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Hudak renews election call over $585M to cancel gas plants

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne appears before the legislature's justice committee at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on April 30, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is renewing his calls for a provincial election after Premier Kathleen Wynne refused to apologize for two cancelled GTA gas plants that the public has learned cost at least $585 million.

“Her testimony [Tuesday] at the gas plant committee was highly evasive, deeply disturbing and strains the bounds of credibility,” Hudak said at Queen’s Park on Wednesday.

“She has lost the moral authority to govern this great province.”

The Tories tried to introduce a confidence motion on the gas plants, but the minority Liberals would have to allow the vote to proceed.  The cancelled Oakville plant cost taxpayers $310 million, while cancelling a partly-built gas plant in Mississauga just days before the 2011 provincial election cost at least $275 million.

Wynne admitted the decision to shutter the Mississauga plant was political and said Tuesday she took responsibility for the decision. However, she refused to apologize.

The Liberals will introduce the budget on Thursday, their first one under Wynne.  The premier has said there’s no need to make the gas plants a confidence motion, as the budget is already a confidence motion.

“If it burdens Ontarians, we won’t be supporting the budget,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Wednesday.

The Tories have already said they won’t support the budget, and the Liberals need the support of at least one Opposition party for it to pass.

The Liberals have introduced measures in recent days to get the NDP’s support.

On Wednesday, the Liberals promised $45 million in funding for a music grant program, designed to help professional musicians. The money would be spread out over three years and would help with distribution as well as music promotion.

On Tuesday, they announced a 15 per cent reduction in auto insurance premiums. Howarth had been pushing for the rate drop, but refused to say outright that she would automatically support Thursday’s budget.

“You have a couple choices in a minority Parliament as a political party that’s not the government: you either walk away and wait it out and cause trouble until the next election comes, or you roll up your sleeves and try to get results for people. We choose the latter path,” Horwath said.

The Liberals have also responded to the NDP’s call for job opportunities for young people and home care guarantees for seniors. The government recently announced a youth job strategy and investments in home and community care.