Gas Busters Part 28: Wynne’s Raises a Good Question on Siting Energy Infrastructure

Every action taken by the Ontario Liberal Party and Liberal government related to the Mississauga and Oakville gas-fired power plants since the decision to move the Oakville plant was announced on October 7, 2010 has been designed to keep the government in power. Notwithstanding the venal intent of their actions, occasionally the Liberals raise legitimate issues. One such legitimate point arose yesterday.

During Question Period, Premier Wynne was playing up another procedural trick the government introduced yesterday to further delay disclosure of information surrounding the gas plant cancelation scandal. The Standing Committee on Justice Policy has been mandated by the House to investigate the government’s failure to disclose documents as ordered. The governing Liberal’s introduced their own motion to expand the scope of the Justice Committee’s review of documents. Pointing to this motion, the government claimed to the House and to the media that they are making every effort to put all the information on the public record. However, the Liberal motion at the Justice Committee was ruled out of order, leading to the adjournment of the Committee and a few more hours of life for the Liberal government.

It is abundantly obvious, as proven by her own office’s failure to disclose in response to my FOI, that she means the opposite of what she said yesterday when she told the House, “I have said consistently that I am open to making sure that all the documentation is available.”

Leaving aside the procedural trick of introducing a dead motion, the Premier raised a point that in another context would be a worthwhile issue for the Legislature to investigate. In response to a question from the leader of the NDP, Ms. Horwath, the Premier said, “Siting energy infrastructure is a very complicated process, and I want to make sure we understand what happened, where we went wrong. We need to make sure that we find a way to avoid this kind of situation in the future.” 

Any investigation of lessons from the gas plant scandal about siting energy infrastructure might usefully address why the Lakeview coal-fired generating station site was not used to host required replacement gas-fired generation.