Clock is Ticking: Liberals Delay Start of Gas Plant Investigation
10 October 2012
“Premier Dalton McGuinty balked at the idea of appearing before the finance committee to face questions about cancelling the energy projects.”
-The Canadian Press, October 5, 2012
QUEEN’S PARK – Over a week has passed since the Legislature voted in favour of investigating the McGuinty Liberals’ $650-million gas plant scandal, but the government continues to prevent the Committee responsible from immediately beginning its work, Cambridge Ontario PC MPP Rob Leone said today.
“Dalton McGuinty knows that if he begins the investigation immediately, the Committee will have more time to get to the bottom of this outrageous waste of taxpayer money,” Leone said. “He’s already made it clear he has no intent to testify about his involvement in the gas plant fiasco, and right now he’s preventing others from telling the truth by delaying the investigation.”
To begin the investigation, the government must formally re-strike the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, which would then look into the McGuinty Liberals’ refusal to release all documents on the cancelled Mississauga and Oakville gas plants, the true cost of the cancellations to taxpayers, and the extent of Liberal political interference on the matter.
The McGuinty Liberals have until October 25 to start the investigation, but are able to begin the proceedings earlier. The Committee must report back to the Legislature by November 19.
“The Ontario PCs have been clear with McGuinty: we have a long list of Liberal politicians and staffers who need to testify before the Committee. They need to come clean about who decided to cancel the gas plants and exactly what happened,” Leone continued. “Ontarians deserve a government that’s honest about its actions – not one that uses public funds to save a few seats during an election, and then tries to cover up its misdeeds.”
The level of political interference in this matter is staggering, Leone noted. Worse yet, the true cost of their decisions may be even higher than $650 million. According to one Ontario Power Authority briefing document, TransCanada rejected the “government-instructed” counter-offer of $712 million made in April 2011, indicating it would seek litigation.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions about this scandal, but one thing remains clear,” Leone concluded. “The Liberals can’t be trusted to manage Ontario’s energy system, and they certainly can’t be trusted to put Ontario back on track towards economic prosperity and job creation.”