Those of us who live in Ontario are among the first victims of global warming—economic victims, that is. Yesterday, Premier Dalton McGuinty sold us out with his $7-billion sweetheart “green” deal with a foreign-based conglomerate led by South Korea’s Samsung Group that will see Ontarians pay the consortium a subsidy of $437-million through their electricity rates.
I agree with Tim Hudak who believes this deal has the potential to become, in his words, “a massive multibillion-dollar giveaway to a foreign-based conglomerate without even the most basic of public reviews.” Its very much a Liberal-style deal, in other words, its a sole-sourced back-room agreement as are so many agreements made by the Ontario government and its agencies.
The agreement calls for the Ontario Power Authority to set aside at least 500 megawatts of transmission capacity for Samsung, and the Liberal government agreed to pay Samsung more than other firms in the new feed-in-tariff program, which awards a premium to green-power generators. In exchange, Samsung is pledging to invest between $6- and $7-billion in Ontario.
According to the Toronto Star—hardly a Conservative-friendly newspaper—the deal was personally negotiated by former energy minister George Smitherman. However, “several of McGuinty’s own ministers vehemently opposed the deal at a rancorous cabinet meeting on Oct. 28 out of fear Ontario electricity ratepayers would end up subsidizing Samsung to the tune of ‘billions of dollars’.”
The Star reveals “that interim energy minister Gerry Phillips and at least two other senior cabinet members tried to scuttle it after Smitherman left provincial politics earlier this winter.” And that “it was only after McGuinty shuffled his cabinet on Monday—replacing Phillips with a more pliant Energy and Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid—that the Samsung deal is moving forward.”
How likely is it that an agreement that is so divisive among government insiders will prove beneficial to taxpayers? Not very. So opposition leader Tim Hudak wants the agreement to undergo a full auditor general review to protect the public interest.
Don’t count on that happening, folks. This sounds like a done deal.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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