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Schreiner asks his first question as solar projects in Guelph get canned

The newly-elected provincial government is cancelling 758 renewable energy projects across Ontario, including six in Guelph
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FILE PHOTO — Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday

During Tuesday's question period at Queen's Park, Guelph's Green Party MPP Mike Schreiner asked premier Doug Ford if the Ontario PC government had completed an economic impact study on the cost of eliminating the green energy programs and the cap and trade system of the previous Liberal government.

"Cancelling Ontairo's plan to price pollution without an alternative plan sends the wrong signal to clean economy investors and companies," said Schreiner, who is leader of the Green Party of Ontario, during question period.

Schreiner's question is the first ever asked by a Green Party MPP in the Ontario legislature.

On Monday, Ted Arnott, Speaker of the assembly, ruled that one of the eight  non-party-status MPPs — which includes Schreiner — will receive one question per day. As a result, Schreiner is expected to be allowed a question about once every two weeks while the Legislative Assembly is in session.

In total, six rooftop solar projects in Guelph are affected by the government's wind down announcement — four projects by Alectra and two by SP Wala LP. 

The provincial government said all of the 758 renewable energy projects that have been identified for wind-down or cancellation have not achieved their key development milestones.

Greg Rickford, Ontario's Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, said in a recent news release the cancellation of the 758 renewable energy projects will save the province $790 million.

"We clearly promised we would cancel these unnecessary and wasteful energy projects as part of our plan to cut hydro rates by 12 per cent for families, farmers and small businesses," said Rickford. "In the past few weeks, we have taken significant steps toward keeping that promise."

Rickford said Ontario families have been forced to pay inflated hydro prices so the previous Liberal government could spend on the renewable energy projects.

"Those days are over," said Rickford.

The provincial government's announcement of the cancellation of the projects is bad for business, said Schreiner.

He estimates 274,000 Canadians have jobs in the clean economy sector and said the cancelling of these projects puts those jobs in jeopardy.

"During the election, Premier Ford promised to put up an open for business sign. Clearly the only sign out right now says - in big letters - that Ontario is closed for business when it comes to the $7-trillion clean tech economy," said Schreiner in a news release about the cancellation of the projects.