TORONTO - NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the June 12 election in Ontario is a "referendum on corruption."
Horwath is making several campaign stops around the Greater Toronto Area today, saying the party is hearing from some traditional Liberal or Progressive Conservative voters who say this time they will vote NDP.
She says Premier Kathleen Wynne "has been running from the Liberal record of scandal and she cannot get away from it."
Police investigating the alleged destruction of government documents related to the cancellation of two gas plants by the Liberals have asked for key records from the legislature.
Ontario Provincial Police are seeking visitors' logs and other records in the investigation that earlier determined some hard drives in the former premier Dalton McGuinty's office had been wiped clean of data.
Sgt. Pierre Chamberlain said the order delivered to the legislature gives 10 business days to produce the documents.
The NDP and the Progressive Conservatives are calling on Wynne to make those records public immediately.
Horwath says voters are "tired of the stench of corruption in this province and they want it cleaned up."
"This election is about corruption," she said in Toronto. "This is a referendum on corruption, this campaign."
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An Uphill Climb?
Kathleen Wynne is hoping Ontario voters can look past these five scandals when they cast their ballots on June 12. <em> (Information courtesy of The Canadian Press)</em>
Ontario's publicly funded air ambulance service has been under fire for almost two years over sky-high salaries, financial irregularities and corruption allegations. A legislative committee has been probing the service's complex structures and pay scales in detail, and opposition parties have been alleging wrongdoing with nearly every revelation. The auditor general has criticized the governing Liberals for failing to oversee Ornge, despite giving it $730 million over five years and allowing it to borrow another $300 million. The Liberals insist Ornge went rogue with a web of for-profit companies and questionable business deals, as well as exorbitant salaries and lavish expenses.
Cancelled Gas Plants
Scandal has swirled around the government's decision to cancel the construction of two Toronto-area gas plants ahead of the 2011 election, in which the government then led by Dalton McGuinty was reduced to minority status. The cancellation costs have now been pegged at $1.1 billion, but opposition parties have accused the Liberals of actively trying to cover up that figure. Ontario's privacy commissioner has concluded that staff working for McGuinty and a former energy minister broke the law by deleting emails pertaining to the project. Ontario Provincial Police are also investigating the document deletions, seizing government computers at both Queen's Park and beyond.
The provincial agency was given a $1-billion budget to develop electronic health records, but wound up building themselves a bad reputation. A lot of the eHealth money went for untendered contracts given to highly paid consultants who then billed taxpayers for additional expenses in a scandal that cost former health minister David Caplan his job. In 2009, the auditor general said the agency had very little progress to show for its efforts, and opposition parties have alleged further financial mismanagement since then.
The government has taken heat for not immediately acting when it learned a $1.4-billion infrastructure project didn't live up to safety standards. The Liberals were told that questionable materials were being used on the support beams on Windsor's Herb Gray Parkway in December 2012, but didn't halt the project until July. More than 500 support beams are being replaced by the project overseer at no cost to the tax payers, but the NDP has accused the Wynne government of trying to cover up the affair and only backing down when threatened with media exposure.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has hailed the 2015 games as a cause for celebration, but opposition parties call it just another scandal. The $1.4-billion budget for the games does not include some key expenses, like the $700 million athletes' village. The government has also come under fire for $7 million worth of bonuses paid out to 64 executives.
UP NEXT: The Many Faces Of Kathleen Wynne
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynn smiles as she arrives at the Toronto Blue Jays game against the New York Yankees during home opener AL baseball action in Toronto on Friday, April 4, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, left, and Glen Murray, Minister of Infrastructure, ride the subway while en route to Wynne's speech at the Toronto Region Board of Trade in Toronto Monday, April 14, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne attends question period at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is shown outside her office at Queen's Park in Toronto on Thursday, March 27, 2014. Wynne has distanced herself from her predecessor, former premier Dalton McGuinty, following police allegations one of his staffers may have committed breach of trust. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks to supporters and her caucus during the party's annual general meeting in Toronto on Saturday, March 22, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette