Canadian Manufacturing

Tories, NDP accuse Liberals of not telling the truth on cancelled gas plants

Hudak says Liberals orchestrated a cover-up.

TORONTO—The Progressive Conservatives are demanding Premier Dalton McGuinty apologize for what they call “an orchestrated cover up” to hide the true cost of cancelling power plants in Oakville and Mississauga.

Opposition Leader Tim Hudak released a letter to McGuinty on Sunday demanding the premier “come clean” about his role in the Liberals’ decision to cancel the two generating stations.

The Liberals admit taxpayers will be on the hook for $230 million for scrapping the two gas plants, but the Conservatives and New Democrats put that figure at a minimum of $650 million.

The government released another 20,000 pages of documents on the cancelled projects late Friday, after insisting for weeks that all relevant documents were released last month, as ordered by the Speaker.

Hudak says “it strongly appears that there is an orchestrated and co-ordinated effort to cover up” how the decision was made and hide “its true costs.”

As with the first 36,000 documents, Hudak’s letter complains the second batch “is virtually missing any correspondence or briefing materials at the political level.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Sunday it was clear “the government was not being honest” when it claimed to have released all the gas plant documents in September, and asked that the auditor general be called in to investigate.

“There’s no good reason to believe they’ve fully complied now,” Horwath said in an e-mail to The Canadian Press.

Hudak echoed Horwath’s concern in his letter to McGuinty, despite assurances Friday from Energy Minister Chris Bentley that he truly thought everything had been released Sept. 24.

“We have no reason to believe that this latest package of documents is complete,” wrote Hudak.

Friday’s package of 20,000 documents is “almost devoid of emails, correspondence or briefing documents between the offices of the energy minister, premier or cabinet office,” added the Opposition Leader.

The fight by the Tories and NDP to get the documents from the Liberals triggered a contempt motion against Bentley that derailed all other legislative business for a week.

Despite an impassioned, last-minute plea from McGuinty the opposition parties out-voted the minority government to send the contempt motion, and the issue of the gas plant documents, to the Finance Committee, which is to begin hearings this week.

McGuinty “needs to take responsibility” for the scandal, and can start by agreeing to testify before the committee “to explain his role in this mess,” said Horwath.

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