04/07/2016 13:32 EDT | Updated 04/08/2017 01:12 EDT

Liberals accuse PC Leader of raising issues in legislature on behalf of donors

TORONTO — Ontario's Liberals deflected calls for a public inquiry into their fundraising practices by accusing the Opposition of raising issues in the legislature on behalf of donors to the Progressive Conservatives party.

Deputy premier Deb Matthews calls it "pretty strange" that the first bill introduced by PC Leader Patrick Brown was to lower estate taxes, especially when the Tories got donations from tax planners who wanted such a change.

Matthews also says Brown asked a question in the legislature about doctors' pay after the Ontario Medical Association sponsored a Progressive Conservative convention.

But Brown calls the Liberals desperate, and says they're trying to smear him instead of dealing with concerns about how they solicited money from lobbyists who wanted government contracts and grants.

He says the Liberals "turned government business into a money-making machine for the Liberal party" by imposing fundraising quotas of up to $500,000 each for cabinet minister.

Brown says the Liberals are attacking him rather than respond to his call for a public inquiry, which he insists is the only way to ensure the truth will come out.

"Only a public inquiry, like we've seen in Quebec, will show and ensure the truth is out there," he said. "The reason that they don't want to answer the question on a public inquiry is because they are petrified of it."


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The Canadian Press