Ontario Liberal Party Leader, Dalton McGuinty, speaks during the annual Liberal meeting at the Ottawa Convention Centre Saturday September 29, 2012.
Credits: Darren Brown/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency
TORONTO - Energy Minister Chris Bentley has been ordered before a legislative committee after a historic contempt of parliament vote.
Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats combined to vote 53 to 50 in favour of sending Bentley before the finance committee, which will determine if he is in contempt and what penalty should be brought against him.
PC MPP Rob Leone moved the motion and there was no surprise as Tories voted in favour. But Liberals cried "shame, shame" as NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and her caucus stood to vote in favour, ending the last chance Bentley had of avoiding the indignity of being the first MPP in more than a hundred years to face a similar ruling.
Premier Dalton McGuinty had made a last ditch appeal to the opposition parties to ease up on Bentley - who could potentially face jail time or expulsion from the Law Society, although both are unlikely.
Horwath accepted McGuinty's plea to allow her caucus to vote freely on the issue but it made no difference as they all stood to send Bentley down.
Speaker Dave Levac called Bentley on the carpet for failing to produce government documents on the decision to kill two unpopular gas plant projects close to election time.
The Tories and NDP demanded the documents in committee but Bentley refused, arguing disclosing them would hurt the government's chances to get the best settlement possible with the companies contracted to build the plants.
Levac ultimately set a deadline for production of the papers and Bentley met it - announcing at the same time as a settlement with the last outstanding company.
But the opposition remained unsatisfied, saying the disclosure was incomplete.
The vote means the legislature will now re-strike the finance committee for hearings. The committee will be able to call witnesses on the matter and is expected to return with a final determination in late November.