Ever wonder why the description: “Honest Politician” has become an oxymoron?
The following “glimpse” inside the e mails surrounding the Gas Plant Scandal should dispel any doubt that Politics today are nothing more than a “cesspool of very lowly and dishonourable elected officials” who are swept up in what at one time “used to be an honourable profession”!
If people in the private sector ever tried to conduct business in the manner that “politicians” do, they wouldn’t last any longer than the one and only day they started working.
Some of the following e mails are so foreign and unbelievable to an ordinary honest hard working Ontario Citizen that the following expose may cause nausea and eventually some degree of outrage!
More than 1,300 pages of emails from Ontario Liberal staffers were released concerning the controversial closing of two power plants. The most interesting and revelatory exchanges are outlined below. Read the related story.
KAREN HOWLETT AND STUART A. THOMPSON The Globe and Mail Saturday, Aug. 10 2013
Behind the cancellation
On July 10, 2012, the government reveals the tab for scrapping the power plant in Mississauga midway through construction: $190-million.
The next day, Liberal staffers react to a statement by then-Energy Minister Chris Bentley over who made the controversial decision to pull the plug.
Mr. Bentley, who was appointed Energy Minister following the 2011 provincial election, does not say who made the decision to pull the plug.
He tells a legislative committee that it was the Liberal re-election campaign that made the decision.
This does not go over well in then-Premier Dalton McGuinty’s office. His chief of staff, David Livingston, forwards news stories quoting Mr. Bentley to his deputy, Laura Miller, along with his shocked comment: “Really?!”
In an effort to regain control over the narrative, Ms. Miller says Mr. Bentley must “communicate and own it,” according to a July 11 e-mail. “Governments make the decisions here not OLP Platforms or Press Releases.”
Neala Barton, Mr. McGuinty’s press secretary, is dispatched to tell Mr. Bentley he needs to make it clear that it was the Premier who made the decision, not the campaign.
Only 19 minutes after Ms. Barton said she was on her way, she reports back with his reaction. “Response: ‘duly noted,’” Mr. Barton says in an e-mail. “He says he’ll consider a change.”
He did indeed change his tune. There was little mention of the campaign after that.
Behind the narrative
On Sept. 13, 2012, the Speaker of the legislature rules evidence exists that then-Energy Minister Chris Bentley breached his privileges by refusing to release gas plant documents to a legislative committee. The ruling leaves Mr. Bentley facing a rare contempt of Parliament censure.
Neala Barton, press secretary to then-Premier Dalton McGuinty, suggests a good news story to divert attention from gas plants: the government will ban the use of tanning beds by people under the age of 18.
The announcement generated significant press coverage at the time including a story by The Canadian Press published by The Globe.
Behind the documents
The Speaker of the legislature said all three parties have until Sept. 24, 2012 to reach an agreement on when the gas plant documents should be released.
Liberal staffers believe releasing the documents would be the “worst case” scenario and made contingency plans to guide the narrative through the media.
The Friday before, Laura Miller, deputy chief of staff to the Premier, says in an e-mail to three of Mr. McGuinty’s closest advisers – Chris Morley and Don Guy, both former chiefs of staff, and his brother, Brendan – that she is “planning for the worst case” scenario, because it does not look like the opposition will agree to delay the release of the documents.
Ms. Miller’s Sept. 21 e-mail lays out a media strategy for the next seven days, beginning on Sunday with government House Leader John Milloy issuing a statement, “slamming the opposition for putting politics ahead of public interest.”
On Monday afternoon, release the gas plant documents to the media. On Tuesday, have the Premier travel to Oakville for media availability “surrounded by supporters of decision [to cancel the plant in that community].”
On Thursday, release legislation freezing public sector wages.
That same day, Mr. Milloy pledged in an interview with The Canadian Press to release the gas plant documents on Sept. 24 – a deadline that the Premier had suggested was merely when the house leaders had to agree on when to release the documents.
Ms. Miller expresses her frustration with Mr. Milloy for not sticking to his “key messages” and considers muzzling him.
“I know we have this preference to put out elected officials,” Ms. Miller says in a Sept. 21 e-mail to Neala Barton, the Premier’s press secretary. “But strike him off the list. This is the second time he’s done this.”
However, the Premier’s office does not follow through on the threat and Mr. Milloy continues to speak on behalf of the government.
In politics, Ms. Miller says in response to questions from The Globe, “wires get crossed on occasion. In this instance, I chose to express my frustration in a private email exchange and then move on.”
Another string of e-mails the same day reveals attempts to pressure the Speaker into changing his ruling.
Ms. Miller says her fellow deputy, Dave Gene, is putting the “member from Brant” – a reference to Dave Levac, a Liberal MPP who represents the riding of Brant – “on notice that we need better here.”
The Speaker does not change his mind on his ruling, later saying he has never bowed to pressure.
“I have never felt unable to make an informed, objective and procedurally sound decision, free of political interference,” he said in a statement after the e-mails were made public.
“The fact that the ruling did stand should also speak for itself.”
In her testimony at a legislative committee probing the power plant cancellations, Ms. Miller said the “quickly-written” e-mail exchange regarding the Speaker has been “misinterpreted and torqued.” She said it was her intention to inform the Speaker that she was unhappy with the Progressive Conservatives, because she said they were determined to pursue Mr. Bentley for contempt, regardless of whether the government released documents on the power plants.
The Liberal chairman of the committee barred questions on the e-mail exchange.