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The Auditor-General of Ontario has released her report on the provincial Liberal government’s brazenly political decision to cancel two gas-fired power plants. Her estimate of the ultimate cost: about $1.1-billion, potentially reaching $1.5-billion.
This obscenity of mismanagement and prevarication came out of Duplicitous Dalton, Inc., a.k.a. the McGuinty government, an administration we now know was, politically, so venal as to toss perhaps as much as a billion and a half taxpayer dollars into the devouring — but politically favourable — wind.
D.D., Inc. even had the brass to insist, originally, that the cost to cancel just the Oakville, Ont., plant was only $40-million. The Auditor-General this week, after a cautionary distribution of Gravol tablets to the assembled press, offered a more altitudinous range of $675-million to $810-million — 15 to 20 times as much! And from the very beginning of the noxious affair, to any question the Liberal response was delay, obfuscate, stone-wall, delete emails, deny said deletions, miraculously locate the not-so-deleted emails, and, of course, insult and hector any and all critics.
Let there be no more “used car salesmen” jokes about political leaders. Used car salesmen are pillars of candour and conscience compared to this lot.
They knew $40-million was a joke estimate from the moment they scrambled to “buy” the votes by scrapping the plant — in other words, from the moment they chose to buy a couple of ridings by ripping up contracts, costs be damned.
Brave enough to do the deed, yes — but gutless to admit it. When poor Dalton, at a later period, was questioned, he offered the most smug prevarication ever to shimmy past the thin lips of a meretricious politician: “It’s never too late to do the right thing.” This had the philosophical wallop of a ball of lint, hand-picked from the great lint farms at Stupid Hollow. It’s corollary, by the way, is “It’s never too early to do the wrong thing.”
Put a few more of these together and Dalton has the makings of a book that will outsell Gladwell: Manhattan Bridges, Florida Swampland and those Awkward Gas Plants: A Seller’s Manual, Containing all the Best One-Liners For Use When the Jig is Up.
And where is McGuinty now that the whirring blades have swished through the fertilizer? At Harvard, offering wisdom to the unwary and uneducated, neatly out of the country and out of range. When politicians make cataclysmically bad decisions, they never fail to end up in some bolthole of a fat-pay think tank or on the faculty of name universities, and Dalton proved no exception. It’s like some witness-protection program for the well-connected.
For the rest of this column, click here: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/10/12/rex-murphy-duplicitous-dalton-inc/