Nuclear industry donates to Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario Liberals

Angela Bischoff —

On Wednesday Ontario’s Opposition Leader, Patrick Brown, asked Premier Wynne to call a Commission of Inquiry into her Government’s political fundraising practices. According to Mr. Brown, “The people of Ontario need to know if government contracts and grants were traded for donations to the Ontario Liberal Party.”

We agree that there is a need for an examination of the links between donations from the nuclear industry and the Government’s decisions, especially when it comes to its decision to approve a $13 billion deal to rebuild six reactors at the Bruce Nuclear plant without looking at any alternatives.

As media have reported, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli has been a top fundraiser when it comes to landing corporate donations at private events, where he has often been joined by the Premier herself. In 2013, Bruce Power CEO Duncan Hawthorne hosted one of the now notorious private fundraising dinners for the party – an exclusive affair that raised $100,000 for the Liberals in one night. Unfortunately, we don’t know who attended this lucrative shindig or other similar events attended by the Minister, but we do know they weren’t there for the dinner rolls.

It is a system ripe for conflict, as the Premier herself has now acknowledged by calling on her ministers to end the practice.

Bruce Power Contract

On December 1, 2015 Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli issued a directive to the Independent Electricity System Operator to sign a sole-source contract with Bruce Power for 35% of Ontario’s electricity supply for 49 years. The Government has provided no evidence to show that the Bruce Power contract is the lowest cost option to keep our lights on.

In fact, in an attempt to justify its sole-source contract with Bruce Power, the Government has issued a “Fairness Opinion” prepared by NERA Economic Consulting. But the 14-page NERA report provides no real justification for the sole-source deal, stating:

“We have not been asked to and have not reviewed how the ultimate costs and benefits of power provided under the Agreement compare to the costs and benefits of power from alternate sources.”

In addition, the Government has refused to release virtually all of the financial terms of the Bruce Power contract.

We believe the Liberal Government should release the full financial details of the Bruce Power deal and not proceed with any reactor rebuild projects until these have been subjected to a rigorous comparison to lower cost alternatives, including water power imports from Quebec, made-in-Ontario green energy, and energy efficiency.

Furthermore, we believe that the best way to restore public confidence in energy decision making in this province is to require all nuclear project proponents to participate in an open competitive bidding process to supply energy, just as large renewable power suppliers are now required to do.

From: Ontario Clean Air Alliance