FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Nov. 18, 2015
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett was dragged into the ongoing “blame game” at Queen’s Park as he tried to find answers to when the power line that terminates in Caledonia will be finished.
Calling it the “Power Line to Nowhere”, Barrett questioned the Minister of Energy, given the sale of Hydro One, if he will let the private sector do the work. He followed by questioning if the minister will use an injunction to let construction start.
“As the Minister of Energy continues to centralize power in his cabinet office with, to date, 37 ministerial directives and now Bill 135, disempowering IESO and the OEB, if the minister can’t guarantee that the private sector will do it, will he now use his newfound authority to secure an injunction to resume construction after nine years and complete the wiring of these towers through Caledonia?” Barrett said in the Legislature.
He also pointed out the interest paid to Hydro One is $5 million per year on the power line.
Government answers to both of Barrett’s questions continued the government’s “blame game” tactic and pinned the incompletion on federal land claim negotiations.
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0448 or [email protected]
ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Nov. 18, 2015
ABORIGINAL LAND DISPUTE
Mr. Toby Barrett: Speaker, to the Minister of Energy, with respect to the blockade of Caledonia power towers, Hydro One said recently, “We respected the request by the community to stop work.” I represent that community. The community did not ask militants to seize control of Hydro One land running through Caledonia. The community did not ask for
… represent that community. That community did not ask militants to seize control of Hydro One land running through Caledonia. That community did not ask for acetylene cutting torches placed at the base of transmission towers; for vehicles to drag part of a power tower down the main street of Caledonia, to then blockade the town for a month; for the Mohawk warrior flag to fly over Caledonia, 300 feet up on a tower; or for the dismantled towers to be used as lookout towers. I witnessed all of this. The community did not ask for pieces of towers to be thrown from the Highway 6 overpass.
This transmission corridor must be completed. Now that the minister is selling Hydro One to the private sector, will they let the private sector do it?
Hon. Bob Chiarelli: I think the member knows the history of this particular transmission line. Construction was started, I think, around 2005. About 95% of it was completed. Then there was the land dispute around Caledonia, involving two First Nations and the federal government. There is a land claim issue that needs to be resolved by the federal government, who have the responsibility for that.
We have taken some steps to try to facilitate solutions by the two First Nations who are disputing with each other and disputing with the federal government. We had made some significant progress towards it, but we have not been able to resolve the issue.
It’s a very sensitive issue. We’re being respectful of First Nations in terms of waiting for these issues to be resolved.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.
Mr. Toby Barrett: After nine years, Paul Bliss from CTV News determined that not only did the Niagara Falls-New York power transmission corridor to nowhere cost $100 million, but also, interest on the capital is dinging taxpayers another $50 million, growing by $5 million a year for a truly stranded asset: newly built power towers that have never transmitted electricity.
As the Minister of Energy continues to centralize power in his cabinet office with, to date, 37 ministerial directives and now Bill 135, disempowering IESO and the OEB, if the minister can’t guarantee that the private sector will do it, will he now use his newfound authority to secure an injunction to resume construction after nine years and complete the wiring of these towers through Caledonia?
Hon. Bob Chiarelli: Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.
Hon. David Zimmer: There’s a complex land negotiation claim under way in your area. It’s been going on for a number of years.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Through the Chair, please.
Hon. David Zimmer: The federal government is a key party to those negotiations. The federal government has not sat down in a meaningful way since 2009, when we had the last meeting.
There is a new government in Ottawa. There is a new minister of aboriginal affairs. I have read her mandate letter over. Her mandate letter is much like my mandate letter, and it stresses the need for the federal government to work with the provincial government and the First Nations involved to settle these complex and ongoing land claim matters.
I’m expecting to meet soon with my new federal counterpart in Ottawa. There is a new government. There are new players on the scene. We are hopeful of moving these issues forward.