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Premier Kathleen Wynne apologizes for gas-plant fiasco

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

TORONTO - 

After resisting calls for a full apology over the $585-million gas plant fiasco for months, Premier Kathleen Wynne is now saying “sorry” — over and over again.

“I said that I’m very sorry — I’m sorry about the decisions that were made, I’m sorry about the mistakes that the government made in locating the gas plants in the places that we did in the first place, and I’m sorry that it cost so much money, so many public dollars, to relocate them,” Wynne said Wednesday. “Those are the things that I’ve apologized for.”

The provincial Liberal government’s decision to cancel signed contracts for gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville has cost Ontarians at least $585 million.

Wynne had previously expressed “regret” for what occurred but said it had become clear that people expected a full apology from her as premier.

She apologized about a dozen times on TVO’s The Agenda aired Tuesday night alone.

“I think in the venacular what regret is is slightly more distance from taking personal responsibility,” Wynne said. “I think that sorry and an apology takes a more personal responsibility.”

The decision to apologize first to the public broadcaster TVO did not go over well with opposition parties.

Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod said MPPs in the legislature and on a government committee investigating the gas plant decisions have sought a full apology for Ontarians.

“Only (Tuesday) night when you decided to seek absolution from a taxpayer-funded journalist, did you offer that,” MacLeod said, referring to the publicly-funded TVO. “Did your apology for the Liberal seat-saving plan that cost Ontario families hundreds of millions of dollars for thwarting democracy, include saying sorry for co-chairing the Liberal campaign team that made the crass political decision to cost taxpayer dollars?”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it would have been more appropriate to apologize in the legislature before the MPPs and people of Ontario.

“The premier made her decision where to apologize but I believe it would have been probably much more well received by the public had she done it here in the legislature,” she said.

Wynne said she apologized, in part, so that people would begin to know who she is and what she stands for — a difficult task in such a large province.

The Ontario Tories have been attempting to get a non-confidence motion on the issue of the gas plants — which, if successful, would force a provincial election — but the Liberals and New Democrats dismissed it as irrelevant and a stunt.

The first non-confidence motion will likely be at the end of May on the budget.

 

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