“Confusing”. To Dalton McGuinty the rules about retaining or deleting email correspondence involving staff in the Premier’s Office as well as senior ministries remains confusing. To the taxpayer who has been required to dig evermore deeply into his and her pockets to pay for the McGuinty government’s record of misspending hearing the departed, but mostly unlamented Premier offer so feeble a non-explanation about the trashing of email correspondence dealing with the cancelling of gas plants slated for Oakville and Mississauga was at the very least distasteful and served only to feed into public cynicism about the political process and those who manage that process. “The rules here are confusing and they cry out for clarity” were McGuinty’s exact words before a justice committee investigating the trashing of gas plant related internal communication. This couldn’t possibly be the best the former occupant of the corner office at Queens Park had to offer in his second appearance in as many months, could it?
Confusion was non-existent for Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian. Had Mr. McGuinty wished to address his and his senior staffers lack of comprehension concerning which records and correspondence must be retained and which may be wiped off the record, a quick email to Ms. Cavoukian would have provided answers. “It’s called the Archives and Recordkeeping Act, not the Record Deleting Act” was the Privacy Commissioner’s testy testimony before the same justice committee. Cavoukian’s dismissive statement was directed toward Chris Morley, Dalton McGuinty’s former Chief of Staff who earlier informed the justice committee there exist “99 reasons why staff are directed to delete documents”. The Liberals have suggested training in record-keeping be instituted. Immediately the goofy video of U.S. IRS employees receiving instructions in line dancing during taxpayer funded seminars on job skills improvement came to mind. Line dancing appears exactly what the Liberals have engaged in as far as being forthcoming on details of the cost of cancellation of the gas plants is concerned. Line after ludicrous line, according to Ms. Cavoukian. What is significantly disturbing is how Tim Hudak’s PCs and Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats are playing politics with this issue, as well as the questions of public accountability it brings to the table
. McGuinty was correct when he told the justice committee “this is a partisan exercise. This is not about finding the truth.” It isn’t. The Liberals are engaged in a desperate attempt to not suffer a fate similar to their federal cousins in 2011. The Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats meanwhile are engaged in playing position politics with an issue which may have cost Ontario taxpayers north of half a billion dollars. The PCs and the NDP are attempting to score bankable headline quotes to be withdrawn in time for the next provincial election. Were that not the case, they would by now have combined forces to bring to an end a Liberal era at Queens Park and turned the matter of who will next govern the province over to voters. Voters who can’t be blamed for viewing all three parties through the lens of contempt for politics as usual.
Article by: Roy Green
Roy Green is the host of Corus Radio Network’s national show – The Roy Green Show, heard locally on weekends on AM900 CHML