City votes trump rural energy concerns

For immediate release:
July 20, 2012

“Every circumstance is different” — Finance Minister Dwight Duncan on cancelling power plant in Mississauga while ignoring wind opposition in rural Ontario

Simcoe – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett says Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s startling admission that votes in Etobicoke and Mississauga are more important to the Liberals than voices in rural Ontario comes as no surprise – McGuinty has made a career of ignoring rural interests.

“That’s how this government has operated since Day 1: cowtowing to urban voters, while turning a deaf ear to rural needs,” Barrett stated following committee hearings yesterday. “The last minute cancellation of the Mississauga gas plant is just the latest example of McGuinty’s city-centric decision-making leaving rural Ontarians to help pay the bill.”

Barrett’s comments followed Estimates Committee hearings yesterday when Minister Duncan suggested to Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece that five electoral seats in Etobicoke and Mississauga were more important than rural votes.

Pettapiece asked: “Your government made the decision to move [the gas plant] and made that campaign promise in September. Did you poll the residents of Mississauga about whether they wanted it there?”

The minister claimed he had not conducted a poll, but said, “It was in newspapers. We did meet with the mayors. We meet with local mayors… I heard from our local members. I read the newspapers. I watched the news.”

When Pettapiece asked the minister if he would listen to the voices of rural Ontarians opposed to industrial wind towers, Duncan responded, “Every circumstance is different. We have an important policy—“

“Apparently the Minister is willing to accept “NIMBYism” in Etobicoke and Mississauga, but when the voice or rural Ontario is raised, government turns a deaf ear,” Barrett noted. “Since the inception of McGuinty’s Green Energy Act, municipalities have had their planning authority stripped – allowing government to disregard the 80 municipalities who have passed motions to slow wind development.”

Recently the government revealed that its decision to cancel the Mississauga plant would cost taxpayers $180 million – only to revise that number to $190 million. Duncan admitted the decision to cancel the plant came from the Liberal campaign team, and that cabinet did not discuss the idea until after the election.

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For more information contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446, 905-765-8413 or 1-800-903-8629