Wynne demands PCs stop claims she took part in gas plant coverup

Premier appears ready to take legal action

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has raised the spectre of legal action against Tory Leader Tim Hudak, demanding he withdraw accusations she was involved in the alleged deletion of government emails in the gas plants scandal.

Wynne released an open letter on Sunday, with the Opposition leader expected to pounce on the issue during Monday's Question Period in the legislature. She called Hudak's allegations "false, misleading and defamatory."

Court documents released on Thursday said police, who have an ongoing breach-of-trust investigation into the decision to cancel two gas plants, believe a senior aide to former premier Dalton McGuinty gave an outside tech expert access to computers in the premier's office and wiped them clean.

Hudak quickly linked Wynne to the revelations, telling a news conference: "We now know that the coverup and criminal destruction of documents and emails took place in Kathleen Wynne's office under her watch as premier,'' adding that she ``possibly ordered the destruction of documents."

In Sunday's letter Wynne demanded Hudak and his caucus not repeat the claim and scrub it from their website, which carried it as of Sunday afternoon.

"I have sought and obtained legal advice regarding your comments, and if steps are not taken immediately, I will have no choice but to take all necessary and appropriate steps to ensure your false statements are corrected," Wynne writes.

A Wynne spokeswoman refused to spell out what those steps might be, but the Progressive Conservatives shrugged off the threat.

Hudak was not made available for comment Sunday, but Tory Energy Critic Lisa MacLeod told reporters in a teleconference that her party will not be "muzzled" by the premier.

"This was a media stunt by Kathleen Wynne and she is simply trying to send a chill down the backs of each and every opposition member who has the so-called audacity to question her."

When asked if the party has sought legal counsel, MacLeod said that "We haven't seen a legal letter to respond legally with."

According to the allegations in the documents, which haven't been tested in court, McGuinty chief of staff David Livingston sought high-level access to the computers to "wipe clean the hard drives" after McGuinty resigned amid controversy over the cancellation of two gas plants ahead of the 2011 election, which the auditor general estimates could climb to $1.1 billion.

In a snap news conference last week shortly after Hudak's remarks, a fiery Wynne said his accusations that she participated in a coverup are "irresponsible." Earlier she said that Livingston never worked in her office or her government, adding she was co-operating with the ongoing police probe.

McGuinty also denied last week that he knew anything about an effort to delete emails or documents.

Speaking on Newstalk 1010's The Province Sunday, NDP leader Andrea Horwath said there remain many unanswered questions in the scandal.

"What happened after Dalton McGuinty left office and Kathleen Wynne took office as Premier? Who decided or allowed for evidence to be destroyed? Who knew about the coverup? These are all questions that are extremely, extremely important and the people of this province deserve the answers", said Horwath.

The NDP continues to call for a public inquiry into gas plant cancellations.

One political watcher said the back and forth and Wynne's insistence that it didn't happen under her watch may be too "inside baseball" for voters to care about. Attention will likely shift to pocketbook matters as the government gets closer to handing down its budget this spring, said Henry Jacek, who teaches political science at Hamilton's McMaster University.

"A lot of people, I think, have basically thought, well this money was wasted, it's unfortunate but that water's gone over the dam. We're not going to get that money back again so it's time to move on," he said.

It's alleged that during the transition period to Wynne's administration, Livingston arranged for his executive assistant Wendy Wai to have special access to desktops in the premier's office, even though she had little knowledge of computers.

Police alleged in court documents that Peter Faist, who wasn't a government employee, was the person who actually accessed the 24 computers using Wai's administrative privileges, including former deputy chief of staff Laura Miller's, Livingston's and other staffers.

A lawyer for Livingston has said his client did not break the law.

Police say Wai's special administrator's rights were valid from Feb. 4 to March 20 last year, a timeline the Tories say underpin their claims, as Wynne was sworn in on Feb. 11.

But Wynne said members of McGuinty's staff had no access to the premier's office once she took over.

Faist, who police believe is Miller's partner, was never officially hired by the government and did not undergo the required security screening, the documents say.

According to two staffers in the premier's office, Faist accessed their computers a few days before Wynne was sworn in, saying he was getting them ready for the next government, police say.

The staffers said they couldn't log into their computers after Faist left and called IT staff, who said it was clear that system files had been deleted, police allege.

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  • 25
  1. Ryan posted on 03/30/2014 01:37 PM
    It's time for an election, you crooked hag! OUT WITH THE RED, IN WITH THE BLUE!
  2. Frankie posted on 03/30/2014 02:40 PM
    The most corrupt, lying and incompetent government in Ontario history. It's too bad we don't have laws with real teeth. Too bad we don't have enough voters with brains.

