Leone to Bentley: Come Clean About $180-Million Power Plant Bill
12 July 2012
“The Liberals have won all 5 seats in Mississauga handily so they will see this the (sic) cancellation as a big success.”
-email from Rick Jennings, Assistant Deputy Minister of Energy, October 6, 2011
QUEEN’S PARK – In another attempt to conceal the truth, Energy Minister Chris Bentley has failed to provide all documents relating to the cancelled Mississauga power plant, as requested by the Standing Committee on Estimates back in May, stated Ontario PC MPP Rob Leone today.
“After costing Ontarians $180 million with nothing to show, Chris Bentley must stop hiding the facts about their Liberal seat saver program and release all the requested documents on the cancelled Mississauga power plant,” Leone said. “The public deserves to know who made the decision to cancel the plants and who’s going to pick up the tab: taxpayers or ratepayers?”
The Committee passed a motion that required the Minister of Energy to provide all documents and email exchanges from August 1st to December 31st, 2011, that related to the decision to cancel the Mississauga power plant by the end of May. Yesterday, the Minister handed over a package of information to the Committee that included incomplete documents and irrelevant information.
“One letter from the Liberal Party to Mayor Hazel McCallion abruptly ends at page five, cutting off the answer as to whether the party will oppose construction at the Greenfield South power plant,” Leone stated. “As an added insult to the public and Committee, the package is padded with irrelevant information, including over 60 pages of gas price data.”
Leone added that what the package does make clear is ongoing Liberal mismanagement and political interference. A letter from the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) Board of Directors reveals that over a month after the election, construction on the plant was still going on because the OPA had not told Greenfield South to stop construction.
“Even on the night of the election, a bureaucrat heard Liberal political staffers avoid a question about the cost of canceling the power plant, answering that Greenfield was ‘warned back in May that any work they did was at their own risk,’” Leone said in reference to an email exchange between the Assistant Deputy Minister of Energy and one of his directors.
“The email exchange reveals that in May the Liberals had warned Greenfield about starting construction before the election, with the intention of building the power plant after the October election,” Leone added. The emails went on to discuss the Liberals winning all five seats in Mississauga in relation to the power plant cancellation.
However, none of the emails included in Minister Bentley’s package clearly show who within the Ontario Liberal Party made the decision to cancel construction.
Leone concluded “It’s time for McGuinty and Bentley to take responsibility and come clean on what amounts to political interference in government business.”