Tories want jail time over email purgery

(Updated) The Progressive Conservatives say it’s time for someone in the Liberal government to go to jail over the power-plant scandal, and they’re trying to make that happen.

The Tories wrote to the commissioner of the OPP today calling for a criminal investigation into this power plant scandal. They think they may have found a way for some of those involved in cancelling the power plants to be hauled into court.

In the legislature, Conservative MPP Lisa McLeod read from the Criminal Code of Canada to premier Kathleen Wynne: “every official who in the commission of his duties commits fraud or breach of trust is guilty of an indictable offence.”

And the Tories are making the case of criminal activity around the political, election decision to cancel gas-fired power plants in Mississauga and Oakville, costing the public $585 million.

Ontario’s privacy commission has found that two chiefs of staff in the former McGuinty government broke the law on government record keeping by destroying e-mails about the plants.

That law doesn’t carry any penalties. But the Tories maintain that McGuinty officials may have stolen documents by copying them onto USB computer sticks. Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli declared “these vital records are government and taxpayer property. Until they are returned they should be considered stolen.”

They also call this a breach of trust.

Premier Wynne admits “this should not have happened. I have committed to making changes.” She maintains she’s changed the way e-mails are handled, and she wasn’t the one who made those bad decisions.

“Those were decisions that were made by other people in other conversations and I wasn’t part of those conversations. I wasn’t in those rooms.”

The Tories are also calling on the NDP to help them defeat the scandal-plagued government, but NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns says that would just cut off a legislature committee’s investigation into the power plant scandal. “We want the justice committee to continue its investigation. If there was an election right now that would be swept away.”

In the meantime, Fedeli and the Conservatives are pressing for criminal charges. “I hope that the threat of jail doors slamming behind them will finally get taxpayers the truth about this corrupt Liberal government.”

The Conservatives here are saying the Privacy Commissioner’s report that found McGuinty officials broke the law says the deleted e-mails were copied onto USB sticks. This report does not actually say that.

There are a couple of passing references to copying electronic documents, but the privacy commissioner’s office was trying to figure out today exactly what the Tories were referring to. It’s also not clear whether the Conservatives were going on information from some other source.

But as it stands, CHCH News has not heard whether the OPP is going to launch that criminal investigation.