Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty
Credits: CRAIG ROBERTSON/QMI AGENCY
It's called the Liberal seat saver program.
In the midst of last October's election, the Liberals were under the gun.
With a minority government looming, they cancelled a controversial gas-fired power plant in Mississauga, saying they would "move" it.
In a stunning admission to the Legislature's estimates committee Wednesday, Energy Minister Chris Bentley said the decision to scrap the plant came from the Liberal Party - not from the government.
You thought robocalls were bad? How about a party that, mid-election, takes $180 million of your hard-earned tax dollars - and piddles it down the toilet just so they'll get re-elected?
At least we know now what a seat in the Legislature costs.
Assuming the $180 million cancellation cost ensured the re-election of Liberal stalwarts Charles Sousa (Mississauga South), Laurel Broten (Etobicoke Lakeshore) and Donna Cansfield (Etobicoke Centre), we can assume a seat is worth $60 million each.
Throw in Bob Delaney (Mississauga-Streetsville) and Amrit Mangat (Mississauga-Brampton South) and you bring the per-seat price down to a more affordable $36 million.
Any way you look at it, taxpayers got hosed, voters got bamboozled - and a vast amount of money that could have been used for healthcare got wasted.
NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns wasn't over the top Tuesday, he was simply stating facts, when he called it scandalous.
"It's either going to be on your tax bill or your hydro bill and it's a scandal, it's completely outrageous," Tabuns told reporters.
And we still don't have the bill for the scrapped $1.2 billion Oakville plant yet - again cancelled over political considerations.
The Mississauga plant will be rebuilt in Lambton, near Sarnia. That's conveniently in a Tory-held riding and out of sight and out of mind for the urban-centric, rural-phobic Liberals.
The only trouble is, that part of the province doesn't need any more electricity.
They're already well-served, with 540 MW of power generated at Brighton Beach in Windsor and an addition 440 MW generated by a natural gas plant in Sarnia.
It flies in the face of everything the Liberals told us about why they needed to build the plant in the first place.
Back then, we were told the western part of the GTA needed more electricity.
They said they had to replace the coal-fired electricity generated at the old Lakeshore plant.
That was then.
Now, when it's politically expedient, we don't need the juice any more, according to Bentley.
Meanwhile, he's greatly damaged any leadership ambitions he might have in taking on the energy portfolio.
He gets wheeled out to defend this indefensible waste of taxpayers' money. Then he spent all day Wednesday at a committee hearing, being grilled over who planned to scrap the plant - and when.
It's tough to look decisive and in control when you're defending panic planning and back-of-a-napkin policy-making.
In some ways, you have to congratulate the Liberals for driving the economy into the ground.
Had we not lost those 300,000 jobs, had all those factories and production lines still been humming, we'd need way more electricity.
As it is, we have a surplus of hydro - and a shortage of jobs.
It's bad news if you're out of work. Good news if you want to run your air conditioning.
By contrast, the Alberta government is foolishly allowing their economy to boom. All that industry and all that employment is sucking up electricity big time.
Sadly, we get a government that makes every decision based on their own selfish political needs. They do whatever it takes to keep themselves in power.
How many more scandals, boondoggles and screw-ups by Liberal insiders do we have to tolerate before we finally come to our senses and realize these guys couldn't run two-car funeral?
How much more bungling can we afford?