“Tim Hudak and the Ontario Conservatives are standing against job creation…”

Re: “The $7-billion Samsung contract is a sweetheart deal…” by Tim Hudak (Oct. 28)

Once again, Tim Hudak and the Ontario Conservatives are standing against job creation and investment in Ontario. Last winter, I was pleased to sign an agreement on behalf of Ontario with a group led by Samsung.

This group plans to invest $7 billion into Ontario’s economy to generate renewable energy. This investment will support four manufacturing plants and 16,000 jobs for Ontarians. They are partnering with Canadian and trans-national companies to achieve this goal. Just recently they reached a partnership with Siemens Canada for a blade manufacturing plant. This manufacturing plant is one of many exciting renewable energy projects underway in Ontario right now.

Earlier this fall I toured the world’s largest solar photovoltaic farm in Sarnia, Ontario. This project created 800 jobs during construction and will generate enough electricity each year to power about 40 per cent of homes in the City of Sarnia.

Later that day I was in Essex County to tour two major wind energy projects led by Brookfield and was pleased to see yet another community flourishing in our new green energy economy.

In Guelph, companies such as Canadian Solar and Sustainable Energy Technologies are investing in new facilities to help support the growing clean energy market in Ontario.

Two major hydro-electric projects are underway – one in Niagara Falls, the birthplace of electricity in Ontario, and another just outside Kapuskasing, where Ontario Power Generation is working in partnership with First Nations to expand generating capacity at Lower Mattagami.

And in Atikokan, a pilot project is underway to convert the former coal-burning Atikokan Generating Station into a biomass plant. This plant would not only replace the dirty coal once supplied by the plant with a cleaner, renewable energy source, it would also create up to 200 construction jobs and protect existing jobs at the plant.

As Ontario’s economy recovers from the recession, jobs and investment in the clean energy economy are powering our way back. And yet the Ontario PC Party continues to stand opposed to these investments, this economic growth and to job creation. Tim Hudak says he wants to take Ontario down an “entirely different path.” Ontarians remember that path quite well.

It’s the path that led to a failed attempt to de-regulate Ontario’s electricity market only to panic and order a price freeze when things got out of control, costing Ontarians close to $1 billion.

It’s the path that led to dirty air and a 127 per cent increase in coal-fired generation during their eight years in office.

It’s the path that led to supply falling six per cent at a time when demand grew by eight per cent – equivalent to Niagara Falls running dry.

It’s the path that led the Tories to place diesel generators in our communities to meet demand, and rely on imports from other jurisdictions. The Tory path is filled with holes and costly schemes.

Now, as Ontarians have the opportunity to manage their energy usage through Time-of-Use pricing, Tim Hudak is proposing his latest scheme – a costly and complicated idea that he calls an “alternative” to Time-of-Use. It’s an approach that will cost all ratepayers more in the long-run.

Don’t be fooled by Tim Hudak masquerading as an energy expert. His schemes let Ontarians down before and if given the chance, would do the same again.

Brad Duguid, Minister of Energy