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Dismiss OPA Chair John Beck over conflict of interest: Hampton

Attention News Editors:

TORONTO, Aug. 15 /CNW/ - NDP Leader Howard Hampton is calling for John Beck's immediate dismissal as Chair of the Ontario Power Authority and says his appointment is more proof that Dalton McGuinty is putting private interests and nuclear power ahead of working families and Ontario's environment.

"Dalton McGuinty has put a person with a vested interest in more nuclear power in charge of decisions about Ontario's energy future that will have a huge impact on today's working families. It's a blatant conflict of interest.

The fox is guarding the chickens. Beck has got to go," Hampton said.

Today's Toronto Star reveals that John Beck, the CEO of Aecon Group Inc, was quietly appointed chairman of the Ontario Power Authority - the government body that procures electricity generation and develops Ontario's energy plans.

Aecon is an active participant in Ontario's energy market - a fact Beck himself noted on June 19, 2007 when he told Aecon shareholders, "We have a hand in building, expanding and maintaining virtually every form of power generating facility used in the province - from the early hydro facilities to natural gas and co-generation plants, to the Bruce Nuclear facility."

Contrary to McGuinty Government claims, Ontario's NDP has been raising concerns about Beck since he was first appointed to the OPA board. On December 7, 2005, Hampton asked McGuinty in the Legislature, "Can you explain how the chief executive officer of a company with such an obvious vested interest in the expansion of nuclear power qualifies as an independent, impartial member of an organization charting Ontario's future electricity course?"

SOURCE: http://hansardindex.ontla.on.ca/hansardespeaker/38-2/l030a- 727.html

This is not the first questionable appointment made to the Power Authority, McGuinty has also installed former Liberal fundraiser Jan Carr as CEO when he established the body in 2005.

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