    The media and opposition should be on this government the same way the media has been on Ford, until this government is gone.

    The Federal Liberals sponsorship scandal cost Canadian taxpayers about $ 100 Million and they were turfed from office shortly after. The Ontario Liberals have "stolen" over $ 1 Billion, mismanaged at least $ 5 Billion, and will cost taxpayers for the next 3 decades, yet they're still in power. How dumb are their voters?
    1. Walter posted on 03/30/2014 03:04 PM
      @Frankie My recollection is that you are wrong.

      The sponsorship scandal from the 1990's was discovered in the early 2000's. After many of the allegations were already known, Liberal supporters still gave the Liberals (under Martin) a minority government. Then when all the facts were in, it still only resulted in a Conservative minority (actually 2). It took voters about 5 years to actually punish the Liberals.

      Contrast this with the Airbus allegations of Mulroney. The very next elections, the Conservative electorate reduced the PC's to 2 seats.

      It seems that there is a history that Conservative voters demand ethical and competent government, while the Liberal voters will overlook almost any corrupt or illegal activities of their party.

      Based on this history, Liberal supporters will probably continue to ignore the mounting evidence and still vote Liberal.
    2. Jack posted on 03/30/2014 03:18 PM
      @Walter It all boils down to the difference in Conservative and Liberal ideology:

      Conservatives are concerned with results; everything else is secondary if you can't afford to keep the lights on.

      Liberals are concerned with touchy-feely social policies; of COURSE you can have ice cream for dinner sweetie, whatever you want.
    3. Frankie posted on 03/30/2014 05:10 PM
      @Walter Thanks for the correction and I agree with your analysis.

      Too bad there aren't a greater number of ethical voters.
    4. Fact Provider posted on 03/31/2014 08:10 AM
      @Walter Apples and oranges, Frankie.

      The so-called sponsorship "scandal" was the expenditure of taxpayer dollars to save Canada from having Quebec secede.

      The Airbus scandal was about having paper bags of cash passed to Brian Mulroney.

      Your take on things is way off base. The Cons were punished immediately because Mulroney's dirty hands were so obvious.
    5. G man posted on 03/31/2014 09:25 AM
      @Fact Provider @Fact Provider: The sponsorship scandal was only partly about an incompetent waste of taxpayer dollars supposedly to try to keep Quebec in Canada. It was mainly about federal money being funnelled into Liberal party coffers, and the hands of friends and supporters of the Liberals.
    6. Fact Provider posted on 03/31/2014 09:35 AM
      @G man You really shouldn't make things up just to appear correct.

      No scandal in Canadian history comes even close to Lyin' Brians ... except for Harper's newest legislation to curtail voters' rights.

      The major scandals in Canadian history have been, almost without exception, Con scandals.

      Read some history and stick to the truth.
  3. Lifelong Tory posted on 03/30/2014 05:07 PM
    Mr.Hudak has shown again that he isn't capable of being a leader.
    Anyone with an ounce of common sense would know better than to try this stunt.
    He has put himself and the PC Party in potential legal difficulty.

    PC's of Ontario, please dump this clown.
    Right or wrong, he's not up to the task of leading.
    His continued presence as leader will guarantee the re-election of the Liberals.
    1. dan posted on 03/30/2014 10:38 PM
      @Lifelong Tory we most likely will see another loss to Liberals next election because of that brainless baboon. He cost us the last elections too, when they should've been a given.
    2. john posted on 03/31/2014 11:24 AM
      @dan yea long life tory my ass . if he paid any attention he would know that most of the emails were scent to her as well as all the evidence that she had part in it . there is this thing on email that u can send email to everybody on or list in one shot .
  4. tanjo posted on 03/30/2014 07:37 PM
    Let's face it, if Wynne was in on it, then McGuinty would have had no need to be erasing those computers.

    Hudak thought he could get some quick brownie points with his cute comments and now it's going to cost him. He will either have to issue a full Ford vs Dale-style retraction, or face a law suit that he will likely lose.

