to take drastic action to shore up some seats and hang on to power.  For these unelected advisors and their boss, no price was too high.  

Seeing the polls, Dalton McGuinty made the final call.  It was time to make one of the most blatantly political decisions in recent memory and announce the end of the plant.  It was a high level decision – probably made on Dalton’s campaign bus – to win the day and wait for the penalty that they knew would come.

All of a sudden, energy policy in Ontario was being made on the back of a napkin in a shameful turn of events.

Now the bill has come due and we’re all on the hook.  Three Liberal MPPs remain in office and Dalton McGuinty hung on to achieve a minority government.  

Someone ought to pay a political price for this tragedy.

All too often do we see legitimate needs in our communities: traffic lights for safety on Highway 89 near Green Briar; an upgrade to Collingwood General and Marine Hospital; a rebuild of Stevenson Memorial Hospital and the completion of Highway 26 that has taken 10 years too long.

Matthews House Hospice in Alliston needs fair operational funding; Hospice Georgian Triangle wants to fill a need and build an end of life facility in Collingwood.  All of these projects – and there’s many more – could be done for fraction of the $180 million just spent to cancel this energy contract – one that should have never been signed in the first place.

There are serious economic challenges ahead and this is how we’re spending Ontario’s scarce tax dollars?  

What a disgrace.  The time for outrage has arrived.

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