PCs to move on contempt against Liberals for hiding documents

"The [Opposition] parties countered the public is entitled to know how tax money is being spent, saying the unpopular plant was zapped to save the seat of Oakville Liberal MPP Kevin Flynn before Premier Dalton McGuinty was reduced to a minority in last fall's provincial election."

-Rob Ferguson, The Toronto Star, September 21, 2012

ALLISTON, ON, Sept. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - To ensure the Liberals are held accountable for months of hiding documents on their "seat saver" gas plant cancellations, the Ontario PCs are moving forward with a contempt motion against Energy Minister Chris Bentley on Tuesday, PC House Leader Jim Wilson said today.

"Untold millions were wasted on cancelling the Oakville and Mississauga gas plants - and the McGuinty Liberals have tried every trick in the book to hide the true cost from taxpayers," Wilson said. "They know they broke the law. This PC motion sends a clear message to the Liberals: you're not above the law, and you must be held accountable."

Regardless of whether the government produces the requested documents on Monday, the PCs intend to introduce a motion that would - if passed - enable one of the Legislative Committees to conduct a proper investigation of the contempt charges and gas plant cancellations. The motion would also empower the Sergeant-at-Arms to verify that the government and external groups have produced all requested documents in full, ensuring that none are missing or edited.

The motion follows months of attempts by the government to avoid releasing all requested information, including the Liberals' desperate plea for total secrecy if the Opposition parties saw the content. In the summer, Bentley confessed the cost for cancelling the Mississauga plant was a $190-million politically-motivated decision made during the 2011 election. The cost for cancelling the Oakville plant and relocating both plants remains a mystery.

"This is a sad day for Ontarians when such extraordinary steps must be taken to keep the current government honest about their decisions - and their abuse of tax dollars," Wilson stated. "What makes this even more foul is the fact the Liberals did this knowing full well the consequences for their illegal actions. They knew a Minister's legal and political career was in jeopardy."

Contempt of the House is considered extremely serious, Wilson continued. Punishment for a person found in contempt may range from jail time to being brought before the Bar of the House to be censured and admonished by the Speaker. In addition, if complaints are brought against the Energy Minister and censure occurs, the Law Society of Upper Canada could professionally sanction him for ignoring an order of the Legislature, as he is a lawyer.

"The consequences for this outrageous abuse of power are severe for a reason," Wilson concluded. "They're intended to ensure governments protect taxpayers - not their own hides."

SOURCE: Ontario PC Caucus

For further information:

Christine Bujold (416) 325-1330 christine.bujold@pc.ola.org

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