TORONTO – The Speaker of Ontario’s legislature has ruled Liberal cabinet ministers were not in contempt and did not intentionally mislead the house about the release of documents on cancelled gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga.
Speaker Dave Levac says it’s clear then-energy minister Chris Bentley and other Liberals were wrong last September to insist all gas plant documents had been released when another 20,000 turned up in October, and more last month.
However, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, Levac says he must assume the Liberals were being honest and believed their statements to be true at the time.
He says there was no attempt to mislead the legislature, so there was “no prima facie case of contempt” by the government.
The legislature’s justice committee will still investigate another contempt motion regarding the release of the gas plant documents, where the Speaker had ruled there was a “prima facie breach of privilege.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne had offered to expand the committee’s mandate to include all aspects of the gas plant cancellations, not just the release of documents.
The Tories and New Democrats predict the cost of the cancellations will be much higher than the $230 million the Liberals claim.
Wynne has admitted cancelling the gas plants was a political decision by the Liberal campaign team.