Criminal breach alleged in gas plant e-mail purge

Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

TORONTO -- The Kathleen Wynne minority government went into serious damage control mode after the release of an OPP warrant alleging criminal behaviour in the premier's office for the deletion of gas plant e-mails.

The explosive document, made public by a judge Thursday but not proven in court, alleges a former chief of staff for ex-premier Dalton McGuinty committed a criminal breach of trust by arranging for another staffer's techie boyfriend to access 24 desktop computers in the premier's office as Wynne took over the reins in 2013.

A committee investigating the Ontario Liberals' cancellation of gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga, at a loss of up to $1.1 billion, had already ordered the government to turn over all records related to that decision.

Wynne said the allegations, if true, are "disturbing" but she was not aware of and would not have condoned such activity.

"I was not in charge of the former chief of staff, I did not direct the former chief of staff, I did not direct anyone in my office to destroy information, nor would I ever do that," Wynne said. "And, in fact, we have changed the rules about the retention of information."

OPP investigators probing the alleged illegal deletion of e-mails executed a search warrant last month on a Mississauga data storage facility used by the Ontario government.

According to that warrant, McGuinty's former chief of staff, David Livingstone, is suspected of bringing in Peter Faist, the boyfriend of then senior political staffer Laura Miller, to access government computers even though he was not a member of the Ontario Public Service.

Police are unsure of what the computer expert may have done, but they have seized hard drives so their own experts can try to figure out what, if anything, took place, the warrant states.


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