London-West Liberal MPP Chris Bentley announces he is stepping down from politics during a press conference at his constituency office in London on Friday October 26, 2012.
Credits: CRAIG GLOVER/QMI AGENCY
Energy analysts in Ontario fear a repeat of the gas plant controversy if the Liberal government advances key parts of its energy plan while the house is prorogued.
Tom Adams, Research Fellow for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy with a focus in Ontario energy projects, says any spending or furtherbcommitments to energy projects should be halted.
"The billions and billions of capital being spent and committed is just not part of a coherent plan. We have to pull back a moratorium on everything," Adams said. "Consumers are getting horribly screwed here."
Wind turbines and solar panels are part of the government's energy plan, and applicants have been submitting their bids to the ministry. The exact future plans of Ontario's coal plants, which will stop generating electricity in 2014, also has not been confirmed.
Jane Wilson, President of Wind Concerns Ontario fears the decisions that could be made at a time when opposition have no forum to demand accountability. "There are giant power projects, including wind projects, that are up for approval," Wilson said. "We're worried what the government is doing while it's prorogued."
This week Energy Minister Chris Bentley followed Finance Minister Dwight Duncan to announce that he will not run in the Liberal leadership race to replace Dalton McGuinty. Bentley also announced he is quitting politics altogether. "I will not be seeking re-election," Bentley said. "I've been moving in this direction for some time. This call for a convention accelerated my decision."
Bentley has been heavily embroiled in controversy as Energy Minister this year. He faces contempt motions for refusing to table documents with the details to terminate two gas plant contracts right before the last provincial general election. Opposition believes taxpayers will be on the hook for a billion dollars over the decision.
Eleven days Premier Dalton McGuinty prorogued the house and announced his own resignation. Many believe he prorogued the house to avoid the gas plants controversy, which was set to be discussed at committee last week.
The Premier now faces heat for not setting an end date to the prorogation period.