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Harris highlights the high cost of Liberal seat-saver program

July 11, 2012

QUEEN’S PARK — Energy Minister Chris Bentley’s decision to spend $180 million to relocate the Mississauga gas plant to Lambton shows the Liberals consider no price too high to save their members’ seats, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said during Estimates Committee today.

“The Liberals’ cancellation of the Mississauga power plant, announced just weeks before the provincial election last year, continues to cost Ontarians,” Harris said. “The Liberal government has committed to spend $180 million to relocate this plant while ignoring serious problems with Ontario’s health care system and cancelling local infrastructure projects,” Harris said.

The people of Waterloo Region have been calling on the Liberal government for years to provide the funds needed to complete the $300-million Highway 7 expansion project.

“They received bad news earlier this year when the Liberal government announced it couldn’t commit to the project because the province is too indebted,” Harris said. “But if the Liberals used the $180 million they wasted on relocating the Mississauga power plant, they could have funded more than half of the project.”

During the committee meeting, Harris highlighted the Liberal government’s mismanagement and waste on this file by listing several more examples the relocation costs could have been used for.

“There are 20,000 people in Kitchener-Waterloo without a family doctor,” Harris said. “This $180 million could have been put toward hiring another 900 doctors instead of saving Liberal seats in the GTA.

“This money also could have sent more than 27,000 post-secondary students to school for the year,” Harris said. “To put it into perspective, $180 million could cover the tuition of the entire student body at the University of Waterloo.”

Opposition members of the committee also used their majority vote to pass a motion to send a letter to the Speaker of the House, requesting that Minister Bentley be held in contempt of parliament for refusing to release documents related to the cancellation of the Mississauga and Oakville power plants.