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PCs slam Liberals over Ontario energy ads

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty speaks at the opening of a 44-turbine wind farm near Port Alma, Ontario, near the shores of Lake Erie Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008.

The Canadian Press/DAVE CHIDLEY/The Canadian Press/DAVE CHIDLEY

The Progressive Conservative party is lashing out at what it believes are taxpayer-funded ads that support the Liberals, taken out by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association.

The association, which has received millions of dollars in provincial funding, spent $200,000 on television ads touting the province's funding for the green energy sector.

Even though the group did not technically break a provincial rule banning partisan ads, the optics do not look good. However, Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty defended the group.

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"They're telling us they didn't use that money for those purposes, and I accept that," Mr. McGuinty told reporters at a campaign stop in Windsor on Friday. "We've got all kinds of organizations around the province that are committed to the democratic process that are getting involved in one way or another. I think that's a healthy thing."

The organization denies it is partisan, and said it wants to highlight ways the sector is growing.

"We would never tell Ontarians how to vote, but they need to know there are choices," said executive director Kristopher Stevens. "We are asking voters to consider the future of green energy in Ontario on Election Day."

The PC party issued a release Friday morning slamming the ads, saying: "While Ontario families are struggling to make ends meet because of Dalton McGuinty's tax grabs and skyrocketing hydro bills, today Ontario families learned they are also footing the bill for Dalton McGuinty to funnel millions to an organization – the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association – that is running ads in support of the Liberal's re-election campaign."

With a file from Karen Howlett in Windsor

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