Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Former Premier Dalton McGuinty leaves a justice policy committee meeting after answering questions about deleted emails 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 Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty says he "never focused much attention" on laws that ordered the government to preserve emails and other documents.

Mr. McGuinty, testifying before a legislative committee on why his staff erased emails related to the costly cancellation of two gas-fired power plants, said it simply wasn't worth his time to make sure that government records weren't ever destroyed.

"You might imagine that the premier's day is pretty full. I didn't give much thought to the archives act. I didn't give much thought to the preservation of emails," he said. "I gave thought to the creation of jobs, I gave thought to health care."

Story continues below advertisement

He also blamed the province's transparency laws, which his own government brought in, for causing "confusion" that allowed documents to be deleted.

"These rules are conflicting, they are messy, they are confusing," he said.

When asked by opposition MPPs why he had not made sure the legislation was enforced, Mr. McGuinty said he "moved on to other things."

Mr. McGuinty was in fighting form, slamming the opposition MPPs on the committee for "climbing on their high horses" in attacking his government.

"This committee is not an exercise in finding the truth," he said. "This is a partisan exercise, let's be honest."

Mr. McGuinty ordered two gas plants, in the Toronto suburbs of Mississauga and Oakville, cancelled at a cost of $585 million. The move was widely seen as a partisan play to save Liberal candidates in the area from defeat.

Mr. McGuinty stepped down as premier earlier this year. He resigned from the legislature two weeks ago.

Story continues below advertisement

Earlier Tuesday, the province's information watchdog accused Mr. McGuinty's former chief of staff, Chris Morley, of "misleading" the committee. Mr. Morley had defended the deletion of emails, saying there were "99 reasons" why the practice was completely fine.

For instance, Mr. Morley said, it was okay to erase emails if they were duplicates or so-called "transitory" records – emails that were of very little importance.

But Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian said there are only four situations where it would be permissible to delete an email and that it "defies probability" that every single one of Mr. Morley's emails fell within these exceptions.

"Let's start with the name of the law: it is called the Archives and Record-Keeping Act, not the Record-Deleting Act," Ms. Cavoukian told committee Tuesday morning. "The fact that Mr. Morley placed such weight on a perceived obligation to delete emails rather than the real obligation to retain critical documents is telling."

"His focus was entirely on the deletion of records, not their retention," she said.

Ms. Cavoukian said the deletion practices by Mr. McGuinty's staffers was of such a "massive scale" that they were likely doing it to avoid public scrutiny.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Cavoukian, who slammed Liberal political staffers in a report last month, said she did not buy staffers' explanation that they were simply erasing emails to keep their inboxes tidy.

"It strained credulity that it could be for reasons other than shielding one's activities from public scrutiny," she said.

"If there isn't one single email located" related to the gas plants, "what are the odds of that?"

Since Kathleen Wynne replaced Mr. McGuinty, she said, the government has been tightening up its policies.

She said Ms. Wynne is making sure a senior staffer in every minister's office is in charge of enforcing the rules around document preservation.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies