In case you missed this one in your daily “pablum fed” news by mainstream media, here is a little snippet of a huge pile of tax payers dough being salted away in the “debt vault” that is not being blasted throughout the media outlets as if it doesn’t mean anything.
How badly are we being used a a credit card for scandalous expenditures by a bunch of miscreant politicians? MASSIVELY!
A “Billion Dollar Election” should be the new headline, not Gas Plant Move”!
BUT then why report something like this when we have a crack team of reporters being fed “crack pipe stories” about a Mayor who is hiding in some crack filled world of fake news?
May 23/2013 Globe and Mail
Former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty appears before the Justice Policy committee hearing as he testifies about the power plants the Government axed in Oakville and Mississauga for the 2011 election, at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Tuesday May 7, 2013. (Chris Young For The Globe and Mail)
The Ontario government budgeted $900-million to pay for the cancellations of two gas-fired power plants, even though Liberal cabinet ministers insisted for months afterward the cost was just a fraction of that.
The revelation prompted the opposition to charge that the Liberals deliberately misled the public by low-balling the price tag for ending the projects when they knew the cost could be far higher.
The Liberals pulled the plug on the plants in the Toronto suburbs of Mississauga and Oakville in what was widely seen as a political play to save the party’s local candidates from defeat in the 2011 election.
Until earlier this year, the government repeatedly insisted the province was on the hook for $230-million. But newly released Finance Department documents show that, in early 2012, finance officials actually set aside nearly four times that in their spending estimates for fiscal year 2012-13. The money is labelled a discretionary expense, listed in “electricity sector outlook” under a “risks” section.
“Government is currently in negotiations to settle the cancellation of these plants with the developers with an exposure identified up to $900-million depending on the outcome and mechanism of settlement,” reads a footnote.
The documents – which also include an e-mail chain where a civil servant confirms the amount – were released through a legislative committee probing the plant cancellations. In hearings Thursday, MPPs asked Finance Minister Charles Sousa to explain the discrepancy between the money set aside and the much-lower total the Liberals were citing in the legislature.
He said the $900-million was a “worst-case scenario” figure drawn up by bureaucrats in case negotiations between the government and the contractors building the plants went terribly wrong.
“Someone has taken precautions, that it’s still under negotiations and that it makes reference to the fact that it’s dependent upon those negotiations,” said Mr. Sousa, who was not finance minister at the time the number was floated. “They were obviously putting forward a discretionary amount to offset.”
BY CHRISTINA BLIZZARD ,QMI AGENCY FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2013
Former Premier Dalton McGuinty left behind a mess of multi-million dollar proportions (VERONICA HENRI/Toronto Sun)
TORONTO – Nine hundred million dollars.
Yep, that’s what the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty was prepared to spend to cancel two gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville.
While they were soothingly telling the public the two cancellations would cost a mere $230 million, behind the scenes, they’d salted away close to $1 billion.
And Liberal incompetence negotiating the scrapping of the Oakville plant cost at least $300 million, despite advice from staff that the deal could be ended without penalty.
Those two astonishing facts came out Thursday at a Queen’s Park committee looking into the shocking way these two plants were scrapped.
There are still many unanswered questions about these deals.
First, why were they sited so badly in the first place?
The Mississauga plant is particularly a head-scratcher.
At the time new plants were planned, there was a need for more electricity in the high-growth western part of the GTA.
As well, McGuinty came to power on a foolish pledge to close all coal-fired plants by 2007. That pledge – broken several times since and the coal-fired plants aren’t all shut – left the industry scrambling to replace that power.
Coal-fired generation was up to 25% of all the power produced, so this was no mean feat.
So why did the Liberals – through their hand-picked agency, the Ontario Power Authority – not put the plant on the site of the old Lakeview coal-fired plant that was ordered closed, ironically, by Tory Environment Minister, Elizabeth Witmer?
The land was already zoned for generation. The community could hardly complain – the government was replacing the dirtiest coal-fired plant in the province with a brand new gas-fired one.
The hasty cave-in to Nimbyism on the gas plants stands in stark contrast to the government’s unswerving support for wind turbines – despite a massive groundswell of protest against wind farms in rural Ontario.
Like all scandals and boondoggles, it’s not so much the initial action that causes grief for the perpetrator, it’s the way it’s handled.
First the costs were massively under-estimated. It’s obvious to most observers that the government was low-balling estimates.
There are costs involved in dismantling the plants as well as costs paid to the companies to break the contracts. Then the plants have to be re-situated, with all the associated pipeline costs involved in shipping the gas to the new location.
Government House leader John Milloy said Thursday the $900 million shown in finance ministry documents was simply a worst case scenario.
“That document from early in 2012 was months before any negotiations were finalized,” he said. “So it was an analyst’s worst-case scenario of what would happen.”
That worst scenario is rapidly becoming the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Estimates are now close to $600 million to scrap both plants.