    Personally, I think he will fold like a wet towel, which is too bad, because we need a strong PC party in Ontario right now.
    1. G man posted on 03/31/2014 09:29 AM
      @tanjo McGuinty wasn't trying to hide the emails from Wynne, he was trying to hide them from coming out publicly in an investigation or inquiry. So he still had reason to erase the computers even if Wynne was in on it.
    2. Sam posted on 03/31/2014 10:24 AM
      @tanjo he doubled down in a press conference this morning. bad move Tim!
      the tough guy attitude aint gonna work here. it's only going to get worse for him. he better have proof or you will look sillier than you allready are
      what is about conservatives?
      they continue to be the Libs best friend in politics :)
  5. Mark posted on 03/31/2014 08:28 AM
    IMO, the problem with this, is that if it goes to court and if Wynne Bag needs to testify, then she will lie under oath. That's what liberals do. They lie like rugs and like the snakes that they are.

    Apparently, Wynne Bag was in McGuilty's office many times while this clandestine behaviour was going on. I can only imagine that all the staff were wondering why all their computers were being wiped, so there must have been some pretty obvious rumblings.

    Wynne Bag either looked the other way or is an idiot. Frankly, I think she is / did both, as well as being a corrupt incompetent scum, who has chosen to pay off powerful unions for election support while throwing the rest of us under the bus.
  6. James posted on 03/31/2014 09:26 AM
    Wynne says she saw nothing. I guess when she went from place to place in liberal offices, her staff put a black bag over her head and told everyone to not speak as she walked by. This is the only way she could have not known what was going on.
  7. John posted on 03/31/2014 09:48 AM
    Every time I see Wynne, I think I am looking at Daniel Craig in drag. Are we sure 007 has not infiltrated our government? Naa, I guess not, why would 007 infiltrate as a scum sucking liberal. After all, he is brave, liberals seem to be cowards and liars.

    Sorry Wynne, that's just my opinion, and I am entitled to it.
    1. the other john posted on 03/31/2014 11:47 AM
      @John Daniel Craig in drag as ugly as that sounds i think if u showed a pic of him and wynne to a women i bet she will say that Daniel Craig is better looking . at lest that what my sister just told me .
  8. Frankie posted on 03/31/2014 09:54 AM
    Message to Wynne - Where's our $ 1 Billion plus that your Liberals "stole" from taxpayers? We want it back.

    It was reported today that people are upset that taxpayers might be on the hook for legal fees regarding Hudak's comments if Wynne takes action. They threaten to punish the Conservatives for taking money from their pockets.

    So let me get this straight, they're prepared to punish Hudak for wasting some money, let's say $ 1 Million to be generous, yet they are happy to keep voting Liberal despite many billions of dollars being wasted.

    Either I'm having a bad dream or the Liberal voters are even more stupid than I previously thought.
  9. AC posted on 03/31/2014 09:54 AM
    sounds like Tim is a little frustrated he can't make any headway in the polls. the man is just not liked that's evident. Wynne no matter what some think is just more of a likeable person to many. So in his frustration he steps over the line defames someone without any proof now he's going to have to do Ford/Daniel Dale.
    looks good on him
  10. kenfromcanada posted on 03/31/2014 09:58 AM
    Bring on any legal action - then - TESTIFY.

    And - under oath - someone gets to cross-examine her. Really hard to lie in Court while under oath. Many people say it can be done easily, think they can, lololol - seldom do it successfully.
  11. john posted on 03/31/2014 11:12 AM
    i got one thing to say . BRING IT BITCH U ANT GOT SH$%#it ! u know fuc%$$$%ing well u did it . the emails say it and OPP said it time to go to jail BITCH .
    1. Sam posted on 03/31/2014 12:06 PM
      @john "i would like to take this opportunity to apologize to premier Wynne for my comments that were not meant to in any way defame her. I have no proof to provide along with my inappropriate comments so i would like to take this opportunity to personally apologize to Kathleen Wynne." :)

      c'mon Timbit be a man or are you another lying weasel like Rob Ford
    2. john posted on 03/31/2014 12:43 PM
      @Sam i only apologize for telling the truth . something liberals and brown noses ers have never heard of . or are afraid of . timmy had the right to do what he did freedom of speech . another thing the liberals and brown noses ers are not aware of or afraid of so sam can bite me . for saying a apologize to one of the biggest scum bags on the world .
  12. john posted on 03/31/2014 11:37 AM
    about time Timmy started growing a pair of balls . thats what real men should be . thats what leaders are suppost to be and i love it . somebody light a fire up his ass dont know who did it but i like to shake there hand . fire in his belly now thats a leader . not this pu#%$@$#y i have seen in him before . now i am proud of him . dont let this pus%$$%#y get to u .

    as for wynne . karma is a bitch and it dont care if u are female male, lesbian, str8 .
    it will still kick u in the ass .

    i know this would happen and i was right .
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