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More documents on cancelled GTA gas plants unearthed

Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli informed the legislature Thursday that more docyments relating to the cancelled GTA power plants have been unearthed, outraging the Opposition. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

More documents relating to the two cancelled GTA gas plants have surfaced, months after the Liberal minority government said everything had already been disclosed.

Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli told the legislature Thursday that the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has uncovered additional documents that are now being compiled and tabled in the House.

Last fall, the Liberals said that all 36,000 documents relating to the cancelled gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga had been released. But another 20,000 documents surfaced a month later.

OPA’s CEO Colin Andersen and board chair James Hinds held a news conference early Thursday afternoon saying 67 new documents were inadvertently overlooked because some search terms hadn’t been used.

“We are in the business of producing electricity, not producing documents,” Hinds said. “I don’t think cover up is the right way to describe it. We messed up some search terms.”

Thursday’s announcement outraged the Opposition with NDP Leader Andrea Horwath accusing the Liberals of a deliberate cover up.

“This has been an ongoing process of obfuscation of the facts by this government. That’s what the ongoing process has been,” she said.

“Does the premier have any explanation whatsoever for the people of this province or any justification on how this kind of thing can happen in a democratic society?”

Premier Kathleen Wynne said that it’s an ongoing process and that the documents are part of a complicated search process that the legislature requested.

“What would really be a problem is if those documents didn’t come forward,” she said. “The fact is they are coming forward. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t know that there were more. But they are coming forward and that’s as it should be.”

On Wednesday, the Opposition parties joined forces to send a contempt of Parliament motion over the release of the gas plant documents to the justice committee.

This contempt issue was suspended when the House was prorogued by former premier Dalton McGuinty in mid-October.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, meanwhile, has said he wants to hold an election as soon as possible. He said he would vote against the Liberal throne speech and has said he won’t support a Liberal budget.

With files from The Canadian Press