Same questions can be asked tomorrow, says Premier (10 photos) Monday, March 31, 2014 by: Darren Taylor
Kathleen Wynne told reporters Monday's trip to Sault Ste. Marie was planned for "many weeks" after NDP MPPs walked out of the legislature and accused the Ontario premier of using the visit to hide from the gas plant scandal.
Wynne, on her third visit to Sault Ste. Marie since becoming Premier in February 2013, was joined by Sault Ste. Marie MPP and Minister of Natural Resources David Orazietti and Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle at Algoma University’s George Leach Centre Monday afternoon.
Earlier Monday, the Premier made a visit to the Soo Curlers Association to meet with Sault Ste. Marie’s own Canadian Olympic gold medallists Team Jacobs and Paralympic gold medallist Mac Marcoux, followed by a visit to Francis H. Clergue Public School.
The Premier (pictured with Algoma University President Dr. Richard Myers, Ministers Gravelle and Orazietti) was at the George Leach Centre to celebrate the announcement of $2 million in provincial funding for an expansion of the athletic facility, as well as $427,000 in provincial funding for new hydroelectric equipment for Soo Foundry & Machine.
However, the noteworthy visit by the Premier and funding announcements took place as political tensions escalate at Queen’s Park.
Opposition Leader Tim Hudak, leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives, has made allegations that Wynne knew that several computer hard drives in the Premier’s office were wiped clean, erasing data connected to what the opposition Tories, the NDP and other critics have called “the gas plant scandal.”
The provincial government, under former Premier Dalton McGuinty’s leadership, cancelled gas plant projects in Oakville and Mississauga, a move which is estimated to have cost $1.1 billion, and the deletion of government emails concerning the gas plants is now part of a police probe into the gas plant cancellations.
Hudak has claimed Wynne “oversaw and possibly ordered the criminal destruction of documents.”
That claim was also posted on the PC party’s website.
Hudak’s allegations suggest an individual deleted the data after she officially took over as Premier from McGuinty February 11, 2013.
Wynne has asserted she has no knowledge of anyone destroying information under her watch as Premier.
A staffer in Wynne’s office, in an email Sunday, stated: “Contrary to Mr. Hudak’s false statements, this did not happen after Premier Wynne was sworn in February 11, 2013.”
“The allegations pertain entirely to activities in the former Premier’s Office.”
In an open letter to Hudak released Sunday, Wynne called Hudak’s remarks “false, misleading and defamatory.”
In her open letter to Hudak, Wynne wrote: “I am asking you and your caucus to immediately stop repeating these untrue statements and to immediately remove them from the PC Party website and all other communications.”
“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.”
Hudak has not withdrawn his claims, and the provincial NDP walked out of Question Period at the Ontario Legislature Monday to protest Wynne’s absence in the face of such allegations.
In a news release Monday, Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha, a New Democrat, stated: “This last minute arrangement made to spirit the Premier to Sault Ste. Marie is yet another example of government cover-up and another example of this government’s disrespect towards Northerners.”
“The Premier used the people of Sault Ste. Marie to hide from her government’s scandal,” Mantha stated in the release.
After addressing an audience gathered at the George Leach Centre Monday, Wynne told reporters: “A letter has gone today from the lawyer who is giving me advice and has been sent to Mr. Hudak this afternoon, a letter confirming what I said in my open letter, but this is a formal legal letter.”
As for the NDP’s protest walk out of the Legislature Monday, Wynne said: “This trip (to Sault Ste. Marie) has been planned for many weeks.”
“My response is just that it is my responsibility as the Premier to travel this province, to work with all communities in this province.”
“My schedule is organized weeks and weeks in advance, and I will be back in the Legislature tomorrow and all of the questions that they wanted to ask today, they can ask me tomorrow.”
A list of witnesses in a police probe concerning the gas plant scandal now includes an outside information technology expert who was brought in to perform computer work for the Liberals.
Wynne told reporters the individual concerned did not work for her, and that the individual no longer provides any services to the Liberal Party at all, in light of the allegations.
What will unfold next regarding Hudak’s allegations and Wynne’s intention to resort to legal action against those allegations is not certain.
Neither is it certain if the PCs and NDP will vote against the Liberals government’s next budget, which would send Ontarians to the polls.
Wynne spoke confidently of the upcoming budget.
