Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Voters Pay for Campaign Promises, Including $190M Plant Cancellation; McGuinty

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Voters Pay for Campaign Promises, Including $190M Plant Cancellation; McGuinty

Article excerpt

Voters pay for campaign promises: McGuinty

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GUELPH, Ont. - Voters understand that when politicians make campaign promises it's taxpayers who will pay the cost if that party wins, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday as he defended a $190-million bill for cancelling a power plant already under construction in Mississauga.

"Political parties in the context of the campaign present commitments, then should they earn the privilege of forming the government, the responsibility is to honour those commitments," McGuinty told reporters after touring a factory in Guelph.

"That's how democracy works," he said.

The premier took responsibility for the decision to scrap the Mississauga plant just days before last fall's election, but said taxpayers should not expect the Liberal party to help pay the bill.

"I made that decision at that time in my capacity as leader of our party," said McGuinty.

"When we earned the great honour of serving Ontarians as their government, I then made the decision as head of the government, as premier, to honour the commitment that we made in the context of the campaign. That's what happened," he said.

McGuinty justified his decision to halt construction of a power plant his own government had approved by noting more condominiums were built in the area adding many more people to the neighbourhood.

"We listened to Ontarians who made a very compelling case that events had overtaken the original decision made some six years ago, some significant changes were there to be seen by all in the community," he said.

However, the opposition parties say McGuinty's last-minute decision was motivated by his desire to save Liberal seats in the Mississauga area, where opposition to the gas-fired plant was wide spread.

"I think that the Liberal government should be held accountable for this decision," said New Democrat Jagmeet Singh. …

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