Toronto

McGuinty demands 'equal treatment' from Ottawa

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has waded into the federal election campaign after demanding that Ottawa subsidize the province's massive electricity infrastructure upgrade.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has waded into the federal election campaign after demanding that Ottawa subsidize the province's massive electricity infrastructure upgrade.

McGuinty's comments come after the Conservatives promised last week to guarantee a $4.2-billion dollar loan for the massive Lower Churchill hydroelectric project in Labrador.

In making the announcement last week, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper left open the possibility of assistance for other projects throughout the country, an attempt to head off charges Newfoundland was getting preferential treatment.

However, that vague pledge was not enough for McGuinty, who said the federal parties need to treat Ontario fairly because he says 40 per cent of federal tax dollars come from Ontario.

"So when Prime Minister Harper pledges specific aid to another part of Canada for a specific multi-billion project, 40 per cent of that money is coming from Ontarians," McGuinty told reporters Monday. "When it comes to support from the federal government for energy projects, Ontario is looking for equal treatment."

McGuinty's comments come three days after Quebec Premier Jean Charest slammed the Conservatives for the pledge, which he considers electioneering.

Ontario is implementing a 20-year $87-billion program to upgrade its energy infrastructure. That includes $33 billion in investments by government and the private sector to build two new nuclear reactors at Darlington and to refurbish 10 older units.

McGuinty didn't put a dollar figure on what he wants from Ottawa, but says he'll be putting the issue to all the federal leaders.

He said Ottawa has been pretty good at supporting the oil and gas sector in western Canada too, so he wants to see Ontario get its fair share.

With files from The Canadian Press

now