Former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty is denying that he ordered or even knew about any destruction of documents in his office.
“As I have made clear in the past, including when I twice appeared before the legislative committee considering this matter, at no time was I made aware of nor did I direct the deletion of e-mails or documents,” Mr. McGuinty said in a written statement Friday.
New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath, meanwhile, reiterated her call for a public inquiry into the cancellations. But Ms. Horwath, who has propped up the Liberal government for the last two years, did not issue an ultimatum, leaving open the possibility she will allow the government to avoid a spring election.
A day earlier, court documents revealed police are investigating an alleged breach of trust by Mr. McGuinty’s former chief of staff, David Livingston. Police believe Mr. Livingston brought in IT expert Peter Faist, the boyfriend of deputy chief of staff Laura Miller, to wipe clean the hard drives of computers in the premier’s office. Those computers may have contained e-mails or other documents that shed light on the costly cancellations of two gas-fired power plants.
Mr. McGuinty defended his former staffers.
“In my office, it was my honour to serve alongside a hard-working and dedicated staff who, from top to bottom, were committed to the highest standards of public service,” he wrote.
No charges have been laid and the allegations against Mr. Livingston have not been tested in court. Mr. McGuinty urged people to hold off on judgment until this process is complete.
“I encourage all of us to respect this process by allowing it to come to a conclusion before we, ourselves, jump to any,” he wrote.
So far, it is unclear whether the fallout from the scandal will be enough to sink the Liberal government and trigger a spring election.
In an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne Friday, Ms. Horwath berated the Liberal leader but would not tip her hand on whether she will bring down the government.
“I first issued a call for an independent public inquiry last January. At that time, you insisted it would not be needed. The past year has proven you wrong,” she wrote Ms. Wynne.
The premier on Thursday said any alleged email or document deletions happened before she took over from Mr. McGuinty, and that she knew nothing about them. Ms. Horwath said an inquiry is necessary to determine if this is true.
In her letter, Ms. Horwath also called for an independent prosecutor to be assigned to work with OPP. But Ms. Wynne said Thursday this has already happened, with the federal government assigning one of its Crown attorneys to the file.