Conservatives urge OPP to probe deleted gas plant emails
Ontario Progressive Conservatives are calling on the cops to investigate the “theft” of public information on e-mails deleted by senior Liberal political staff.
Tory MPP Vic Fedeli and his caucus colleague, MPP Rob Leone, wrote to OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis asking that police follow up on a finding by Information and Privacy Commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian that concluded laws were broken when chiefs of staff for the former energy minister and former premier Dalton McGuinty destroyed e-mails that could have explained the $585 million cancellation of two gas plants.
In a highly critical report, Cavoukian found that the actions violated the Archives and Recordkeeping Act (ARA) and that it strained credulity to believe that the wiping out of e-mails was innocent.
“(The) report from the privacy commissioner demonstrated that the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals will do whatever it takes to avoid accountability including destroying documents and breaking the law,” Fedeli said. “It is quite frightening that the Liberals have no problem destroying government documents to hide the truth from Ontario taxpayers.
“I can only imagine what they’re deleting and destroying as we’re sitting here now,” Fedeli said during a media conference Thursday.
Fedeli said the report reveals a “cover up” by the Ontario Liberals to hide from the public a plan to save Liberal seats by cancelling the plants, and he argued it has continued under Wynne’s time with revelations that personal e-mail accounts were used for government business.
Liberal House Leader John Milloy said the PCs are free to call whoever they like.
“I think what the (Cavoukian) report brought to light is the fact that there are some weaknesses in the current law,” Milloy said.
The minister said the government intends to look at strengthening the ARA, including adding penalties which the legislation does not currently provide.
Fedeli said senior political staff put government material an a USB disk — information that could have explained the decision to cancel gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville — and removed it from Queen’s Park.
“They stole that material from the taxpayers, and the government, and they should be charged with theft,” he said. “As in all scandals, whether it’s Watergate, and all others, the lie becomes almost bigger than the original sin. Well, now in this case the original sin is, you know, $585 million of taxpayers’ money, so that’s a pretty big sin to get over.”