Tbnewswatch Local News
Wednesday July 8 2015
12:23 AM EDT
2014-05-16 at 13:33

Politics and power

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- Bill Mauro would love the opportunity to debate the Liberal government's track record on the region's energy needs.

With two coal plants in Thunder Bay-Atikokan, incumbent and Liberal candidate Bill Mauro said nobody else was talking about the loss of jobs and tax base to the riding when all parties agreed to get the province off of coal in 2003.

Now there's $200 million worth of work, the plants are open and converted to biomass and the region's energy needs are secure.

"An absolute home run, I look forward to debating it," he said.

But Progressive Conservative candidate Harold Wilson points out that twice the Thunder Bay Generating Station was supposed to be converted to natural gas and twice the proposal was canceled.

Officials in the region have had to fight with the Ontario Power Authority many times on Northwestern Ontario's energy concerns.

"This government has been very good at generating bureaucracy but not generating electricity," he said.

A five-year plan for the plant isn't a long-term commitment, which is needed for the region's future if it wants to attract business. Wilson said it's a band-aid.

"If you're trying for long-term investment you can't do long-term investment on five years," Wilson said.

Converting the plant could still be an option Wilson said.

But Mauro said right now the region's energy needs are secure, along with a $2 billion plan to upgrade transmission in the North. 

The Green Party's John Northey believes the region needs to look elsewhere to places like Manitoba for energy where its in more supply and cheaper.

"As the Ring of Fire grows even if they built the gas plant we'd still be short on power," he said.

In an interview with Thunder Bay Television, NDP candidate Mary Kozorys said she's concerned that the generating station doesn't have enough biomass to meet the region's power demand. She called the conversion another failed Liberal promise. 

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Sullard says:
Why hasn't there been an inquest into the wasted money due to the Thunder Bay GS gas conversion cancellations ??? It is is the tens of millions of dollars and no one has ever looked into it...Why??
This station is now just a political tool......very sad but true.
5/17/2014 9:56:13 PM
unheard says:
Tip for liberals
you want to win you need to replace the people running up here
5/17/2014 10:58:35 AM
hotchoc says:
It is ironic to me that Mary has an opinion on this topic. Please tell the whole story Mary. It was Ian Angus and City Council that opposed the conversion from coal burning to Natural Gas. They derailed this project back in 2006 and we all know what party Mr. Angus belongs to. I am sure he and Mary see each other often It is like Horizon Wind. It was City Council including Mr. Angus that gave us this disaster.

When City Council makes these decisions, opposing conversion, agreeing to a wind farm, it is them who created the nightmare and them who need to fix it.

This is the second time Mauro saved this plant. Yet folks still want to yell. Only in this town. Mr. Mauro had two coal plants in his riding slated to close. Both are remaining open.
Mr. Wilson and Mr. Mauro both need a lesson in baseball. This is not a home run, it is more like a grand slam to win the world series.
Or does Mr. Wilson and Mary want us to believe the other cities that had coal didn't want the jobs or the taxes
5/17/2014 10:15:08 AM
onlyinthebay says:
Billy and his liberals have been drinking too much green Koolaid and pandering to the greens while we are paying the price (eat or heat) and business is moving out. This government just flies by the seat of their pants -- no long term plan and no fiscal responsibility. Scandal after scandal and looking after their own -- Who sits on the OPA board, the OPG board, the Hydro One Board...etc.etc.
5/17/2014 8:15:12 AM
lori says:
some people want to judge our MPP by this sole issue alone. I think it needs to be expanded a bit.

Every coal plant in Ontario has been closed, every one except 2. Where are those two. In Mr. Mauro's riding with a 200 million investment.

A black eye. The man saved the jobs, and saved the tax base for Atikokan saving our town. Sure, our Mayor was fighting it too, but it got done. I can't imagine other cities didn't want the jobs to remain and the tax base. Mr. Mauro succeeded where others didn't. Sounds like a home runn seeing as this one is staying open also.

But I do have a question for Mr. Wilson who is already learning to speak from both sides.

His brochure arrived in my door. In it he says the coal plant in T.Bay is closing. In this article he acknowledges that it is staying open.


how can you claim the plant is closing in your brochure to the houses in this riding.

Seems like a fair question to ask him.
5/17/2014 12:12:28 AM
Steamy says:
I like how Mauro loves to brag about job creation but how come he doesn't talk about the job losses at the coal terminal? this guy never likes to tell the whole truth. he just wants to talk about the part that he likes. goodbye liberal bums, your governing days are long over.
5/16/2014 11:06:59 PM
reese says:
There are two issues here how can a country the size of Finland export these pellets here when we have who knows how much more natural resuorces.How can other places burn coal efficiently
Could the answer be profits ?
5/16/2014 6:41:35 PM
j_northey says:
My big concerns with power are ensuring we have enough, that it doesn't pollute (take a look at what Sudbury used to look like to see how ugly it can get), and isn't going to cost an arm and a leg.

Biomass was a nice idea, the concept was to use waste wood from lumber operations up here, but if they are importing it instead that kind of kills a big part of the project. Gas pollutes less than coal and isn't a terrible idea - I hate how it started and stopped a couple of times thus wasting lots of taxpayer dollars. I favour hooking up to Manitoba rather than southern Ontario as it would be cheaper to do the hook up and the power would be lower cost and it is generated via water which is renewable - don't care for the flooding aspect, but what is done is done and isn't as bad as other options so lets use what is there and get things moving.

