Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wynne Says Public Inquiry into Cancelled Gas Plants Too Expensive

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wynne Says Public Inquiry into Cancelled Gas Plants Too Expensive

Article excerpt

Wynne rejects gas plant public inquiry

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TORONTO - The NDP's demand for a public inquiry into the Liberal government's decision to cancel power plants in Oakville and Mississauga would cost too much, premier-designate Kathleen Wynne said Thursday.

It has already cost Ontario taxpayers at least $230 million to scrap the two gas-fired generating stations, and a government facing an $11.9 billion deficit has to be careful how it spends its money, added Wynne.

"To spend millions of dollars on a public inquiry, that's not something that I would like to do," she told reporters.

Wynne has not ruled out a call from the Progressive Conservatives to reform a legislative committee to investigate the decisions to cancel the gas plants, which the opposition parties say were motivated solely by a desire to save Liberal seats in the suburbs west of Toronto.

The committee was shut down last fall just hours before it was to begin hearings when Premier Dalton McGuinty announced he was resigning and prorogued the legislature until the Liberals picked a new leader.

The Tories and New Democrats are convinced the government has not released all the documentation on the cancelled energy projects, even though it put out tens of thousands of pages in two separate packages last fall under a Speaker's order.

The opposition parties point to an internal email from a worker in the ministry of energy, a former Liberal political staff member, directing the Ontario Power Authority on which of the gas plant documents should be made public and which should be withheld.

"Clearly this was a political staffer who became a bureaucrat, and it raises massive suspicion that there was political involvement and interference in the decision making process about what items were redacted and what weren't," said PC critic Rod Jackson.

The New Democrats say they doubt a civil servant would be in a position to dictate to the OPA what documents should be made public unless directed by the government. …

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