I may have said this earlier, but with an election in Ontario within six months, we are into what I have often heard civil servants call the “silly season”. That is the lead up to an election when nothing, and I mean nothing, of any consequence gets done in government and, in many cases, politics derails years of planning and long term objectives.
Political survival during the silly season becomes the only objective for both the government and the individual MPP’s.
Nothing illustrates this more blatantly than Dalton McGuinty’s flip-flops on his energy policies. Elected with great fan-fare promising to eliminate Ontario’s coal fired plants and replace them with renewable energy sources and more environmentally acceptable gas fired power plants, McGuinty has failed and back-tracked on all fronts.
The coal fired plant closures have continually been delayed while the renewable energy file and McGuinty’s venture into wind power is in shambles. Now, for the second time, it looks like he will scrap another gas-fired power plant in the Greater Toronto Area in the face of public pressure and the upcoming election.
Early this year the government cancelled a gas-fired plant in Oakville. The facility was under construction by Trans Canada and we will probably never know the cost of that settlement. Now there is a similar situation happening in Mississauga. A building permit has been issued to Eastern Power Ltd. to build a plant after an Environmental Assessment of the project was approved in 2008, but now, with an election in the offing, the government is holding another “review”. The reality is the project is dead!
Why is this happening? Well I can tell you that it has nothing at all to do with the environment. McGuinty’s action is the result of public pressure, political cowardice and the need for political survival, nothing else.
Here is a quote in the Toronto Star by Donald Beggs, President of the Markland Wood Homeowners Association, the leader of the main opposition to the power plant, “We want action now. We will not allow them to wait till November (after October’s election) to tell us this project is going forward. Talk is cheap. All the Liberal Candidates in this area will be watched on this issue to see if we get real action before the election”
You can bet your last dollar that the opposition will get the action they want. It will be another cancelled project in Ontario, another waste of millions of dollars and a further derailment of any comprehensive energy policy for Ontario.
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