In a microcosm of the entire election campaign, provincial leaders’ views are indistinguishable to the point of confusion on Mississauga power plant

In a microcosm of the entire election campaign, provincial leaders’ views are indistinguishable to the point of confusion on Mississauga power plant

(Images: Legislative Assembly of Ontario) 

Well, it seems the provincial election campaign has ended essentially the same way it started: with little to no excitement. The big news on the campaign trail yesterday centred on a Mississauga power plant (snooze), as Tim Hudak, according to the Toronto Sun, said in his final media scrum that if the Progressive Conservatives form the next government, construction of the gas-fired plant will be cancelled. Hudak offered that the plant is emblematic of Liberal waste, and it certainly doesn’t hurt the PC leader’s message that construction on the site continues even after Dalton McGuinty announced the plant would be closed (apparently, the Liberals intend to build it elsewhere).

The Globe and Mail, however, presented a slightly different take:

The Liberals cancelled the Mississauga gas-fired plant 11 days before the election, saying that nearby condo developments made the site unsuitable. Work has continued since the announcement, but both the Liberals and Conservatives vow to shut it down and build elsewhere should they win.

“This site symbolizes why we need change,” Mr. Hudak said as he stood in a parking lot overlooking the construction site. “More Dalton McGuinty broken promises are going to hit Ontario families in the pocket book. Friends, we need change.”

So the Sun suggests that Hudak would kill the plant completely, while the Globe reports that both Hudak and McGuinty would “build elsewhere.” We might assume that the Sun is equating moving the plant with cancelling the project altogether, but the story sets up Hudak’s cancellation plans against the Liberals’ plans to move the plant. So things certainly seem a bit muddled (although this much is clear—both leaders are opposed to the plant in its current state).

The interesting part about all this, however, is that the incident in many ways serves as a microcosm for the entire election campaign. The two leaders, sprinting alongside one another in the polls, made very similar promises, and when similar promises come from two leaders who don’t seem all that different to begin with, it can get difficult to keep track of who’s offering what. It’ll be a fizzle of a finish if this is the last we hear from the campaign trail today—but at least Hudak’s not busy printing off more flyers.

Hudak taxes another stab at Liberals over Mississauga power plant [Toronto Star]
Tories would cancel gas-powered electricity plant: Hudak [Toronto Sun]
Hudak uses Ontario power plant to blast McGuinty’s ‘broken promises’ [Globe and Mail]