October 15, 2012 4:27 pm

A timeline of the cancelled Mississauga and Oakville power plants

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TORONTO – Premier Dalton McGuinty has stepped down as leader of the Ontario Liberal party – a surprise announcement that came amid growing controversy and vitriol about the seemingly ever-increasing cost of moving two power plants from Mississauga and Oakvile.

Here are some key dates in the controversy over the power plants.

June 06, 2011 
Plans to construct a gas-fired power plant in an environmentally sensitive area of Mississauga has some residents up in arms.

A building permit has been issued for the 280-megawatt plant that would go up near the Mississauga-Toronto line, on a site backing onto Etobicoke Creek.

As protests heat up, Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government announces plans to review the construction of the power plant in Mississauga.

NDP MPPs claim the decision was not motivated by environmental concerns but rather political ones.

“This has got nothing to do with the environment,” said NDP critic Howard Hampton. “This is Liberal cabinet ministers and former Liberal cabinet ministers who are worried about losing their seats.”

Story continues below

September 24, 2011
After weeks of continual protest from concerned community activists in Mississauga and Oakville, the Ontario Liberal party makes a surprise decision to cancel the gas plants.

Reaction 
In the days leading up to the election, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath attack Premier McGuinty for cancelling the gas plants. Both claim it was a purely political decision.

“Dalton McGuinty looks panicked and on the run,” Hudak said during a campaign stop in Ottawa. “He had a power plant, that for six years he said was necessary, in Mississauga, and then 11 days before the campaign, he pulls the plug. Who knows where the heck he’s going to move it to?”

Prior to the election, Horwath as well suggests voters not take McGuinty’s decision to move the gas plants into account when voting. 

October 05, 2011
Despite criticizing McGuinty’s decision to scrap the power plant, the day before the 2011 election, Hudak says he would also scrap the power plants if elected.
“That’s right. Done. Done, done, done,” Hudak told a group of reporters.

October 06, 2011
Premier Dalton McGuinty is again voted in as premier of Ontario with a strong minority government, just one seat short of a majority.
Dipika Damerla, MPP for Mississauga East-Cooksville, the riding housing the controversial gas plant, also wins her seat.

July 10, 2012 
Energy Minister Chris Bentley announces that Ontario taxpayers will be saddled with the $190 million bill to move the Mississauga gas plant to Sarnia.

July 17, 2012
McGuinty announces that the Liberal party will not contribute to the now $190 million bill to move the gas plant.

July 19, 2012
Previous criticisms by Hudak and Horwath that the decision to cancel the power plants seem to be gaining credence as Finance Minister Dwight Duncan admits the Liberal party cancelled the gas plants when they began trailing in the polls prior to the election. 

September 13, 2012
Speaker of the Legislature Dave Levac rules that Energy Minister Chris Bentley violated members’ privileges by refusing to turn over all documents on the cancelled projects to a legislative committee.

Levac also gave all three parties until Sept. 24 to settle the dispute over the gas plant documents. Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives suggest only by releasing all the documents immediately can the problem be solved.

Conservative House Leader Jim Wilson suggested the $190 million bill to cancel the plants are just “the tip of the iceberg.”

September 24, 2012
The Liberal party announces they will release all the documents on the Mississauga and Oakville gas plants.

The release of nearly 36,000 documents suggest that the real cost of the cancelled gas plants is closer to $230 million rather than the initial $190 million.

September 25, 2012 
Despite the 36,000 documents released by the Liberal party, the Progressive Conservatives introduce a contempt motion against the Energy Minister suggesting there is even more documents that need to be released.

October 02, 2012
The Ontario legislature passes a motion to send the issue of contempt to a legislative committee.

“This is a difficult day and it’s a difficult proceeding,” Bentley said minutes after the 53-50 vote in the legislature. “I make no bones about that.”

The vote sends the motion of contempt to an opposition-dominated committee.

Opposition parties suggest the cost of the gas plants could be as high as $650 million.

October 15, 2012
After a day in which McGuinty faced heavy criticism over the gas plants with both Hudak, and Horwath claiming the Liberal government is not telling the truth about the real price of the gas plants, he holds an emergency session of the Liberal caucus during which he steps down as Liberal leader and prorogues the legislature.

 

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