Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty says the solar panel plant he visited earlier this week is a success, despite allegations from PC Tim Hudak the company is "an empty shell."
McGuinty's comments come two days after he visited Eclipsall Energy in Toronto to talk up his party's green energy intiatives. Company executives told the National Post the plant had temporarily stopped production because the company has gone through its current order book.
When asked by reporters if machines were started for show just for a photo opportunity, McGuinty replied Friday: "You'd have to speak to the folks there about that. All I know is that everybody was on the payroll and they went through their inventory faster than expected."
Responding to the controversy, Eclipsall CEO Les Lyster issued a statement Friday.
He said the plant is "a made-in-Ontario success story, part of a blossoming clean-energy technology sector."
His statement continues: "Eclipsall routinely adjusts production levels in response to the needs of our customers and our business plan. All employees remain on the payroll at these times. We were in production last Tuesday when Premier McGuinty visited the plant. And we anticipate ramping up production again next week.
"We currently have 85 employees and customers visiting and calling daily. Orders are coming in and we are proud of our international reputation for building quality products."
McGuinty, speaking at a media event at a wind power plant in Windsor, said the fact the company has gone through their inventory faster than they expected was "good news."
But he also blamed the Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats for "putting a bit of a chill" on the green enrgy sector. Both parties have been critical of the Liberals' green energy plans. The PCs have said they would scrap McGuinty's Green Energy Act.
"The opposition wants to stop this industry. They want to stop these jobs," McGuinty said.
The Liberal leader has been making frequent campaign stops at clean energy component plants to promote his jobs plan for the province.
PC Leader Tim Hudak said the episode shows McGuinty's push to green power is a "failed policy."
"Something has gone wrong here," said Hudak Friday at a media event in Toronto. "Dalton McGuinty promised families that he needed to increase their hydro bills a lot in order to create jobs constructing wind farms and solar panels. Now we find out those jobs aren't coming ... Dalton McGuinty's flagship company is actually an empty shell."
"So Dalton McGuinty has to answer this question: Families are paying more and more on their power bills that you say is going to create jobs, but the jobs aren't there."