Ontario NDP calls new Liberal leader to call inquiry over gas plant cancellation

NDP leader Andrea Horwath speaks with media at Queens Park in Toronto, ON on Mon. Jan. 28, 2013.



TORONTO - Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath is setting a new condition in front of incoming premier Kathleen Wynne - call a public inquiry into the gas plant cancellation or face a dysfunctional legislature.

"One thing about a public inquiry - they're prorogue-proof," Horwath said Monday.

Horwath - who was set to speak to Wynne later in the day, for the first time since her Liberal leadership convention win - said her predecessor Premier Dalton McGuinty blocked Ontarians from finding out the truth about two gas plant relocations before the last general election.

"The new premier has to do better," Horwath said.

Horwath is Wynne's best bet to reach some sort of deal to keep the minority legislature going if she wants time to find her feet in the new job. The Liberal boss reached out to the NDP in her first press conference, naming youth unemployment and social services improvements among her top priorities.

But the new condition Horwath is imposing could make that difficult, as a public inquiry into the gas plant would be an unwelcome drag on their efforts to distance Wynne from the last few years of McGuinty's reign.

Moving the two plants from unpopular and politically sensitive ridings has cost taxpayers at least $240 million.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said he was optimistic he could convince Wynne to cut back on spending on focus on job creation - despite her comments to the contrary in her first news conference Sunday.

"You wouldn't get into this business if you weren't hopeful," Hudak said.

"I am concerned that the first 48 hours under the incoming premier sound a lot like the last decade under Dalton McGuinty. Ontario is on the wrong path and we need to take action."

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