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McGuinty says he never ordered deletion of documents

Former Premier Dalton McGuinty leaves a justice policy committee meeting after answering questions about deleted e-mails relating to two cancelled gas plants at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ont. Tuesday, June 25, 2013.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Former premier Dalton McGuinty says he knew the IT expert accused of destroying documents in his office, but maintains he never ordered the deletions.

Mr. McGuinty commented Monday for the first time on police accusations that Peter Faist, the boyfriend of the ex-premier's deputy chief of staff, was brought in to "wipe" clean computers shortly before Mr. McGuinty left office in February, 2013.

"I didn't see any of that," Mr. McGuinty told The Globe and Mail from Cambridge, Mass., where he is a fellow at Harvard University. "I was not aware of any activities associated with the allegations that were related to the computers and the deletion of emails or anything like that."

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Mr. McGuinty acknowledged that he knew Mr. Faist "just socially."

Asked when he had last spoken to Mr. Faist, Mr. McGuinty said he was not entirely certain.

"I can't recall. Maybe a year ago? I'm just kind of guessing here," he said. "It might have been two years ago. I can't recall.

Mr. Faist's company, it was revealed Monday, also held both a $150,000 contract with the government caucus office and a $60,000 contract with the Liberal Party. Mr. McGuinty said he "did not know about" the caucus office contract.

Asked if it was appropriate for the boyfriend of a Liberal staffer to receive a lucrative government contract funded by taxpayers, Mr. McGuinty refused to weigh in.

"I'm not going to comment on the story of the day," he said. "I think what we really should stay focused on are the matters that are the subject of the investigation."

He slammed the "hyper-partisanship and over-the-top histrionics" of the opposition, which has spent the last several days attacking the Liberals over the deletions, but he would not express his own views on the accusations of wrongdoing under his watch as premier.

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"I think we really should leave it to the investigation to come to a conclusion," he said. "I have every confidence in the process that is there now and I think we should just allow it to unfold."

He said repeatedly that, as Premier, he had more important matters to attend to than the records in his office, saying such things were "the staff's responsibility."

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