The end of the gas plant affair.

The Ontario gas plant affair has ended badly. There are no good guys in the story. It was a sorry tale of misinformation and harangue. It was public participation gone rotten. It was political perfidy. It cost us all.

And David Livingston is the fall guy. He was premier McGuinty’s right-hand man. Nobody should be that loyal. Nobody has the right to tell someone to break the law. Livingston got a token prison sentence. It is still an unfair price for a fall guy to pay.

What price should former premier Dalton McGuinty pay? What price should then campaign chief Greg Sorbara pay?

And we need to remember that the conservatives and the NDP are hardly blameless. They stirred the pot. They incited the local citizens to protest the relatively innocuous gas plants. They loudly demanded they be cancelled. If your local candidate from any party mentions this business on the campaign trail, you will know him or her for a hypocrite.

Sometimes we make decisions in a campaign that are not thought through. We might have had too little time to weigh the pros and cons. When more recently in the midst of a federal election, Justin Trudeau promised that it would be the last election under first-past-the-post rules. He did not lie deliberately. He had simply not given the thought a thorough look. He did not even understand the impact of the promise.

Nor did anyone have any idea what cancelling those gas plants would cost. It was a careless and costly move. It was not a proud day for politicians.

The people who should also be sharing the blame are those who raved against the plants. They were being given an advantage that most Ontario communities could only hope for. They were being provided with local back-up electrical generation for times of extreme heat or cold to keep their air conditioners or furnaces working and their lights turned on. Gas generation plants can come up to speed quickly and meet emergency needs.

And typical of NIMBYs everywhere, the people who complained the most about plants they had never seen, would be the first to complain bitterly in brown outs or electrical system failures. Listen to them about the cost of electrical transmission from back-up plants many miles away.

But now you have your fall guy. Mr. Livingston is carrying that cross for a lot of people. We can all be silent as he goes by.


Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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