A coalition of residents' groups fighting a Mississauga power plant killed by Dalton McGuinty over the weekend say they won't rest easy until the Ontario PC and NDP leaders make the same commitment.
Liberal incumbents in Etobicoke and Mississauga made the announcement Saturday morning 10 days after nearly 1,000 frustrated residents rallied to protest construction of the controversial natural gas-fired power plant in the Dixie Road-Dundas Street West area.
"I'm ecstatic," Coalition of Homeowners for Intelligent Power (CHIP) interim chair Greg Rohn said of McGuinty's decision. "But it's obviously an election promise. If they do win, we've got to make sure they follow through on it.
"It doesn't stop us from moving full-steam ahead. We also need the same commitment, obviously, from (PC Party leader) Tim Hudak and (NDP leader) Andrea Horwath. If it's a minority government, she may have a role in it, as well."
Eastern Power Ltd. began construction of the plant a month ago, despite the knowledge Environment Minister John Wilkinson had pledged to conduct a review of the environmental approval the Ontario Liberal government granted the company in 2008.
Originally planned in 2005, the City of Mississauga challenged the zoning of the project at the Ontario Municipal Board. The board ruled in favour of Eastern Power, which had won the government contract.
Mississauga Liberal incumbents Charles Sousa (Mississauga South) and Dipika Damerla (Mississauga East-Cooksville) and Etobicoke Liberal incumbents Laurel Broten (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) and Donna Cansfield (Etobicoke Centre) made the cancellation announcement Saturday.
They said the Ontario Liberals will work with Eastern Power to find a new location for the plant, not in Etobicoke or Mississauga.
McGuinty told reporters in June he would consider cancelling the power plant being constructed near Sherway Gardens, Dorothy Ley Hospice, new Sherway condos and residential neighbourhoods in Etobicoke and Mississauga.
Immediately following Saturday's announcement, the Conservatives called the move a "desperate seat saver." The PCs also questioned how much the cancelled plant in Oakville and now in Mississauga will cost taxpayers.
McGuinty insisted the plant cancellation is pure coincidence less than two weeks before voters head to the ballot box.
While CHIP's Rohn said he is "happy to have the PCs on board now," he said the Conservatives are newcomers to the Greenfield South Power Plant debate.
"The PCs are so funny. They ignored us right through to the (Sept. 15) rally," Rohn said. "Even though they're now trying to rewrite history by saying they've been actively campaigning against this for months."
An Ontario PC Party response to Rohn's comment was not immediately available Monday.
After the announcement, the NDP criticized McGuinty for his Liberal government's energy plan, saying an NDP government would make energy efficiency and conservation its top energy priority.
"If (the NDP) come into power, we will look at energy efficiency and conservation and secondly, renewables," New Democrat incumbent Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth) said on behalf of the Ontario NDP in an interview Monday. Tabuns fought the Portlands Energy Centre in his riding and supported residents of Holland Marsh and Oakville in their battles against power plants.
"As far as I can tell, this plant is surplus to Ontario's needs. We wouldn't build it."
CHIP's Rohn stressed that when residents who oppose the plant call and email him with congratulations, he tells them the same message. The fight is not over.
"The fact of the matter is that it's just an election promise. It's contingent on (the Liberals) getting re-elected. We need to get all the parties on board with this so no matter who gets in and in what form of government, this thing will be cancelled once and for all."