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Gas Plant Scandal - What are the Liberals hiding?

(March 4, 2013) I've previously written about the Oakville and Mississauga gas plant scandal: Millions of tax payer dollars blown in the heat of the 2011 election campaign to cancel gas plants to save the seats of three area Liberal candidates. It is a disgusting abuse of power and quite frankly shows a complete disregard for how tax dollars should be spent. No political campaign team can make decisions for a government and especially when it involves wasting $1.3 billion of taxpayer money to do so. It's wrong every way you look at it. And, the Liberals have gone to great lengths to avoid accountability into the mess.

Just look at the facts.

In October, the Liberals shut down (prorogued) the Ontario Legislature to avoid a contempt motion and hearings into the cancelled gas plants. Since May they have knowingly withheld thousands of documents that were ordered by the Speaker of the House--a contravention of the Legislative Assembly Act. And, since September they have implicated themselves in a cover-up by repeatedly making claims in the House that all documents have been released.

Some of their actions are plain and simply against the law, and with the house now back, the saga is continuing.

Ontario Power Authority (OPA) CEO Colin Andersen and Chairperson Jim Hinds recently admitted that the government has been hiding documents since November that were missing from those tabled on September 24th and October 12th, 2012.

Further, we have new evidence from a leaked memo that confirms staff at the OPA had been instructed by a former Liberal political staffer to withhold certain documents and redact or whiteout others.

And we know that there are still documents missing. We don't have any correspondence between OPA officials and staff in the Premier's office and we have yet to see any emails or correspondence from the Premier or the Minister of Energy. Given that both Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne have admitted that the cancellation of the gas plants was a political decision made by the Liberal Party during the 2011 campaign, it is strange that there are no documents or emails or letters from any politician, Premier or Minister of Energy about this political decision.

It is shameful behaviour even for the Liberals who are also to blame for a collection of other scandals--most notably eHealth, Ornge and the doubling of our debt to name a few. These various scandals have been swept under the rug by this government--first Premier McGuinty and now Premier Wynne--with no penalty or consequence for those responsible.

In fact, Premier Wynne's response to the power plant scandal has been to promote those most involved, including Ontario's new Finance Minister Charles Sousa who was directly involved in the scandal and whose seat was saved with the cancellation of the Mississauga gas plant.

Taxpayers deserve to know the truth-who ordered the cancellations, and most importantly, who is trying to cover them up. The McGuinty-Wynne government had no right to make such a significant decision during an election. In fact, it goes against the whole Westminster system of government that is the basis of our parliamentary democracy.

We need to get to the bottom of this and that is why Tim Hudak has committed to calling a judicial inquiry into the gas plant scandal should we form the government.

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