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Only a judge can get to bottom of gas-plants scandal: Ontario Tories

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Leader Tim Hudak answers questions from reporters during a press conference related to the gas pants cancellation at Queen's Park Toronto, May 14 2013.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

The only way for Ontario to get to the bottom of the cancellation of two gas-fired powerplants is through a judicial inquiry, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said Tuesday.

Testifying at a legislative committee probing the cancellations, Mr. Hudak said Liberal government officials have obfuscated the truth and they should be brought before a judge.

"We have heard weeks of contradictory testimony, selective memories and revelations of missing documents and purged emails," Mr. Hudak said.

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The government cancelled the plants, in the Toronto suburbs of Mississauga and Oakville, in what was widely seen as a play to hold on to Liberal seats in the 2011 election.

The Liberals, however, argue Mr. Hudak would also have cancelled the plants had he won the vote. In the 2011 election, Mr. Hudak and his candidates pledged to put the brakes on the Mississauga plant.

The Liberals called Mr. Hudak to grill him on that promise. But in a series of testy exchanges with Liberal MPPs, in which the two sides constantly talked over each other, Mr. Hudak argued that his being called to committee was just an attempt to deflect attention from the government.

"This is good, cheap theatre," he said at one point.

Mr. Hudak argued that government witnesses had made the committee's work difficult by giving contradictory information. Some political staffers also said they had deleted their emails.

He advocated the calling of a judicial inquiry, which is a type of public inquiry headed by a judge. Such a proceeding would question witnesses at length and have the power to review documents and investigate the cancellations.

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About the Author
Washington correspondent

Adrian Morrow covers U.S. politics from Washington, D.C. Previously he was The Globe's Ontario politics reporter. He's covered news, crime and sports for The Globe since 2010. He won the National Newspaper Award for politics reporting in 2016. More

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