Gas plant fiasco a 'steaming mess,' requires public inquiry: Horwath

ON NDP leader Andrea Horwath speaks with media at Queens Park in Toronto, ON



TORONTO - The Ontario gas plant controversy is a "steaming mess" that should be cleaned up with a public inquiry, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Friday.

The surfacing of new gas plant documents Thursday, in response to an order from a legislative committee investigating the cancellation of Oakville and Mississauga gas plants, caused an uproar at Queen's Park this week.

The Ontario government has maintained for months that there were no more relevant records.

"It's obvious this is one steaming mess that needs to be looked at with a separate set of unbiased eyes through a public inquiry process," Horwath said.

Despite her concern over the gas plant document dump, Horwath said she does not intend to withdraw her support for the government's throne speech - a move that would force a provincial election.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said issues relating to the relocation of the plants are being probed by the auditor general and will be before a government committee.

"I really don't think that spending another $20 or $25 million to put in place a third or fourth option to get the information out is necessary," Wynne said.

The New Democrats and Tories shared the view that the plants should not be located at their proposed sites, she said.

"If I could go back to the beginning of this whole discussion, I would wish that the decisions could have been made earlier," Wynne said.

Contracts had been signed for both natural gas plants and one was already under construction in Mississauga when the Liberal government pulled the plug, handing taxpayers a bill for at least $230 million.

Ontario Power Authority revealed Thursday that a new search turned up another 600 pages of documents.

"To make matters worse, there are still documents missing.

We still do not have any correspondence between OPA officials and staff in the premier's office, we only have limited documents about Project Vapour, Apple, Fruit Salad and Banana. And we still have yet to see any e-mails or correspondence from the premier or the minister of energy," Tory MPP Jim Wilson said, referring to the government code names for the gas plant projects.

Wilson said the Tories don't support Horwath's call for a public inquiry because they believe a government committee can get to the bottom of this controversy.

"I guess I don't share her lack of faith in parliamentary committees," Wilson said.

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