The Ontario Liberals came under fire from the other parties once again Friday morning after revelations that police are probing deeper into the destruction of documents in former premier Dalton McGuinty’s office.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and PC Leader Tim Hudak both called on Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne to make available any documents requested by the Ontario Provincial Police’s investigation.
“Last night we got a vivid reminder of why we’re in this election,” Ms. Horwath said outside Queen’s Park. “It’s important for Ms. Wynne to do everything in her power that she can possibly do to facilitate the release of whatever documents the OPP is asking for this time.”
Kathleen Wynne said Friday the documents the Ontario Provincial Police were seeking are not held by the Liberals but instead by non-partisan administrative staff at the legislature, and she said she has no power to make them public.
“It’s not in our power. The documents are in the hands of people who work for the legislative assembly and I know they’re co-operating with the OPP,” she said at a transit bus garage in Newmarket. “We do not have those documents to hand over.”
Police are seeking logs that could show when an outside IT consultant accessed government computers, allegedly to wipe the hard drives clean.
Staff in former premier Dalton McGuinty’s office have told police in interviews the consultant, the boyfriend of one of Mr. McGuinty’s then-aides, logged onto their computers and, afterwards, they were unable to use them.
Ms. Wynne on Friday said the OPP investigation does not involved anyone in her office, or any cabinet ministers or MPPs.
“I am going to let the OPP do their work,” she said. “The OPP has a job to do and no one should be surprised that they’re doing it. It’s important work and it should continue.”
Ms. Wynne spent the morning promoting her plan to pump $29-billion into building transit lines, highways and bridges.
But Ms. Horwath said Ms. Wynne could at least pick up the phone to make sure the documents are released quickly.
“We shouldn’t have to wait until after June 12 to see what’s in those documents,” she said.
Mr. Hudak, speaking at a breakfast with the Mississauga Board of Trade, pledged to launch a judicial inquiry – an idea Ms. Horwath seconded – into the scandal within 100 days of taking office if he is elected. He said Ms. Wynne wasn’t being honest at this week’s leaders’ debate when she said her government had released all documents the police needed and said the documents requested by OPP should be released to the public as well.
“It was the public that got stuck with the bill and it’s the public whose trust as been betrayed,” he said to reporters after his speech.
“This tells us that they weren’t revealing all documents and if you say you’re sorry and it keeps happening again, you’re just trying to get elected. You don’t really mean it.”
Along with the judicial inquiry, Mr. Hudak offered up a list of pledges for his first 100 days of office including cutting cabinet down from 27 ministers to 16, tabling a budget, killing the government’s $2.5-billion fund for corporate grants and freezing all government hiring.
At a campaign stop in Halton, Ms. Horwath said she didn’t think the Ontario Provincial Police Association’s opinion against the Progressive Conservative platform will affect their investigation of the Liberals.
“I don’t have any concerns whatsoever about the professionalism of the Ontario Provincial Police,” she said, adding professional groups’ voices in politics are healthy for democracy. “They are doing their work diligently and doing it appropriately.”
With a report from Adrian Morrow