Column – The Liberal Version of Transparency

March 3, 2014

By Jim McDonell

We have only been back two weeks and already we see the same old rhetoric from the Liberal government.  Premier Wynne talks of transparency, but fails to follow through time and time again.

The session started with the issuance of a search warrant by the OPP to get at details of the gas plant cancellation cover-up and the illegal deletion of government records.  Premier Wynne stands in Question Period to brag that it was her Liberal government that brought in the new laws about the retention of government records, but fails to explain why she feels that her Liberal government does not have to abide by these same laws.  At the Standing Committee of Government Agencies, we see continued stalling over the release of Metrolinx documents by the government.  The first attempt to introduce and vote on the motion occurred at the December 3, 2013 meeting.  Since then, the Liberal members on the committee have enacted a practice of recesses, amendments and filibustering to delay the release of any documents until after a possible spring election.  We have been trying to bring this motion to a vote at four meetings, two of them started 30 minutes early to allow for the vote and we have yet to have the vote called.  Clearly the government is worried about something that the release of these documents would reveal and is desperate to keep it from the public.

Unfortunately, the rhetoric is not limited to the Liberal government.  For months, the NDP have been criticizing the liberal government, calling them corrupt and telling them that the people of the province desperately need a change.  Last week the NDP had the chance to follow  through on commitment to the people of Ontario, when the government submitted an Interim Supply Motion last Monday.  The motion was a confidence issue and would have brought down the government if defeated. The NDP voted for the dozen or so motions and the associated bill, allowing the Liberal government to hang on to power.

Also last week, PC MPP Vic Fedeli introduced an opposition day motion to stop any further tax increases, including the proposed Liberal gas tax to cover transit in the Greater Toronto Area.  After speaking in favour of the motion, the NDP members vacated the house before the vote, leaving only three members, ensuring that the motion would be defeated.

The McGuinty/Wynne government has eroded people’s trust in government with all their failed promises and lack of transparency.  We heard of promises to not raise taxes, managing the energy file and proper funding of health care, only to see more than one hundred tax and fee increases, sky-rocketing hydro rates and cuts in transfers to our local municipalities and to health care services because the increases do not keep pace with inflation.  If they hadn’t wasted billions of dollars on boondoggles such as gas plant closures, E-Health and ORNGE, maybe some of Ontarians’ hard earned dollars could deliver services or remain in their families’ pockets.