Tories call on McGuinty to testify over cancelled gas plants

PC house leader Jim Wilson says they want top Liberals "to show up and stop the cover-up.''

TORONTO—The Opposition is demanding Premier Dalton McGuinty appear before a committee to testify about the Liberals’ decision to cancel power plants in Oakville and Mississauga.

After twice refusing to testify at a committee about the scandal at troubled Ornge air ambulance service, McGuinty is strongly hinting he will not agree to testify about cancelling the gas plants either.

The Conservatives want McGuinty, his current and former energy ministers, and key Liberal strategists to face questions about the decision to cancel the gas plants, which cost taxpayers at least $230 million.

PC house leader Jim Wilson says they want top elected and unelected Liberals “to show up and stop the cover-up.”

McGuinty says he supports the efforts of the committee to investigate the cancellation of the gas plants, which the opposition parties say cost closer to $640 million.

However, the premier says he disagrees with the move by the Tories and NDP to pursue what he calls a “vendetta” against Energy Minister Chris Bentley by trying to have him declared in contempt of Parliament.

“We are very much supportive of any effort on the part of the committee to take a look at the issues related to the relocation of the gas plants, and in particular insofar as production of the documents are concerned,” McGuinty told reporters. “But I fundamentally disagree with the efforts on the part of the majority opposition to pursue, in an unreasonable way, a vendetta against Chris Bentley with their contempt motion.”

The opposition parties combined this week to out-vote the minority Liberals and send the gas plants issue and the contempt motion to the finance committee for hearings.

The Conservatives sent the Liberals a letter Thursday listing 16 senior government officials and advisers they want to see appear at committee, including McGuinty’s former chief of staff, Don Guy.

“It’s time the Liberals stopped hiding the truth about their ongoing, reckless waste of taxpayers’ money,” said Wilson.

The committee will make its recommendation next month, but only a vote of the full legislature could find Bentley in contempt, something that’s never happened to an Ontario MPP.

©The Canadian Press