The day after a surprise announcement that the development of a Mississauga power plant would be cancelled if the Liberals are re-elected, Dalton McGuinty said he is in talks about whether the costs of scrapping the project will be released before the election.
“We’re in conversations,” he told reporters on Sunday, about whether costs for backtracking on the Mississauga plant, and an earlier cancelled Oakville project, will be released.
“We’re talking about what it is that we can do to relocate these kinds of things,” he added.
Construction had already begun on the 280-megawatt, gas-fired electricity plant when the announcement was made on Saturday, less than two weeks before the Oct. 6 election. The decision is a victory for the community, which has argued against having the power plant in the community, close to homes and hospitals.
Mr. McGuinty’s opponents accuse him of trying to save a Liberal seat in the area.
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said he too would cancel the project and that his party has opposed the projects in Oakville and Mississauga all along
“Clearly you know, when you see the Liberals cancel this plant, what, 11 days before an election? This is a government that is panicking, that is desperate and on the run,” Mr. Hudak said at a campaign stop in Brantford, Ont.
On Sunday, the NDP released a statement questioning how much changing the location of the plant will cost taxpayers.
Mr. McGuinty said he’s not sure where the plant will be relocated to as of yet.
He said the Liberals’ plans changed because they were listening to the community.
“I think they’re going to think that they have a political party that listens to the community,” he said. ”We responded to a pretty compelling argument put forward by the folks living in that community.”
Since the proposal for the plant in 2005, three condominium towers had been built in the area and it had been determined that wind turbines wouldn’t be allowed in the area because of the necessary setback.
Mr. McGuinty said this does not mean other controversial plants, like one in Holland Marsh, will be scrapped.
“We’re talking about different circumstances there, in terms of the setbacks and the proximity to the population,” he said, as he made a brief campaign stop held by a group of Young Liberals at a Toronto pub.
Before taking questions, he addressed the crowd from the centre of the pub. For a few minutes he talked about his new tuition grant and other post-secondary pledges.
“I want to thank you for your inspiration.... I know that there’s some cynicism felt for politics,” he told the crowd.
With a report from Kim Mackrael