Ontario's Premier Dalton McGuinty Resigns, Done In By Clean Energy

Joshua Sherurcji/ Wikipedia/CC BY 2.0

In 2009, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was TreeHugger's Best of Green Regional Politician At the time it seemed extraordinary:

He invested in the health care system, banned junk food in schools, prohibited smoking just about anywhere (including private cars if children under 15 are in them), removed taxes on bikes, brought in free immunizations, protected boreal forests, instituted wine and liquor bottle deposit returns, changed the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples. On the energy front: He also closed coal fired power plants and promised to eliminate coal from the province by 2014, changed the rules to encourage alternative energy, and is introducing a controversial but important green energy plan. He declared a green belt the size of the Province of Prince Edward Island; and recently announced a massive investment in rapid transit for Toronto.

But it is the coal that killed him; In the last election he lost a huge number of seats in rural ridings divided by wind turbines on land and offshore. To save an important seat in Oakville, Ontario, he cancelled a natural gas peaker plant that was already ordered; This is growing in to a half a billion dollar scandal. When it comes right down to it, clean energy cost him his majority in the last election, and might have brought down the government had McGuinty not resigned and prorogued the provincial parliament.

Dalton was done in by his green energy policies and the NIMBY reaction to them. It is a cautionary tale.

Tags: Energy | Ontario

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