“I believe there will be much in that budget that could be supported by both parties on the other side of the House, but I can’t predict exactly what their decisions will be,” adding she hoped the PCs would at least agree to examine the budget before making a choice to vote against it.
Wynne planned to remain in Sault Ste. Marie for part of the late afternoon and early evening for meetings with local business leaders before returning to Toronto.
More SooToday.com coverage of the Premier's visit on Monday
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Gurpy 3/31/2014 7:56:03 PM Report
She should not have been in the Sault today of all days! What happened to "accountability and transparency?" She should`ve stayed home and faced the music!
Norm 3/31/2014 8:08:06 PM Report
Was keeping her date in the Soo necessary, when her government is facing these scandals. Dropping two million here, and wasting over a billion of the taxpayers money, doesn't make much sense.
harshbee 3/31/2014 8:17:35 PM Report
we don't need athletic clubs , we need something for our children , a splash pool , and a couple of fun parks in communities, sliding hills and rinks , our teens need something to do also , we are loosing our teens to drugs and alcohol because ,, they have no jobs after they graduate, if they do have jobs its minimum wage with short hours.lets focus on the young for a change.
sportsfan17 3/31/2014 8:35:25 PM Report
Concrete proof? I'll believe the evidence when it's not only coming from Tim Hudak's mouth. It's all hearsay until then.
I'm In 3/31/2014 8:38:14 PM Report
It's a good thing they attended Algoma U because if she did a speech in front of the General Public they would have had tomatoes/eggs thrown at them for the mess they put this province in. It looks like David is going back to teaching and being a union member we will see how he likes it.
Beej 3/31/2014 9:12:23 PM Report
Wow.. there is a man shorter than David O!
petertodd 3/31/2014 9:32:19 PM Report
$2 million for an expansion in a sports facility??? I guess that's where some of the money is going when she proposes to scrap the whole ODSP program for everyone in Ontario. Take from the sick to give to projects such as this. An election can't come soon enough. Please Tories and NDP vote against the budget, so we can go to the poles so we can get rid of such a fascist government.
Gurpy 3/31/2014 10:30:10 PM Report
The greedy provincial government is attempting to kill off all the disabled who do not generate tax dollars! Seriously, what do they propose the disabled do for income??
I propose psychiatric testing for ALL in government!!
Bach 3/31/2014 10:36:37 PM Report
we're all gonna get fratesied by her, NO!!!!
Gurpy 3/31/2014 11:01:10 PM Report
Here is what I don`t understand. The Liberals wasted how much money? Now, they want to eliminate ODSP probably to save money yet, they continue to throw it around like it grows on trees! What happens to all the odsp receipients? What happens to all the case workers in Ontario? A doctor has determined the receipients are unable to work. Some of these receipients are children! I`m really disgusted at the callousness of this government! Not just the Liberals either! Hudak had plenty to say about odsp about a year ago. Bottom line is they want people to give up, get desperate and possibly even take their own lives. We are dealing with sick and twisted people! It`s all about control with this government!I hope people have enough common sense to not let their scare tactics keep them awake at night!
harry dick 3/31/2014 11:57:23 PM Report
Why is it , when the government of Ontario screws up like the billions of dollars wasted in Ontario in the last year , do they immediately want to raise taxes to replace this money ,WASTED , by the Liberals . This money should be taken out of the Premier's pocket from his [MiGuinty's ] pension , and others that were involved in these fiascos ,that are still working , should have to give up some of their pay.
Why should the people of Ontario pay for these mistakes made by politicians .
Unfortunately voting this party out and another party in ,will not change a thing . It will be the same s__t different day kind of thing. We need a new style of Government that holds the politicians responsible for these screw-ups.
Verbatim 4/1/2014 12:07:40 AM Report
were these gas plants to generate energy, or were these plants to refine gasoline?....if it was to refine gas i could see why they would stop it. I'm sure US pressure forced them,,,to ensure that gas supplies don't out-weight demand....always about profit
Pakadeva 4/1/2014 1:28:37 AM Report
I totally agree! I think Ontarians in general feel disgraced & embarrassed at what is being done to the helpless secter; the disabled, sick & elderly.
