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Ontario — Liberals deny more gas plant documents exist

Alex Ballingall — Toronto Star — November 9, 2012

The Ontario government says documents the opposition wants to see on the controversial and costly cancellation of two Ontario gas plants don’t exist. But the NDP isn’t buying it.

The party is accusing Premier Dalton McGuinty of “extraordinary stonewalling” after a freedom of information request for documents on the scrapped gas plants — code-named “Project Vapour” — came back with nothing.

“We received notice back that no such documents exist,” said New Democrat MPP Peter Tabuns (Toronto—Danforth), noting emails on Project Vapour have already been released.

“If it wasn’t so Kafkaesque it would be completely farcical.”

Tabuns told reporters that previously released emails from the premier’s office prove “without a doubt” that there are more documents on the Liberals’ hotly disputed move to cancel construction of gas-fired power plants in Oakville and Mississauga, costing taxpayers at least $230 million.

He said he doesn’t rule out Liberal “incompetence” to explain why his party’s request for information reaped nothing.

Controversy over the plants swelled at Queen’s Park in recent months as opposition parties clambered to pin Energy Minister Chris Bentley with a historic contempt motion for withholding information on the issue.

The gas plants, cancelled before the provincial election on Oct. 6, 2011, faced strong local opposition in key Liberal ridings the government didn’t want to lose.

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