PCs mock Wynne call for open government
"How dare they," said Hudak to Ontario Liberals openness initiative
A Liberal government that wasted up to $1.1 billion of Ontario taxpayers money to cancel gas plants and tried to cover up their actions has no right to call for more openness and transparency, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said Monday.
"How dare they talk about open access to government information when they spent years covering up the gas plant scandal," Hudak told reporters. "It made me think Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals are a bunch of hypocrites."
The Opposition leader was reacting to an open letter from Premier Kathleen Wynne appealing for a more open and transparent Ontario government.
"We've seen a pattern of deliberate decision making by the Liberals to put their own political party interests ahead of the interests of taxpayers," added Hudak.
"We've had not one but two major gas plant scandals, eHealth, Ornge, Ontario Lottery and Gaming and now the Pan Am Games. How much more evidence do you need that all Liberals care about is themselves?"
In her open letter "to the people of Ontario," Wynne said she wants to make government information easier to find, understand and use so the province can design services that deliver better results.
"Part of this process will be the use of innovative models of public engagement, giving you a greater say on a range of items, including transit, regional economic development and fiscal responsibility," wrote Wynne.
"We will also create a central space online where people can find information about government consultations, get engaged in that process, and express their ideas on government policy."
It's a bit rich for the leader of such a scandal-plagued government to start appealing for openness and transparency, said Hudak.
"I think that ship sailed long ago," he said about the Liberals' credibility on accountability.
Hudak pointed out the Tories and New Democrats had to continually fight the Liberal government before it turned over 160,000 documents on the cancelled gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga.
The government's initial refusal to release the documents led to a rare contempt of parliament charge, which prompted Dalton McGuinty's decision to prorogue the legislature in October 2012 and announce his resignation.
Hudak mocked the Liberals' plan to set up an expert panel to study ways of achieving a more open government, saying they should worry more about the economy and creating jobs.
"Kathleen Wynne's been premier for nine months and we've had all kinds of consultations, hand-holding, all kinds of studies, but my question is where's the plan for jobs," said Hudak. "Enough conversations. It's time for action."
Wynne's open letter promised new initiatives to improve government transparency and accountability.
"I believe that government data belongs to the people of Ontario and so we will make government data open by default, limiting access only to safeguard privacy, security and confidentiality," she wrote.