2013-08-21 at 17:11
NDP energy critic Gilles Bisson (right) says two elections are too long to wait for a decision on the future of Thunder Bay's coal-fired generating station.
Need Xtra Cash? Visit Xtra Cash!For payday advances and cheque cashing, there's no better option than XTRA CASH! Best rates, no holds, and instant Cash!Click here for full list of services
Two elections are too long for a decision on the Thunder Bay Power Generating Station, says NDP energy critic Gilles Bisson.
Click here to submit a letter to the editor.
The former party leadership candidate, an MPP since 1990, said the ruling Liberals have no issue making power-plant decisions when it might save them seats, but have taken Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario for granted when it comes to the region’s energy needs now and in the future.
Bisson called the province’s approach to green energy and its decision to halt the conversion of the Thunder Bay plant from coal to natural gas a misguided one.
“You can’t go into a community and make promises and then not keep those promises once they’re made,” Bisson said Wednesday, in town for an NDP fundraising barbecue.
“I think it’s clear that we as New Democrats have an interest in making sure that there is enough electricity in the Northwestern region to be able to power the needs of the region, not only for now, but for the mines and others that we know are going to be developed. To do that, I think this plant is part of that.”
At the very least the 56-year-old representative said a conversion plan should be in place, one that makes sense to both ratepayers and the people of the area to maintain both employment and energy needs.
“We’re saying we’re committed to that. If it’s conversion, let’s make sure that we do it. If it takes two or three years to do that, let’s take the time. But let’s at least carry through on the promises we made and not always have a government that says one thing prior to an election and then something different after an election.”
Bisson reiterated his party does support the end of coal by the end of 2014, which would shutter the TBPGS unless conversion to natural gas is completed.
Then energy minister Christ Bentley last fall stopped the conversion process temporarily, saying the Ontario Power Authority was convinced it could save $400 million in the process while still meeting the region’s energy needs now and into the future.
His replacement, Bob Chiarelli, has yet to publicly state whether or not he plans to reverse that decision, despite the pleas of the local energy task force.
Windmills and other forms of renewable energy have been pushed down the throats of Ontarians, at great expense to consumers.
Bisson said there was a better way.
“Why didn’t we just invest in the time and invest in the technology to be able to do the conversion of plants like Thunder Bay, where people want the plant, where it makes sense to convert it to something else, that (might be) able to use some of the fibre in the area to be able to power the plant and have a place to get rid of the fibre that otherwise would not be used.”
Bisson is expected back in Thunder Bay in mid September for a Northern NDP caucus meeting which will include a visit by party leader Andrea Horwath.
Click here to report a typo or error