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Duncan admits Liberals cancelled Ontario gas plant when behind in polls

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan is scrummed by the media after the 2012 provincial budget vote at Queen's Park in Toronto on April 24, 2012.

Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A senior cabinet minister admits the Liberals decided to cancel a power plant under construction in Mississauga when they were behind in the polls, just days before last fall's election.

Opposition party members are grilling Finance Minister Dwight Duncan about the Liberals' campaign pledge to halt construction on the gas-fired plant.

Ontario taxpayers are on the hook for $190 million for scrapping the project and relocating it to the Sarnia area.

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The Conservatives and NDP say the gas plant was cancelled to save Liberal seats in the heavily-populated area just west of Toronto.

Mr. Duncan says it was a Liberal campaign team idea that was not discussed by cabinet until after the election.

New Democrat Gilles Bisson says the Liberals were irresponsible if they made a campaign promise without knowing how much it would cost.

Mr. Duncan also says opposition claims that the cost of cancelling another power station in neighbouring Oakville could hit $1 billion is "reckless."

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