Premier's Statement on Gas Plant Relocations
Premier Kathleen Wynne made the following statement today:
"As you know, the Justice Committee is convening as we speak to look at the issue of document disclosure related to the relocation of the two gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville.
I wanted to take a moment to speak to the people of Ontario about the actions our new government is taking to move this process forward.
It's necessary that this matter is addressed so that members of the legislature can also get to work building our economy, creating new jobs, and building a fair society.
These two gas plants did not belong in these communities. That is a fact, and one on which all parties agreed before the decision to relocate them was made.
The Official Opposition supported cancelling both plants. The NDP supported cancelling both plants. All parties promised they would relocate the plants.
Our government was elected and we followed through on that promise.
Going forward, I want us to learn from this so that the future placement of energy infrastructure in Ontario is done correctly from the start.
To that end, I am taking a number of steps to ensure that we understand how this process must work better to save us all time and money.
I have asked my House Leader to work with the opposition to broaden the mandate of the Justice Committee to look at the tendering, planning, commissioning, cancellation, and relocation of the Mississauga and Oakville gas plants.
Secondly, as you know, last year's request for gas plant documents pertained only to the Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority. To make sure we have a more comprehensive understanding of all the facts around this issue, I've also asked that government members of the Justice Committee work with the opposition members to request all gas plant material from every other ministry as well.
The motion requests that all documents are to be provided within three weeks. Where the government is unable to meet this timeline, it will immediately table with the Clerk a copy of any and all records collected. And it will produce a full explanation of the further steps that will be taken to fully comply and an estimate of the additional time required.
During the campaign for the leadership of my party, I was very clear that it was my intention to make available any and all information relating to the cancellation of these projects.
This is a complex process. As I'm sure you all appreciate, it involves multiple ministries and agencies that employ many people who send and receive hundreds of emails each day.
Yes, documents will continue to be brought forward in three weeks and for weeks afterward. That process will not stop until we are assured that all relevant information has been received.
I understand the political imperatives of the opposition parties when it comes to this matter. It is in everyone's best interest that this issue is addressed, and that we have a full understanding of how to ensure the appropriate placement of necessary energy infrastructure in Ontario.
Since being sworn in as Premier just 17 days ago, I have already taken a number of other steps on this issue.
I have met with the leaders of the two opposition parties. All three house leaders have also met repeatedly on this issue.
I have agreed to opposition requests to appear before committee. I have asked the Auditor General to examine the costs of relocation of both gas plants.
As a demonstration of my commitment to moving this process forward, I offered a select committee, an offer which was rejected. Giving the Justice Committee this expanded mandate is intended to achieve what I had hoped would be done through a select committee.
I firmly believe that this issue can be adequately addressed within the scope of our legislative process.
I have taken decisive action to address this serious matter, and have instructed our ministers and their staff to continue working to understand how such situations can be avoided in the future.
We need to create jobs, to continue building a 21st century economy. We need to make sure our children are getting the best education possible and that people across Ontario are healthy and cared for so they can fully participate in their communities and their professions.
I believe there is much we can accomplish if we continue to work together for the men and women of Ontario.
The construction of these plants was called off because they did not belong in these locations to begin with. That was something on which all parties agreed. And today, Oakville and Mississauga do not have unwanted gas plants in their communities.
Our new government is working with our ministries, and on behalf of all of our communities, to ensure that this situation does not occur again."