Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
OPINION Duncan running on empty
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 2 Mar 2007, p. 6

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While Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan may not be losing any sleep over the province's temporary gasoline shortage, a cavalier remark he made during a recent television interview likely did little to satisfy consumers on the verge of panic. During a Tuesday news report on the shortage of gasoline at some Ontario gas stations, Duncan responded to a question about the seriousness of the shortage by saying: "So? So? Did everyone get gas? So what?" So what? If the energy minister can't get his head around how the image of closed gas stations might raise concern among consumers, perhaps Premier Dalton McGuinty needs to ask himself if Duncan offers the right approach for the job. If the province's energy minister feels it's no big deal for consumers to live with the uncertainty of the availability of gasoline-- in some smaller Ontario communities the local supply has reportedly run dry-- he needs to get his head out of the oil sands. So what? Until alternate `green' fuel sources become more universally viable or provincial and federal governments commit funding for a seamless GTA public transit system, gasoline remains the lifeblood of Ontario's economy. Without it people can't get to work, consumer products can't get to market and Ontario's economic engine would simply grind to a halt. While the premier has taken the right approach by requesting that Ontarians remain calm, the energy minister's flippant remark gives the impression he is either unaware or dismissive of an even greater fuel crisis on the horizon. The recent shortage shines a light on a North American oil refining industry that is losing the struggle to meet demand. One industry spokesperson noted construction of new refineries has not been able to keep pace with an ever-growing demand, not to mention the fact they are nearly impossible to get built in Canada due to changing environmental attitudes. While Dwight Duncan offers a so what?, we would respectfully offer a question back to him-- What is he and the Liberal government doing to lessen Ontario's dependency on gasoline?

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2 Mar 2007
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Duncan, Dwight
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OPINION Duncan running on empty