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MPP not holding her tongue; Thompson takes on energy minister

Rookie Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson has delivered a bold ultimatum to Ontario’s energy minister – shape up or ship out.

The deputy energy critic for the Official Opposition recently stood in Question Period to slam veteran Minister Chris Bentley for the Liberal government’s failed “energy nightmare,” saying if he cannot handle his file he should step aside.

“I wear my heart on my sleeve and in my portfolio, with responsibility around green energy, I just am so concerned about the direction we’re heading,” Thompson said in an interview. “I felt very comfortable and very well positioned to say that very thing.”

Thompson has been a vocal critic of the province’s Green Energy Act, wind turbine policies and Feed-in Tariff program. Her first private member’s bill as a Progressive Conservative MPP called for a moratorium on wind turbine developments until health and environmental impacts are properly studied. The motion was defeated.

The Teeswater resident said two massive lawsuits have been filed this month against the McGuinty government related to its “failed energy policies.”

A $1-billion lawsuit was launched by SouthPoint Wind in response to the province’s decision to slap a moratorium on offshore wind developments. A $300-million suit was filed against the province for cancelling a natural gas plant project in Mississauga.

“Minister, the proverbial blades are falling off here,” Thompson told Bentley in the Ontario Legislature.

“How much can we expect next week’s lawsuit to be? Minister, can you tell us, the taxpayers of Ontario, how much this is going to cost and who’s going to be footing the bill?”

Bentley, according to a Hansard transcript, responded by saying he thought the PCs opposed offshore wind developments and the Mississauga power plant.

Thompson said Bentley “needs to admit that this energy nightmare has failed.”

The Liberal government says its green energy policies are creating jobs and a more reliable, cleaner energy system. It also says wind turbines have no direct impact on human health.

Thompson, in an interview, said there are turbine companies going bankrupt and countries that once supported wind energy are getting out of it.

She singled out WindTronics, the turbine manufacturer that received $2.7 million in government grants with the promise of creating 200 jobs, that recently announced it was relocating its plant from Windsor to Michigan due to the failings of the FIT program. Only 50 jobs were created at the height of the company’s success, she said.

“Identifying green energy as a good investment and a generator of jobs just isn’t being proven by this minister or this government,” she said.

Thompson said the “province is broke” and the only place the government can turn for money to offset the cost of its energy policies is taxpayers.

“Our (electricity) bills are not going anywhere but up and we’re carrying the brunt for a lot of poor investments and bad decisions,” she said.