Charges laid against two former McGuinty aides in gas plants scandal

(Screenshot: Office of the Auditor General of Ontario)
(Photo: Office of the Auditor General of Ontario)

BY KELLY ROCHE

Two aides to former Premier Dalton McGuinty are facing criminal charges in relation to deleted e-mails linked to the cancellation of gas plants, Ontario Provincial Police announced Thursday.
OPP are calling it “a complex investigation into allegations of wrongdoing involving the handling of computer data.”
Former chief of staff David Livingston, 63, of Toronto, and former deputy chief Laura Miller, 36, of Vancouver, are charged with breach of trust, mischief in relation to data, and misuse of a computer system to commit the offence of mischief.
Both are denying any wrongdoing.
Police began the anti-rackets investigation in June 2013.
The charges are linked to the destruction of hard drives, filled with government correspondence detailing the cancellation of two gas plants in south Mississauga and Oakville prior to the 2011 provincial election.
The Liberals were re-elected but reduced to a minority government, winning seats in the affected ridings; the Mississauga plant was at 2315 Loreland Ave., just north of The Queensway, east of Dixie Rd.
Mississauga South MPP Charles Sousa “did win as a result” of McGuinty “intervening and ensuring that that gas plant was moved in the middle of an election,” said Conservative Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod.
“It did change the course of the 2011 election. It struck to the very heart of our Ontario democracy.”
Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk determined the cancellations – and moving the plants near Kingston and Sarnia – could cost ratepayers up to $1.1 billion over 20 years. Backlash prompted McGuinty’s resignation in 2012, and current Premier Kathleen Wynne won the leadership but the scandal continues to haunt her.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath issued a statement addressing the charges, saying “Ontarians deserve a government that holds itself to the highest ethical standards and puts the public interest first…”
Miller, who left the province to work for British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, announced her resignation from the B.C. Liberal party Thursday, while Mississauga ratepayers weighed in on the news.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Chris Dufour.
“I mean, the level of the scandal is incredible … it cost more to cancel than the cost of making the plant.”
Jay Perez said “as a taxpayer, I’m not into wasting my money. I don’t think it’s fair for us.”
Students Tommy Phan and Vanessa Chen said they’ve got their own debt to worry about, on top of the provincial deficit.
“It kind of sucks to think that our hard-earned money is going to be taxed toward something that’s been cancelled, rather than something that’s allowing our economy to progress,” said Phan.
Chen said “it’s very upsetting.”
Daniel Major said “when the government is trying to cover something … it’s not the right thing.”
McGuinty is not the target of the police investigation.
None of the charges against Miller or Livingston have been proven in court, where they are scheduled to appear January 27 in Toronto.
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