TORONTO – Dalton McGuinty’s former chief of staff is defending the move by top Liberals in the former premier’s office to delete their emails on cancelled gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga.
Chris Morley says there are 99 different reasons listed in the Ontario Public Service rule book that instruct government staff to “destroy immediately” several types of records, including emails.
Morley forcefully told the legislature’s justice committee that he did not keep all of his records because the rules told him not to.
However, McGuinty’s former top aide testified he did turn over 300 documents Monday to the province’s archives.
The opposition parties say the Liberals destroyed emails in an attempt to cover up the true cost of cancelling the gas plants, which ballooned to $585 million after the Liberals claimed it was $230 million.
New Democrat Peter Tabuns says the Liberals cancelled the gas plants to “save their hides” in the 2011 election, when they were reduced to a minority government.
Opposition Leader Tim Hudak complained that Premier Kathleen Wynne’s earlier testimony at the committee “strained the bounds of credibility,” and said other Liberal witnesses showed what he called “a troubling case of collective amnesia.”
The Ontario Provincial Police are investigating Conservative complaints that top Liberals in McGuinty’s office not only deleted their emails on the gas plants, but also tried to wipe the data completely from government computers.
Ontario’s privacy commissioner found senior Liberals in the premier’s office and the Ministry of Energy broke the law by deleting email accounts, knowing all their correspondence on the gas plants had been requested by the justice committee.