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BLIZZARD

Deleted emails will be McGuinty's legacy

By Christina Blizzard, Special to the Sun

Premier Dalton McGuinty (QMI Agency files)

Premier Dalton McGuinty (QMI Agency files)

TORONTO - 

Richard Nixon had Watergate.

Dalton McGuinty had the deleted emails.

As if a $1.1-billion web of shoddy deal-making, partisan politicking and shamelessly inept handling of public money weren’t enough.

We also discovered the attempt to cover up the deals was worse.

As the gas plant scandal dragged through the legislature’s justice committee, New Democratic Energy Critic Peter Tabuns demanded to know why there were no emails from key players in McGuinty’s office.

He appealed to Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian to probe the mysterious disappearance.

Her report was scathing.

Bentley’s chief of staff, Craig MacLennan, testified he’d deleted emails on an onging basis.

In addition to MacLennan, McGuinty senior staffers Chris Morley, Jamieson Steeve, Sean Mullin and David Livingston had all deleted their emails, Cavoukian found.

“The fact that any member of a minister’s political staff would think it appropriate to delete all email 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 said.

Tabuns told me last week the lack of correspondence was a warning signal for him.

“They were very systematic in making sure there was no record of what really went on with the inner discussions on this. When I found out the reasons we didn’t get anything from the chief of staff of the minister of energy, that was like a giant red flag going up,” he said.

That’s why he called in Cavoukian.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said it’s “very legitimate criticism” but said that while the public should be concerned, 160,000 documents and 30,000 pages from the premier’s office and thousands of other emails were made public.

“There was no earth-shattering conspiracy going on,” said Chiarelli. “Where are the smoking guns in over 160,000 documents?

“It may have showed some bad judgment in negotiations. We will agree with that. We have taken responsibilty for that, “ he added. “The premier has apologized for that.”

Oh well, that’s OK then.


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