TORONTO – A police investigation into an alleged cover-up in Ontario’s gas plant scandal moved into Queen’s Park Thursday when Ontario Provincial Police sought documents from staff at the province’s legislature.
“The OPP can confirm that we obtained a production order from the court in Ottawa for certain documents in relation to the ongoing investigation which began last June,” said OPP Sgt. Pierre Chamberland. “And that documentation was served to employees at the Ontario legislature.”
Chamberland says the order gives staff at Queen’s Park up to 10 days to provide the documentation police say they need in their ongoing investigation. The OPP also confirmed investigators with the anti-rackets unit interviewed former Premier Dalton McGuinty in April.
The OPP say there’s no political motivation behind the new revelations
“The timing is exclusively part of the ongoing OPP investigation and should be viewed in that light,” said Sgt. Chamberland.
But the timing could hardly be worse for embattled Premier Kathleen Wynne, who’s struggling to keep the years-old fallout from cancelled gas plants out of the public psyche leading up to Ontario’s June 12 election next week.
Investigators are trying to determine if anyone ordered the destruction of emails in an attempt to hide the ballooning costs of cancelling gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville, which is estimated to cost taxpayers up to $1.1 billion.
The scandal, borne from unpopular gas plants McGuinty cancelled mid-campaign in 2011 has plagued the Liberals ever since. While Wynne has apologized repeatedly and said the way they were cancelled was a mistake, and sought to distance herself from a decision she said was not hers to make, her opponents have repeatedly asked Wynne why she, as a then-member of McGuinty’s cabinet, didn’t do more at the time.
“Armed police knocking on the doors of Queen’s Park is a clear sign the Liberals have to go. It is time for change, it is time to clean up Queen’s Park,” said Ontario NDP co-chair Gilles Bisson in a statement.
PC Lisa MacLeod, whom Wynne is suing over allegations Wynne was involved in the destruction of emails, said in a statement, “it’s clear that the public can’t trust Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals. The only way to get to the bottom of this scandal is through a Judicial Inquiry under a new government.”
Wynne, who won the Liberal leadership race Jan. 26 2013, says she’s since cleaned house and has maintained that she knew nothing about the alleged computer tampering.
“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. We had no prior knowledge of the filing or of today’s disclosure,” the Liberal Party said in a statement Thursday evening.
The statement also noted that the OPP’s “order seeks Legislative Assembly visitor logs four days prior to Premier Wynne’s swearing-in. No Ministers, MPPs, or political staff are captured by this Order.”
Police have alleged McGuinty’s former chief of staff, David Livingston, used outside tech consultant Peter Faist to erase hard drives in the premier’s office using a secretary’s password to access the computers.
The OPP have alleged Peter Faist, the boyfriend of former deputy chief of staff Laura Miller, tampered with at least two computers in early February 2013 using her password.
None of the allegations has been tested in court.
*With files from Alan Carter
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