Straight Talk
CHRISTINA BLIZZARD - More gas plant lies

Premier Kathleen Wynne

Credits: Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

CHRISTINA BLIZZARD | QMI AGENCY

A massive gas explosion rocked Queen's Park Thursday, sending shell-shocked members of Kathleen Wynne's cabinet scurrying for cover.

This could win the Liberals an Oscar in the horror flick category: Gas Plants III - the sequel to the sequel. Best attempt at a cover up by a near-death government.

Just when the Liberals thought they'd successfully rebranded themselves as somehow different from the old Dalton McGuinty government, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) tosses them another grenade.

Shortly before question period, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli stood up in the legislature to announce that - yep - once again, they'd lied to us and the OPA had actually uncovered more documents related to the scrapping of the two gas-fired generating plants in Mississauga and Oakville.

This comes after McGuinty and his energy minister, Chris Bentley, assured us - twice - there was nothing else. That was 50,000 pages ago.

First, they produced 30,000 pages. Then, on a Friday afternoon in October, the OPA produced 20,000 more.

The following Monday, McGuinty quit, shutting down the house and plunging his party into a leadership frenzy that brought Wynne into his old office.

Now we find out there's another 67 documents with 600 pages.

In a bizarre news conference Thursday, OPA chair Jim Hinds and ceo Colin Anderson blurted out even more damaging information about the controversial cancellations.

The Mississauga plant was cancelled during the 2011 election. The decision to shut down construction was taken not by elected officials, but by McGuinty's campaign team.

Had it not been for that politically motivated decision, "we would have seen the plant through," said Anderson.
So now we know there was political interference in the decision.

Neither Anderson nor Hinds would say what the actual cost of cancelling the two plants is - thereby making it clear it's not going to be the $230 million the government previously claimed it would be.

They blamed their inability to find all the documents on not searching under certain code names.

One gas plant was code-named "Project Banana" another was "Project Fruit Salad." There were apples in there as well.
Now that they're scrapped, they're lemons.

There were no oranges, of course, as the government had already assigned the Ornge code name to that other scandal - the one that saw hundreds of millions of dollars piddled away on expensive helicopters for the air ambulance system.

This is outrageous.

Just a day after the Liberal government had bickered with the Tories, trying to get them to drop their contempt motion in return for a select committee on the gas plants, a whole whack of new documents landing in our laps.

Heads should roll at the OPA. Or just dump the whole agency, as PC Leader Tim Hudak has pledged to do. It's a Liberal make-work project that was supposed to put energy generation at arm's length from the government.

Clearly it didn't. When the Liberal campaign team said jump, they asked, "How high?"

Bentley has paid the price for their sloppy record search.

He was facing a contempt motion when the house was shut down. He's now quit his seat and is out of politics.

And we lost four months of government while the Liberals shut it down and tried to make this go away.

It hasn't. And it won't. We still haven't got to the bottom of this smelly pile of manure.

The question now is can Wynne survive this?

Forget the bananas and the fruit salad, she's been handed a stinking cross between an ugli fruit and a durian fruit -- it looks bad and reeks like rotting maggots.

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