FYI: yes, I am the Green Party candidate mentioned in the article.
5/16/2014 6:33:00 PM
Zelig says:
Before I consider voting for any candidate I want to hear their answers (yes or no) to a few simple questions:

1- Is it mathematically possible for Ontario's or Canada's debt to be paid off?
2- Are men and women obligated to pay taxes or just citizens?
3- Is 'Ontario' a 3-dimensional portion of the Earth or a corporation?

Obviously these are trick questions, but we're so used to getting 'trick answers' from politicians that it seems only fair.
5/17/2014 9:35:55 AM
Jack Frost says:
"An absolute home run, I look forward to debating it," he said.

"Bill Mauro would love the opportunity to
debate the Liberal government's track record on the region's energy needs."

I say, more like just another absolute strike out for these shameless "Fiberals" again !!

Why exactly are these two coal plants in Thunder Bay and Atikokan not being converted to burn clean and abundant Canadian natural gas to generate clean and affordable electricity for all and at the same time also help to employ Canadian people ?!!

Is this "strike-out" clown from another planet or what ?!?!?!

Come election day, let's all "debate" with this Bill Mauro and the rest of his team Fiberals.

I say, let's show them all exactly how much we have all really appreciated how "this
shameless government has been very good at generating bureaucracy but not generating AFFORDABLE electricity for all."

What a bad joke this has been on us all, AGAIN...

5/16/2014 5:52:27 PM
livewire says:
Should of left it a coal plant.and did the updates. This would reduce the price of Hydro. Another waste of money by the Lib's and the tree huggers.
5/16/2014 5:01:34 PM
mikethunderbay says:
@Kam River and anyone else who isn't paying attention. All three parties said they would close all the coal plants if elected in 2003. No one was talking about converting to bio mass or natural gas in the north except Bill Mauro who started fighting for them immediately after being elected. He has two in his riding and they are both still open 10 years later. I'd say that's a win. These are facts, I know some on here like to forget or ignore them but unfortunately for you most people are aware that all three parties wanted them closed.
Also for all you NDP ers out there...the last two budgets that passed were done so with ndp support of budget consultations between them and the liberals, I know the ndp like to claim they are fighting for the north but they never made converting the coal plant to bio mass or natural gas a budget demand for their support. Really fighting for us on that one......
5/16/2014 3:24:12 PM
Kam River says:
It is a major Failure:
(1) Cost jobs in the north
(2) Pushed up our hydro bills.

Most the world is s till using coal. The liberals killed out coal plant.
The only thing it did was make them look good for the greenie in South Ontario
Caused our electric bill to climb put us at risk of brown out
Did nothing to protect the environment. It was just like the gas plants a move to elect liberals in the southern Ontario at the expense of the north.
It made it harder to attract new industries to the North
The Liberal get a "F" for their "Green Energy Program".
5/16/2014 2:43:59 PM
tothecloud says:
What a joke... this "news" story is just an attempt to get the crazies to fill up the comment section and generate some ad revenue. Stop the presses everyone, Bill Mauro wants the opportunity to debate. Stand by for tomorrows "update" on the event centre.
5/16/2014 2:24:37 PM
editor@tbnewswatch says:
Thank for the feedback, tothecloud

We will continue to speak to provincial candidates running in Thunder Bay’s two ridings. We, and I think our readers too, believe these issues are relevant and important. The generating station, health care issues, Ring of Fire infrastructure and many, many more issues will be touched on before this election concludes.

Given this is an election, we believe these matters are news worthy and worth our time and resources. We will continue to cover these kinds of stories no matter what our comment count is.

As for the Event Centre … well, that’s also an issue that seems too important to ignore anytime soon.

Thanks again.
(Scott Paradis)

P.S. If there are any topics or news stories you would like us to cover more, feel free to let us know!
5/16/2014 3:02:33 PM
yqtyqt says:
This is an election year.

The most burning question is how the parties are going to get the provinces finances under control. While they do it by taxing the daylights out of the remaining working few. Or will they take the bull by the horns at finally look at the expenditure side. Running large annual deficits and reckless spending is not sustainable. So how do the parties stack up on this.

A related question is when are they going to pay down the massive provincial debt that we are saddling our children and grandchildren with. Interest on the provincial credit card is the third largest expenditure this government pays. Its tough to get the economy going when you're only paying credit card interest. So when & how.

Finally, what will the parties do to come clean on the gas plant fiasco and Ornge. Or do they simply want to sweep it under the rug. It would seem that the governing party just wants to forget about it and attack anyone who wants some transparency and accountability here
5/16/2014 3:25:48 PM
polar bare says:
Whatever became of the proposed area biomass pellet plants that were to fuel these generating stations? As I recall, our politicians claimed that they would employ "hundreds"!
5/16/2014 2:09:19 PM
fairlane says:
Home run? And we're getting pellets from Finland when we could be helping a fledging forest industry back home. Big Fail.

Pop fly to centre field. Next batter please.
5/16/2014 1:41:50 PM
ibrando says:
Yep, it's one big huge home run Billie. Would you also be willing to concede in the same debate the fact that considerably more co2 is generated with biomass as a fuel as opposed to natural gas? Makes the home run seem more like a base hit at best.
5/16/2014 4:39:44 PM
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