About the Post

Author Information

Wizard of Ontario

Rick Conroy — Wellington Times — September 28, 2012

It was crass and ugly political theatre. It could not have been more bald. Two days before the leaders’ debate in advance of the last Ontario election, three Liberal MPPs—Laurel Broten, Charles Sousa and Donna Cansfield—stood on a stage, their arms raised in triumph. All three were running in ridings around Mississauga amidst a debate about a gas-fired electricity generating facility rising out of the ground in the Sherway Gardens area. All three were thought to be at risk of losing their seat because of the plant. A year earlier neighbouring MPP Kevin Flynn had persuaded Dalton McGuinty his seat wasn’t safe unless the Premier killed a much larger gas-generating facility in Oakville. The Mississauga MPPs needed a similar favour. No matter the cost. Faced with losing power over his management of the energy file, McGuinty folded his convictions and opened up the taxpayers’ wallet to appease his desperate MPPs. Now the costs are beginning to be tallied.

Earlier this summer Finance Minister Dwight Duncan admitted that moving the Mississauga plant to Lambton near Sarnia would cost taxpayers at least $190 million. This week beleaguered Energy Minister Chris Bentley said his government would relocate the cancelled Oakville gas-fired generating plant to Lennox Generating Station at Bath—just across the bay from Cressy. The cost of the move: $40 million.

The total price tag for protecting those four Greater Toronto seats: $230 million. Not only do rural Ontarians get to shoulder a goodly share of this fiasco—they also get the gas plants and their emissions the GTA refused to take.

None of this makes sense other than through the lens of craven politics.

First, one of the important rules about generating electricity is to do it as close as possible to the folks who use it. This is because electricity leaks. The farther it has to travel to be consumed, the more it leaks from the grid. It can’t be helped when electricity is generated from dams in Northern Quebec, but such is the tradeoff for that form of inexpensive and emission-free electricity.

The market for the electricity to be generated at the new plant at Bath is the Greater Toronto Area. Same thing for the new Lambton plant. That is why these plants were planned—and in the case of the Mississauga plant, partly constructed—near Toronto; adjacent to the consumers who would use the power.

 (To continue reading, click here)

Tags: , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: