Today’s story in the Globe and Mail proclaiming the end of the dream of new reactors at the Darlington nuclear plant came as no surprise to me. It is a shame, but not a surprise. Especially in light of yesterday’s gas plant cost dollar figure of $1.1 billion. The incumbent Liberals, barely hanging on in a minority legislature, need the NDP today more than ever. The official opposition, the PCs, will not support the Liberals on anything, and want an election as soon as possible. I have said before that the PCs could conceivably win power without any 416 seats. You could argue that point, and I would be happy to debate it. But there is no way the Liberals can win again if they lose any more 416 seats. And the party most likely to take 416 seats away is the NDP. Suddenly, it is critical that the Liberals keep the NDP on their side in postponing an election.
Keeping that in mind, today’s Globe piece might well be a trial balloon to gauge NDP reaction. The NDP are ideologically and doctrinally anti-nuclear, which is an odd position for a party that says it stands for working people. Nuclear, as I have pointed out before, produces cheap, reliable electricity—the kind that brings single working mothers to and from work every day on the subway. Why the NDP would eschew cheap union-generated nuclear for expensive foreign-owned wind electricity is beyond me: wind cannot possibly power the Toronto subway, much less affordably. But lots of things are beyond me.
The NDP were officially outraged over the $1.1 gas plant cancellation cost. It is beside the point that if they had been making the decisions at Queen’s Park over the past while they would have wound up in the exact same position: they support wind and oppose nuclear, which means they support gas (in spite of its extremely high carbon content).
Will the Liberal sacrifice of a giant-size zero-carbon electricity plant mollify the dippers?
Whether the answer is yes or no, one thing is clear. The nuclear industry should be putting its case in the 416. Public opinion matters in the nuclear game.