MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak returned to the site of one of two cancelled gas plants Saturday to accuse Premier Kathleen Wynne of abandoning her principles by failing to oppose the decision to scrap the energy projects to save Liberal seats.
Hudak stood in front of the would-be plant in Mississauga to mark the one-year anniversary of Ontario Provincial Police launching a criminal investigation into the cancellations, which are estimated to cost up to $1.1 billion.
He said that while Wynne, by her own account, entered politics to help people, she betrayed those beliefs by being part of her predecessor’s cabinet decision to nix the two projects prior to the 2011 election to help win nearby ridings.
“She faced a pivotal choice when Dalton McGuinty put in front of her a document to put a billion dollars into that hole behind me,” Hudak said before a backdrop of the remaining rubble from the half-built facility.
“She should have said no. She said yes. And that tells me now she’s more about helping herself and helping the Liberals than helping you.”
Hudak is calling on Wynne to release all documents related to the decision, and is pledging to launch a judicial inquiry into the matter if he is elected, regardless of whether he gets a majority or a minority.
It was revealed this week that the OPP are seeking additional documents from legislative – not political – staff, and though Wynne has said she has no control over that process and is co-operating with the investigation, Hudak said an inquiry is needed to get “full answers for taxpayers.”
“The sad reality is that the cover-up continues,’ he said, referring to the alleged deletion of documents related to the killing of the plants.
The documents being sought by police include visitor logs from the days before Wynne took office, and the Tories are questioning whether her transition team is linked in any way to the requested records.
To that the Liberals had a quick rejoinder, insisting that Wynne’s transition staff are not included in the court order.
IN DEPTH: Ontario Election 2014
Campaigning in Waterdown, Wynne said she has accepted responsibility for the gas-plants fiasco and put measures in place to prevent a recurrence.
And she shot back at Hudak, calling him “desperate” and saying he’s scandal-mongering to deflect attention from his proposals, such as cutting 100,000 public sector jobs.
“They want to stir up controversy and they want to make sure that we don’t focus on what he’s going to do.”
Hudak, who had supported scrapping the Mississauga and Oakville projects, told reporters that if he had been in government the Mississauga location would have never been short-listed as a potential site.
The Ontario election is on Thursday.
© The Canadian Press, 2014