Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wynne Rejects Public Inquiry into Cancelled Gas Plants in Oakville, Mississauga

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wynne Rejects Public Inquiry into Cancelled Gas Plants in Oakville, Mississauga

Article excerpt

Wynne rejects public inquiry into gas plants

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TORONTO - Premier Kathleen Wynne dismissed opposition calls Monday for a judicial inquiry into cancelled gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga, but the Progressive Conservatives vowed to set one up anyway -- if they win the next election.

"It has become increasingly clear that the only way to get to the bottom of the gas plant scandals is for the next government to have a judicial inquiry," said PC energy critic Vic Fedeli.

The Conservatives don't support the NDP's call for a public inquiry into the cancelled energy projects, agreeing with the Liberals that it would be too expensive, but instead want a judge to head any probe.

"Compared to a public inquiry, which can be chaired by anyone and does not prevent political interference, a judicial inquiry...elevates the level of independence of the investigation," said Fedeli.

Wynne rejected the Tories' demand for a judicial inquiry and their call for a second committee to investigate the cancellations -- the legislature's justice committee is already looking into the release of the gas plant documents.

"It's confusing in terms of exactly what it is the opposition is asking for. Every day there seems to be a different request," she said.

"I have said consistently for weeks now, and certainly since these questions have been coming into the house, that it is our absolute objective to make sure that every piece of information is available."

The auditor general's investigation into the cost of the gas plants and the justice committee will get the answers the opposition parties are looking for, added Wynne.

"It is not our intention to set up a very expensive public inquiry process," she said.

"I do not believe that that is necessary because we have other mechanisms in order to get the information into the public realm."

The opposition parties are convinced there are still more documents on the cancellation of the gas plants, which the Liberals say cost Ontario taxpayers $230 million but the Tories and NDP place at closer to $1 billion.

"After months of misleading Ontario taxpayers about the more than $1 billion wasted to save five Liberal seats in the 2011 election, we know we cannot trust the Liberal government to get to the bottom of this scandal," said Fedeli. …

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