Ontario election: Gas plant docs 'not in our power' to release, Wynne says

Ontario's opposition parties are demanding Premier Kathleen Wynne ensure all documents on the cancelled gas plants are made public immediately, following word of another OPP visit to the Ontario Legislature.

Opposition parties turn up pressure in wake of latest OPP court order to Legislature

Ontario's opposition parties are demanding Premier Kathleen Wynne ensure all documents on the cancelled gas plants are made public immediately, following word of another OPP visit to the legislature. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne says no one should be surprised that the provincial police are doing their job by investigating the alleged destruction of documents related to the gas plants scandal.

Wynne said she made a promise to be open and transparent on the file when she became premier and says she has kept that promise.

"I am going to let the OPP do their work. I am going to let them do what they need to do and we will cooperate in every way possible, and I know the Legislative Assembly will as well," Wynne said. "I've been very clear about my intention and my commitment and my follow through on providing all of the information that we have in terms of the relocation of the gas plants."

Police on Thursday reportedly asked for key records from the Legislature and confirmed they interviewed Wynne's  predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, in April.

The order to obtain, which, now that it has been served, gives staff 10 days to deliver documents police "know exist," was made after an interview with McGuinty in April.

The OPP earlier seized 24 computer hard drives from the premier's office and determined some had been wiped clean of data during the transition of power from McGuinty to Wynne.

The court order is not directed at Wynne or any of her staff.

The Liberals issued a statement Thursday night saying the OPP investigation is focused on David Livingston, McGuinty's former chief of staff, not Wynne or her office.

"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," said Liberal campaign spokesperson Rebecca MacKenzie. "No ministers, MPPs or political staff are captured by this (court) order."

The OPP investigation is ongoing and no charges have been laid.

Opposition wants documents made public

Ontario's opposition parties are demanding Wynne ensure all documents on the cancelled gas plants are made public immediately.

The Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats held early news conferences Thursday at Queen's Park after the Ottawa Citizen reported the OPP anti-rackets squad served a court order at the Legislature Wednesday.

PC energy critic Lisa MacLeod says the OPP were looking for visitors logs that the justice committee had requested but could not get, to try and figure out when an outside computer expert was brought into the premier's office.

"When I read last night the visitor logs would be included, that is something we naturally thought was important to gather," MacLeod said Friday morning. "It was something we were prevented from obtaining."

MacLeod says with an election just six days away, Wynne has a responsibility to voters to make sure all the gas plant documents are made public today.

"I believe that the voters of Ontario deserve to know what is in those documents and Kathleen Wynne needs to provide them today. That's her job, she needs to do that," MacLeod said.

"They should be released to the public. It's the public that got stuck with the bill. And it's the public whose trust has been betrayed," PC Leader Tim Hudak said Friday.

"It's not in our power," Wynne said. "The documents are in the hands of the Legislative Assembly, in the hands of people who work for the Legislative Assembly, and I know that they're cooperating with the OPP as we are. But we do not have those documents to handover."

PCs promise judicial inquiry

Hudak has previously said he will launch a judicial inquiry into the billion-dollar gas plant scandal if he’s elected premier, and expects Wynne and former McGuinty to testify.

​A judicial inquiry would involve a judge, who has prosecutorial and investigative experience.

Hudak said Friday he would set up a judicial inquiry like one Justice [John] Gommery oversaw in the federal sponsorship scandal.

Hudak said it's needed "to get answers for tax payers and to ensure that it never ever happens again under any political party of any stripe,"

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the police visit to the Legislature is another reminder of why Ontario needs a change of government June 12.

It has been estimated that the Liberal government's decision to cancel the gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga will cost taxpayers as much as $1.1 billion.

The final tally for the Oakville plant cancellation has been tabbed at $675 million, but possibly as much as $850 million — far above the $40-million price tag the Liberals had been touting.

A previous auditor general had already examined the Mississauga plant situation and said its cancellation would cost taxpayers $275 million

Hudak pointed out that the total money lost on both plants — about $1.1 billion — could have been used to hire 18,000 nurses or provided 247,727 seniors with home care

With files from The Canadian Press