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Liberals withholding gas plant documents, opposition says

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley (Greg Henkenhaf/QMI Agency Files)

Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley (Greg Henkenhaf/QMI Agency Files)

TORONTO - 

Hundreds, if not thousands, of documents related to the Dalton McGuinty government’s handling of two cancelled gas plants have not been turned over, opposition MPPs allege.

“We want to uncover the truth — that’s our goal, that’s our mission,” Tory MPP Rob Leone said Tuesday, noting there’s been nothing like this in question period for 104 years.

“We are in the midst of making history.”

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns said it’s not clear from the documents how ministers even communicated with each other.

“We can’t do our job and the public cannot do its job if documents are obscured and withheld,” Tabuns said.

Debate began in the Ontario legislature Tuesday on a motion tabled by Leone that Energy Minister Chris Bentley violated the privileges of committee members.

The committee had been looking at the decision by the Ontario Liberals to cancel unpopular gas-fired generating plants in Oakville and Mississauga.

Liberal House Leader John Milloy accused the opposition of attacking Bentley with no proof that there are missing documents.

“It’s nothing short of disgusting,” Milloy said, calling the opposition tactics a “kangaroo court” before withdrawing the comment.

On Monday, the Liberals handed over 36,000 documents related to the plants, and Bentley announced that a deal had been reached with the Oakville plant owner at a cost to taxpayers of $40 million.

The gas plant papers reveal that bureaucrats were scrambling to ward off a $1-billion lawsuit in Oakville, and that no legal opinion was sought from government lawyers before the plug was pulled in Mississauga.


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