McGuinty’s going to court again! I hear you ask, “Gas plants?” No! “Email deletion?” That was last week! This time around, a man named T. Boone Pickens, a Texan energy baron that could be out of a cartoon, is alleging that the Ontario government changed the laws to prevent his company, Mesa Power, from properly bidding on the contract to build all those wind turbines currently ruining the Ontario countryside and indiscriminately killing fowl.
This actually isn’t the first time McGuinty’s been accused of favouritism. He was pronounced Mc-Guilty by the World Trade Organization (WTO) last year after discriminating against foreign-owned firms (and violating trade agreements) based on the exact provisions for which Mesa is now seeking damages.
At the heart of this maze of scandal and deceit is the Ontario Green Energy Act (GEA). In 2011, several changes were made to the GEA that Mesa Powers alleges allowed NextEra, another multinational firm, to win over $2 billion in contracts. Where things get interesting is that NextEra’s lobbyist to the Ontario government was formerly a staffer in McGuinty’s office. So a former McGuinty staffer was at a company that somehow magically got multiple hugely lucrative contracts very easily. Mesa Power, on the other hand, did not invest in former Liberal staffers, so they lost out. Could totally be a coincidence (other than that WTO ruling), right?
Worse, the briefing alleges that NextEra “met with former McGuinty aides Jamison Steeve and Sean Mullin in October, 2010.” Y’know, the guys who ran the gas-plant cancellation negotiations. If you thought that this could all be totally innocent before, the shady characters from gas-plant-scandal-land being involved definitely adds a layer of
corruption complexity to the whole situation.
So, a McGuinty staffer representing a firm liased with McGuinty staffers known for creative accounting, and the firm got $2 billion out of it. It’s not looking good, and Mesa Power may just win the suit. A decision is only expected to be rendered in the fall, so this is not likely to affect this Thursday’s race, but if Mesa wins, then Ontario taxpayers will be on the hook for the $693 million in damages sought by Pickens.
I guess the only worse alternative is for the existing wind turbines to be cancelled, though hopefully Wynne won’t lie about that cost.