Friday, December 30, 2005

More Harris Legacy

This story in the Thursday, December 29 Globe about charges against Ontario Power Generation had a paragraph that jumped out at me. The excerpt is longer to put it in context but I have put the relevant paragraph in italics:

“Along with two employees, OPG is charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing death and seven counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

The charges were laid in connection with a June, 2002, incident in which a rarely used gate at the Barrett Chute hydroelectric dam on the Madawaska River was opened to drain off excess water, engulfing a group of sunbathers in a surge of water that swept them over a 10-metre-high cliff and onto rocks below.

Homicide charges against a publicly owned utility appear to have no precedent in Canada, said Ontario Provincial Police Staff Inspector Ian Grant, who headed the exhaustive two-year criminal probe into the incident, which he terms "a very difficult investigation."

Moreover, the trial, which will be by a judge alone, is sure to focus on the decision-making process at Toronto-based OPG.

Employees have said that after the Mike Harris government's decision to deregulate the electricity market -- a move that took effect just weeks before the tragedy -- local control over dams such as Barrett Chute was transferred to a computerized dispatch system at head office.”

Could this be Walkerton 2? What should it tell us about what to expect from the former President of the National Citizens’ Coalition who now thinks he should be Prime Minister, so he can promote, among other things, privatization and deregulation?

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