The Liberals say the investigation is focused on David Livingston, chief of staff to former premier Dalton McGuinty.
TORONTO — The opposition parties jumped on a report that the Ontario Provincial Police served a court order at Queen’s Park as part of an investigation into the alleged cover-up of the Liberal government’s decision to cancel two gas plants, which could cost taxpayers $1.1 billion.
The Ottawa Citizen reported the OPP anti-rackets squad served a court order requiring legislature staff to hand over records relevant to the deletion of emails and wiping of computer hard drives in the premier’s office related to the cancellation of the gas plants prior to the 2011 election.
Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the Liberals issued a statement saying the investigation is focused on David Livingston, chief of staff to former premier Dalton McGuinty, not Premier Kathleen Wynne or her office.
“The OPP is conducting its investigation into allegations against the former premier’s chief of staff and is doing so in a completely independent manner,”said Liberal campaign spokesperson Rebecca MacKenzie. “No ministers, MPPs or political staff are captured by this (court) order.”
The Citizen also reported that investigators interviewed McGuinty in April, which the Liberals noted the police had said publicly they were going to do and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
Progressive Conservative energy critic Lisa MacLeod said the Tories would call a judicial inquiry into the scandal surrounding the cancellation of the Oakville and Mississauga gas plants if they win the June 12 election.
“It is clear that the Liberals will go to any lengths to hide the truth from the taxpayers of Ontario,” MacLeod said in a statement.
Wynne can’t “run from the Liberal record of corruption anymore,” said NDP house leader Gilles Bisson.
“Armed police knocking on the doors of Queen’s Park is a clear sign the Liberals have to go,” he said.
Wynne has apologized repeatedly for what she admits was “a breach of trust” with taxpayers and a waste of money when the Liberals made a “partisan” decision to cancel the gas plants, one of them just days before the 2011 election. The Tories and NDP called the cancellations an expensive Liberal seat saver program for the suburbs west of Toronto.
The Liberal leader has promised that if re-elected, she will re-establish the legislative committee that had been investigating the gas plants scandal but was shut down without producing a report when she asked Lt. Gov. David Onley to dissolve the legislature May 2 and call the election.
A lawyer for Livingston has said his client didn’t break any laws.
Less than two hours after the Citizen’s exclusive report was posted online, the Conservatives were using it as the basis for a fundraising letter.
“This proves what Tim Hudak has been saying all along. We need a judicial inquiry to get to the bottom of this scandal, and a team that will take steps to ensure this never happens again,” said the missive signed by the Ontario PC Party. “Donate $50 now to support Tim Hudak and his fight to ensure this type of scandal never happens again.”
© 2014 The Canadian Press