‘What are we pay­ing?’

Prov­ince’s fis­cal watch­dog asked to probe hy­dro deal with Que­bec

Ottawa Sun - - NEWS - SHAWN JEFFORDS Po­lit­i­cal Bureau Chief sj­ef­fords@post­media.com

Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive fi­nance critic Vic Fedeli says he has asked the prov­ince’s fis­cal watch­dog to probe On­tario’s 2016 pur­chase of hy­dro from the Que­bec gov­ern­ment.

Fedeli said he asked Fi­nan­cial Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fi­cer Stephen LeClair to look into the deal inked be­tween the prov­inces last fall.

That agree­ment will see On­tario spend $70 mil­lion over seven years to buy elec­tric­ity from Que­bec.

Fedeli said the FAO has agreed to look at the deal and will re­port back in four months.

LeClair’s of­fice said Thurs­day that it doesn’t pub­licly com­ment on its in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Fedeli said the re­quest is im­por­tant be­cause On­tar­i­ans still know few de­tails about the deal.

“What are we pay­ing? They wouldn’t dis­close any de­tails,” Fedeli said. “We al­ready pro­duce a sur­plus of power in On­tario, are we go­ing to just be sell­ing this power back to Que­bec at a loss? That’s what it ap­pears.”

Fedeli also said the FAO has agreed to look into any fu­ture deals the prov­ince signs with Que­bec to buy hy­dro.

That could in­clude a ru­moured deal, de­tails of which leaked to me­dia this week, of On­tario buy­ing 8 ter­awatts of power from Que­bec.

The Lib­eral gov­ern­ment says that deal was rejected by En­ergy Min­is­ter Glenn Thibeault in July be­cause it would add $30 a year to the av­er­age ratepayer’s bill.

Thibeault’s spokesman, Colin Neko­laichuk, said the gov­ern­ment wel­comes the FAO’s re­view of the deal.

“The elec­tric­ity trade agree­ment reached last fall with Que­bec is help­ing to make elec­tric­ity in On­tario more af­ford­able, clean and re­li­able,” he said in a state­ment to the Toronto Sun. “The agree­ment is pro­jected to re­duce elec­tric­ity costs in On­tario by $70 mil­lion over the life of the deal. And by off­set­ting re­liance on peak­ing nat­u­ral gas fa­cil­i­ties, it also re­duces green­house gas emis­sions by 1 mil­lion tonnes ev­ery year — a sig­nif­i­cant 25% re­duc­tion in emis­sions from the elec­tric­ity sec­tor.”

The elec­tric­ity trade agree­ment reached last fall with Que­bec is help­ing to make elec­tric­ity in On­tario more af­ford­able, clean and re­li­able” Colin Neko­laichuk, spokesman for En­ergy Min­is­ter Glenn Thibeault

CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

Premier Kath­leen Wynne and Que­bec coun­ter­part Philippe Couil­lard shake hands af­ter the sign­ing of an en­ergy agree­ment in Mon­treal in De­cem­ber. In­set, On­tario En­ergy Min­is­ter Glenn Thibault.

STEPHEN LeCLAIR Asked to look into it

VIC FEDELI Wants an­swers

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