January 9th, 2020

Horwath calls on Ford to let Auditor probe cost, justification for ripping down wind farm

QUEEN’S PARK — Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats, is calling on Doug Ford to allow Ontario’s Auditor General to examine the true costs and justification for his government’s decision to tear down the Nation Rise Wind Farm in North Stormont.

Peter Tabuns, NDP critic for Energy and the Climate Crisis, wrote to the Auditor General requesting an urgent investigation into all the costs associated with the decision to scrap the Nation Rise project that was just months from completion. The Auditor General confirmed that she will audit the costs of cancelling the wind farm in her annual report. But she also confirmed that she is willing to conduct a special investigation into the Nation Rise cancellation, and cannot proceed without a mandate from the government.

“Ontarians deserve to know the truth. And we need it quickly. Doug Ford’s war on the environment is putting us all in danger, and everyday Ontarians are footing a massive bill for it,” said Horwath.

“Today I am calling on Doug Ford to authorize a special report by the Auditor General into the costs and justification of this latest cancellation. The ball is in your court, Mr. Ford. If you believe this decision is not a waste of money, and you did not use bogus evidence to justify it, let the Auditor General prove it.”

Horwath said the cancelled energy project was strikingly similar to the Liberal gas plant scandal. In fact, Ford’s own PC MPP for the area, Jim McDonell (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry), also said cancelling the Nation Rise project would mirror the Liberal gas plant scandal, and added that it would waste a billion dollars.

Last year, Ontario’s auditor general revealed that Doug Ford’s government has wasted $231 million to cancel renewable energy contracts, including a reported $141 million to scrap the White Pines wind farm in Prince Edward County. The Nation Rise project is larger and closer to completion.

Nation Rise Wind Farm is a 29-wind turbine, 100-megawatt wind energy project that had been under construction since May 2019. At the time the approval was revoked, 16 of the 29 wind turbines had already been fully or partially erected, and the construction was expected to be completed in February 2020.