Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Opposition Parties Doubting Testimony at Hearing into Cancelled Gas Plants

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Opposition Parties Doubting Testimony at Hearing into Cancelled Gas Plants

Article excerpt

Opposition doubts testimony on gas plants

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TORONTO - Ontario's opposition parties expressed frustration and doubt Thursday at testimony from Dalton McGuinty's former chief of staff about the cancelled gas plant in Oakville, prompting the government to accuse the Tories of attacking their own witness.

As CEO of Infrastructure Ontario, and later the then-premier's chief of staff, David Livingston was directly involved in talks with TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) about compensation for cancelling the contract for the Oakville project.

Livingston told the justice committee he didn't know TransCanada had rejected an offer of almost $1 billion, and another of $721 million, when he joined the negotiations to look for possible solutions for the government.

"I've seen that and I've heard that, but that's not obvious to me that that's what happened," he told the committee.

"Well it's obvious to us. We have the documents," fired back Progressive Conservative energy critic Vic Fedeli.

Some of tens of thousands of gas plant documents released by the Liberals prove there were offers to TransCanada in the hundreds of millions of dollars, added Fedeli.

"The government was a signatory to this agreement and you're saying as the chief of staff you had no involvement, no knowledge whatsoever of this $991 million deal," he asked Livingston.

"Quite frankly I'm having a hard time with that, I've got to be honest. I'm baffled at this. We've got the man sitting here in front of us who did the deal."

The New Democrats were equally frustrated when Livingston testified he wasn't briefed that there would be extra costs for cancelling the Oakville plant above the $40 million the government claims.

"Nobody told me," said Livingston.

"There was not a discussion that there was more money involved than the $40 million."

The opposition parties warn the cancellation of the Oakville gas plant could cost Ontario taxpayers over $1 billion. …

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