BLIZZARD

Stench of Liberal cover-up hard for even NDP to ignore

By Christina Blizzard, Special to the Sun

Kathleen Wynne with Dalton McGuinty after being announced the next premier of Ontario on the third ballot at the Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013. (Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun)

Kathleen Wynne with Dalton McGuinty after being announced the next premier of Ontario on the third ballot at the Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013. (Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

Paging Andrea Horwath. Paging Andrea Horwath.

Where are you, Ms. Horwath? Your province needs you.

The New Democratic leader was nowhere to be seen at Queen’s Park Thursday, in the wake of Information and Privacy Commisioner Ann Cavoukian’s scathing report on how senior staff in former Premier Dalton McGuinty and former Energy Minister Chris Bentley’s offices deleted their entire e-mail inbox before quitting Queen’s Park.

Now two Tory MPPs, Vic Fedeli and Rob Leone are asking the OPP to probe whether there was a “theft of government property,” associated with those deletions.

But it’s Horwath’s silence that’s raising most questions.

Why is she continuing to prop up a government that has, time and again, betrayed the people’s trust?

The only way to defeat a government provincially is on a money bill. There’s still a budget vote to come. If Horwath is as truly outraged as she professes to be about the deleted e-mails, she’d vote to get rid of this scandal-plagued government. If she doesn’t, she risks being tainted by it.

It’s her last opportunity for a year to bring down the government.

The more this sorry tale of cover-up and collusion rolls out, the more you hear the W word.

Watergate.

It’s not so much the original offence that brings down the government, it’s the cover-up.

I’ve no idea what’s in those e-mails, nor can I speculate. But the very fact that they were deleted leaves me to believe there was something incriminating in them.

They could have been benign. Now they’re gone, we’ll never know.

We’ll just imagine the worst case scenario.

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s ploy is to blame it on McGuinty.

“Those were decisions that were made by other people in other conversations and I wasn’t part of those conversations,” she told reporters Thursday.

Well, nice try, but it doesn’t work like that. Former Tory Premier Ernie Eves was held to account for everything his predecessor, Premier Mike Harris did. Why? Because he was part of that government.

Just as Wynne was an intrinsic part of the McGuinty government.

She praised McGuinty to the highest heavens when she was running for the leadership.

She can’t shrug off that legacy now.

Let me remind you of what Cavoukian’s report says: First, regarding Craig MacLennan, chief of staff to two energy ministers, who deleted e-mails because, he said, he liked a “clean inbox.”

  • “The fact that any member of a minister’s political staff would think it appropriate to delete all e-mail records, without exercising any judgment regarding the content of those records and the possible need to retain them pursuant to the applicable retention schedules is, quite frankly, unbelievable. It is also a matter of great concern.”

Cavoukian reports that in January 2013, after the former premier’s resignation, McGuinty’s chief of staff David Livingstone approached the secretary of cabinet to ask him for administrative computer passwords, and instructions, “how to wipe clean the hard drives in the premier’s office.”

This alarmed the secretary of cabinet.

 

  • “He responded to the inquiry by stating that if the former premier’s staff were considering deleting any records, they needed to first consider their legal obligations regarding the requirement to produce records in legal proceedings and the requirement to preserve records under the Archives of Records Act,” Cavoukian reported.

I agree we need a criminal probe, but I’m not sure the OPP is the right force to investigate. The government appoints the commissioner, so it puts them in an awkward position. Heck, we’re still waiting for the results of their Ornge investigation.

Doesn’t look as if that was at the top of their to-do list.

Perhaps we should call in the RCMP.

Still, this has the makings of a great movie: All the Premier’s Men. Or women.

Andrea Horwath will play herself. Or if we still can’t find her, she can be the Invisible Woman.

 


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