They might understand if they were disabled themselves! The rest of us have common sense enough to understand that it is wrong in every way. I am embarrassed that people know I live in such a corrupt communistic province...kill off the poor & aged & disabled to pay back what the various government departments have stolen from us & messed up. Every decision seems to be worse than the one preceding it. We need to fight back more, rally together more, get the word out & get the point across, it is UNACCEPTABLE to us, the voters!
steelworker 4/1/2014 2:10:51 AM Report
Please F.O. back to Toronto with the rest of the Libs.
Gurpy 4/1/2014 8:09:43 AM Report
The Ontario Works Act states that both Ontario Works and odsp are accountable to the TAX PAYER! Does anyone hear the call?? If you have taxable income you have every right to question any and all decisions regarding the possibility of eliminating odsp!
BTW-government conveniently neglected to inform the tax payers of their rights in these matters!!They want the most vulnerable members of society at their mercy and without any backup! Go crazy tax payers! They`ve LIED to you once again!
ducky58 4/1/2014 8:38:54 AM Report
In that first photo they all have that same dead look on their faces. That I really don't want to be here. Get me out of this hell hole.
Lone24 4/1/2014 10:52:03 AM Report
Gurpy,I agree 100% with your comments. Like I said one time before this government is sounding a lot like the American government. The lies that we are hearing from our government has been going on for years. People have to start waking up and realize what is really going on. Here is a link everyone should watch. If you listen closely you will hear that it is the entire world that is involved not just America.
Gurpy 4/1/2014 11:43:04 AM Report
I wasn`t able to watch the video. I kept getting pop ups. Pretty sure I know what it`s about. Would`ve like to have seen it anyhow!
Lone24 4/1/2014 12:01:32 PM Report
Sorry to hear that Gurpy. Try typing in who are the illuminati in UTube.
Gurpy 4/1/2014 12:11:33 PM Report
With or without the video, I know exactly what is going on. No, I`m not a brain surgeon.
Lone24 4/1/2014 12:16:27 PM Report
Sorry Gurpy ,just thought you didn't know about it. There are a lot that don't and don't believe it.
Lone24 4/1/2014 12:22:31 PM Report
I meant to say there are a lot of people who don't realize these people are real and there are ones that do but don't wanna believe it.
Gurpy 4/1/2014 12:24:37 PM Report
Everything that is currently taking place was predicted a very long time ago. You`re right that not everyone believes it. "For lack of knowledge my people perish".
Gurpy 4/1/2014 1:12:30 PM Report
The "dead look" you refer to is the look of believing they have no way out. Some are not happy. This is not what they bargained for. There is a way out for those that want it.
swamp angel 4/1/2014 1:53:11 PM Report
Well folks, I'm thinking an election in Ontario just may be around the corner. And you can see just how hypocritical a government can be (all of them are.. right, left, and 'middle').
Today, we have Premier Wynne going on about the environment and introducing outrageously expensive and unsustainable "wind power" all over the Province.
On the other side of this environment concern, her government is now providing corporate welfare to Club Coffee in Toronto, who provide single serving coffee products. Five million dollars of your money will be given to this environmentally unfriendly business (single serve coffee is becoming a major source of trash).
It is not so much the fact that this business is not environmentally friendly, but is more about the hypocrisy as well as the theft in the form of taxes to give to a corporation - in an industry that is already growing fine, on it's own!
Even according to the government's own press release:
"Canadian single-serve hot beverage product sales, including coffee and tea, grew almost 70 per cent between 2012 and 2013, with sales close to $730 million.
The province exports more than $390 million worth of tea and coffee each year.
Ontario is home to Canada’s largest food and beverage processing sector, supporting 95,000 jobs and contributing more than $11 billion to the province’s GDP."
swamp angel 4/1/2014 2:00:54 PM Report
....and with regard to the export of coffee & tea... obviously, we imported it in the first place... talk about over transport of products and the concomitant waste of energy.... and the Tories' policy is "Never mind" and the NDP's is buy a rainforest or build a bicycle out of rice cakes. Feeling doomed?
Gurpy 4/1/2014 4:43:47 PM Report
The leaked budget report from the Sault Star says, 300 million for additional spending for front line government workers delivering services for vulnerable people. Yet, Wynne wants to eliminate ODSP? Why not raise the rates for disability? Where is the 300 million coming from? I thought we were broke? Are these people driving anyone else crazy?
ducky58 4/1/2014 8:08:58 PM Report
Gurpy4 Yes there is but even if they all were to resign they will still get that big retirement check so they win hands down.