Why hasn’t Ontario signed a deal for power purchases from Quebec? That was the question host Steve Paikin asked the premiers of Canada’s two most populous provinces during the Mowat Centre’s Confederation of Tomorrow 2.0 conference held just before the holidays.
Paikin pointed out that the Ontario Clean Air Alliance continues to push Ontario to choose low-cost water power from Quebec over high cost nuclear rebuilds, and he pressed the Premiers for a response.
Premier Wynne waffled, acknowledging that Quebec has plenty of power to spare, yet defended her decision to spend tens of billions rebuilding old reactors as the “responsible” choice.
Wynne however failed to explain what exactly is “responsible” about keeping a 46-year-old nuclear station operating in the heart of our largest urban area, or how rebuilding aging reactors at three-times the cost of importing water power is good fiscal management. But she did insist that any deal with Quebec “has to be a good deal.” That is a responsible standard her government clearly isn’t applying to nuclear rebuilds.
For his part, Quebec Premier Couillard was very clear that he would welcome a deal with Ontario, noting that “We have huge amounts of power available” and adding “we don’t need to build new dams,” busting two myths beloved by nuclear special interests.
On the bright side, Premier Wynne noted that “Actually, I think we’re in the throes of working on another [deal with Quebec]. I am not adverse in any way.”
For the sake of Ontario’s beleaguered electricity consumers, let’s hope Premier Wynne’s New Year’s resolutions include a strong commitment to getting that deal done.
You can watch the full interview here. Skip to the 25 minute mark to listen to the power import discussion.
Please email Premier Wynne and ask her to negotiate a deal with Quebec which will lower our electricity bills by reducing our dependency on high-cost nuclear power.
-Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director
P.S. Watch our 2-minute video with OCAA Chair Jack Gibbons and me about why Ontario should sign a deal with Quebec for low-cost water power. And have a Happy New Year!