Andrea Horwath responds to letter from Premier McGuinty regarding gas plant documents
September 14, 2012
Hon. Dalton McGuinty,
Room 281, Legislative Building
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Thank you for your letter of September 14.
While I’m pleased to hear that you’re now interested in making details of cancelled private power deals available to the public, I have to take exception with some points in your letter.
First and foremost, your claim that your government has always been eager and ready to share this information is simply not credible. For over a year, the Premier, Ministers of Energy, and government MPPs have used a variety of stall tactics to keep the costs of these private power deals from the public. As your Ministers have been forced to make clear in committee hearings, this was a decision of the Liberal Party campaign team and had everything to do with your standing in opinion polls and little to do with the public interest.
Secondly, as I’ve noted repeatedly in the House, in letters to you, and in public statements, when the government is spending public money, the public has a right to know how they’re spending it. For a government that was elected on a mandate of increasing transparency and accountability, the government’s ongoing evasion is troubling. As Gerry Phillips, former Liberal MPP and Chair of the Management Board noted when the previous government refused to disclose details of the 407 contract:
“The poor users of the toll road, the public, the hard-working taxpayers, are not given a chance to look at this agreement, but investors, who stand to make money on the backs of the toll users, do get an unfettered look at it to make their investment decision. So you’ve got this what I regard as totally unacceptable proposition, which the government put into the contract, where the money people can look at it and the taxpayers can’t. Even I, as a representative of the taxpayers, am told that if I look at it, I have to sign a legal, binding agreement that I’ll never disclose what I saw.” – Standing Committee on Government Agencies,
March 27, 2000
We will continue to work through House Leaders as per the request of the Speaker. We maintain, however, that MPPs have a right to this information, a point the Speaker made absolutely clear. More importantly, the people of Ontario have a right to know how their money has been spent, and they have a right to know this in a timely manner, not at an indefinite point in the future. We will continue to act in the public interest.
Leader, Ontario’s NDP
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