Strobel

Gas plants scandal will linger despite Liberal win

By Mike Strobel, Toronto Sun

What must a party do to be defeated in Ontario — rob a bank? Kick a puppy? Back the Habs?

Ornge, eHealth, MaRS...

On and on. Scandals Are Us.

But if I were the Liberals, I wouldn’t gloat.

The trouble with gas is it lingers.

So don’t expect the gas plants scandal to disappear with the lawn signs and the nasty commercials and the surprising Liberal win.

Well, let’s hope not. You can’t mask a stench like that.

Dalton McGuinty, Kathleen Wynne and their merry band wasted $1.1 billion of our sweaty money cancelling two gas plants so as to hold key ridings in the west GTA in the 2011 election.

I think of that bunch — and Wynne was campaign co-chair — as the Committee to Re-elect the Premier (CREEP).

$1.1 BILLION! I can’t believe no one’s in jail — let alone back in power.

Ms. Wynne did not even try to deny the obvious.

“The public good was sacrificed to partisan interests,” she admitted during the TV debate.

Meanwhile, McGuinty seems to be hiding from the public, the OPP is asking questions, and inquiries enquire.

Most ominous, Queen’s Park staff have until Monday (four days AFTER the election!?) to produce records that may show how hard drives and e-mails in the premier’s office were wiped clean of the scandal.

Corruption 101: It’s usually the coverup that sinks you.

Those of us who remember the Beatles know that Watergate, mother of all scandals, rolled out this way — in sordid dribs and drabs over months.

Hit it, Tricky Dick: “I am not a crook!”

Sure, but Richard Nixon didn’t need to actually order the Watergate burglary to be a crook — that was the Committee to Re-elect the President’s brainstorm.

The conspiracy to hide the raid is what brought down the world’s most powerful man.

Too bad we don’t have Nixon-style tapes from Queen’s Park. I bet there were some juicy Liberal chats about the gas plants.

But I doubt any politician in the world bugs their own office these days. Not since Watergate.

Unbelievable election. Are we this forgiving? Or are Tim Hudak’s Tories that inept?

This election should have been over in the first 10 minutes of the leaders’ debate June 3, when Shiny Tim and NDPer Andrea Horwath cornered Wynne on why she signed a key document in the plant scandal.

“You had a choice!” hissed Horwath. “Why didn’t you just say ‘no?’” howled Hudak.

I actually felt sorry for Wynne. She wriggled like a bug on a pin. That should have done it. The Liberals gave Hudak a Watergate — and he gave them a big win?!

The Liberals this morning should be down to two seats — the ones that were spared gas plants.

But they’re not. Just the opposite.

So why didn’t the gas plant boondoggle blossom into Watergate? Why did we let the Liberals off the hook?

First, $1.1 billion is hard to get your head around. It’s easier to relate to pols and bureaucratics billing us for gum, or coffee, or Mardi Gras beads.

Second, there’s no sex. There was no sex in Watergate, either, despite Deep Throat. The Dalton gang did screw us — to use the obvious pun — but nothing spices up a scandal like a semen-stained blue dress or a gorgeous Russian spy.

If the Liberals had an orgy while playing politics with those gas plants — they’d be gonzo, pronto.

Third, there’s no snappy name. You yell “Watergate!” and everyone knows. Yell “Gas Plant!” and they think you’re asking for directions.

I’m surprised Gasgate never caught on, like Tunagate, the tainted fish scandal that bit Brian Mulroney, or Nipplegate, starring Janet Jackson’s bosom at the Super Bowl, or umpteen other scandals ending in -gate.

But, remember, when Nixon won a landslide re-election in 1972, Watergate was just beginning to make headlines. He didn’t last long.

That cloud of gas hovering over Queen’s Park isn’t going anywhere.

I hope the Tories and NDP are not so busy licking their wounds they let the Liberals get away with it.

Where’s Deep Throat when we need him?

Poll

Does the Liberal win mean the gas plant scandal will be swept under the rug?


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