Wynne to fork over wider range of axed gas plant documents

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 2:08 PM ET

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is pulling open the government filing cabinets to provide a committee looking at cancelled gas plants with a much broader range of related records.

The announcement that the Ontario Liberal government would cancel a Mississauga gas plant already under construction was made during the last provincial election, and it wasn’t immediately clear how many documents the party would be prepared to turn over to the committee if asked.

“I have never said that this wasn’t a political decision. It was a political decision,” Wynne said when asked about the origin of the decision Thursday.

The Ontario Liberals cancelled a contract to build a large electricity plant in Oakville in 2010, and one year later pulled the plug on the Mississauga plant.

Both projects were extremely unpopular with many of the residents in those areas.

The government has put the cost of cancelling the plants for taxpayers at $230 million but critics say the pricetag could be more than $1 billion.

A government justice committee began meeting Thursday to consider a contempt motion against the Liberal government for failure to release all documents within the Ministry of Energy and Ontario Power Authority (OPA) related to the cancellations.

Wynne’s motion would require all government ministries and the premier’s office to turn over gas plant records, such as e-mails, briefing notes and correspondence, to the committee.

House leader John Milloy said the committee could also ask the political parties for their internal documents.

The premier is also seeking to expand the mandate of the justice committee to look beyond document to the tendering, planning, commissioning, cancelling and relocation of the gas plants.

“During my campaign for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, I was very clear that it was my intention to make available any and all information relating to the cancellation of these projects,” Wynne said.

Tory MPP Jim Wilson said the Liberal government has sought to limit and control the scope of the debate around the gas plants.

“I just hope this isn’t the beginning of the cover up of the cover up of the cover up,” he said of Wynne’s motion.

NDP MPP Andrea Horwath called Wynne’s offer a “political” response to the pressure placed on her by the opposition, but welcomed an opportunity to view key documents out of former premier Dalton McGuinty’s office.

“The information that is sitting perhaps in the premier’s office ... would shed a heck of a lot of light on some of those issues,” she said.


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