Newspaper article The Canadian Press

OPP Launch Criminal Probe into Deleted Emails about Cancelled Gas Plants

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

OPP Launch Criminal Probe into Deleted Emails about Cancelled Gas Plants

Article excerpt

OPP launch probe into deleted emails

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TORONTO - The Ontario Provincial Police launched a criminal investigation Friday into the destruction of emails about the costly cancellation of two gas plants by senior Liberal staff.

The Criminal Investigation Services will probe Tory complaints about "alleged impropriety" by former top staffers, said OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis.

"We're conducting a criminal investigation, so if there's no criminal charges, we'll be out of there," he said in an interview late Friday.

"If a criminal act did occur, then we'll try to prove who did it and lay charges accordingly."

The probe comes in the wake of a scathing report by the province's privacy watchdog that found top Liberals broke the law by deleting emails on the cancelled gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga.

Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian reported Wednesday that David Livingston, former premier Dalton McGuinty's chief of staff, tried as late as January to find out how to permanently delete emails related to the gas plants.

The opposition parties say the emails were wiped out to try to cover up the true costs of cancelling the gas plants, which has grown to an estimated $585 million, well above the $230 million the government had claimed.

It's a big blow to the Liberals, who've been engulfed in controversy for nearly a year over their decision to pull the plug on the plants -- one of which was cancelled in the dying days of the 2011 election campaign.

McGuinty, who is still a sitting MPP, denied he had a hand in the deletion of emails.

"I was unaware of discussions between government staff and the Ontario Public Service regarding the deletion of documents," he said in a statement.

"And at no time did I condone or direct the deletion of emails or documents which ought to have been preserved."

Lewis said the first step will be for police to interview the people who made the allegations and then those who are named. But it's hard to say how long it may take before police determine whether any criminal charges should be laid. …

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