Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 7272 votes: 3
Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:47 am Post subject:
Former top Ontario Liberal aide found guilty of destroying documents in gas plants case
By Colin Perkel — Canadian Press. Published on Jan 19, 2018 4:24pm
The remains of the 800-megawatt gas-fired power plant, which had its construction canceled by the then Liberal Government of Ontario prior to the provincial general election of 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
TORONTO — A former top political aide in Ontario has been found guilty of illegally destroying documents related to a controversial government decision to cancel two gas plants before a provincial election.
David Livingston, chief of staff for former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty, was charged with attempted mischief and illegal use of a computer. The destroyed documents were related to the Ontario Liberal government’s costly decision to cancel two gas plants in 2011. Livingston’s deputy, Laura Miller, was found not guilty.
Judge Timothy Lipson, who presided over the case, said Livingston was a sophisticated individual who knew exactly what he was doing.
Lipson also said the political context around Livingston’s actions was highly relevant. That context was the growing pressure in 2012 and early 2013 for the Liberal government to account for the cancellation of the two plants.
“No issues were more challenging or more dangerous to the minority Liberal government than those related to the gas plants controversy,” Lipson said. “This was the grim political backdrop.”
Livingston was openly dismissive of stern warnings and advice about his obligations to retain and produce gas-plant records a legislative committee had been demanding as it sought a contempt finding against the then-minister of energy, Lipson said.
It defies common sense and reality, Lipson said, to suggest that wholesale wiping of 20 hard drives in the outgoing premier’s office was in accordance with policy.
While he was advised about retaining records, Lipson said, Livingston was “more interested in deleting them.”
The fact that Livingston failed to warn the cabinet secretary that the wiping of 20 hard drives would be “indiscriminate” was even more serious than hiring Miller’s spouse, Peter Faist — who had no security clearance — to do the job.
“(Livingston) could not have honestly believed that he had the secretary’s authorization to do what he did,” Lipson said.
Lipson said he could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Miller knew Livingston had “fraudulently” obtained permission to access the drives, what records they had been warned to keep, and why it was so inappropriate to hire her spouse to do the wiping.
As a result, the judge said, it was possible she was unaware of the illegalities perpetrated by her boss, even though she was intimately aware of the political context in which the wiping was happening.
Lipson’s decision comes just months before McGuinty’s successor, Premier Kathleen Wynne, faces voters in what is expected to be a closely fought general election and the opposition were quick to pounce.
“It’s a sad day when a premier’s most senior official is found guilty of trying to orchestrate a cover-up of the $1.1 billion gas plant scandal,” Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said in a statement. “The guilty verdict is an indictment of the 15 years of Liberal political corruption that has long been rooted in the premier’s office.”
The Crown had earlier dropped a charge of breach of trust against Livingston and Miller.
Joined: 04 Oct 2006
Posts: 7634 votes: 21
Location: The World
Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:27 am Post subject:
I think anyone viewing the situation regarding the Power Plant cancellations in Oakville & Mississauga as anything other than politically motivated is being naive.
Oakville, Mississauga South, and Etobicoke Lakeshore are usually swing ridings that sit on the Government side of the aisle, to argue that the cancellation of both plants didn't at least assist in the retention of these ridings during election campaigns is challenging.
The problem here is that the buck stops with David Livingston.
While I want to better understand why Parliament was Prorogued as the Minister of Energy was on the cusp of being held in contempt of Parliament for being accused of failing to release 20,000 documents pertaining cancellation of the Power Plants.
I would also like to better understand if the timing of the contempt motion and the resignation of the Premier or the timing of the Prorogue have anything to do with each other.
We likely won't even get those answers as evidence either damning or clearing may have been lost on those hard drives.
The issue here is that we are largely at the end of the road;
Livingston takes the hit and whatever likely minimal punishment will come with it and we don't get any further answers.
We don't have rule of law in Canada. There is no practical way the premier can be convicted, as this case illustrates.
I wondered, at the time that Wynne testified at the trial, how come she wasn't on the list of perps. Everyone in the room had to know it, but it had to be 'proved' at a much higher standard because of her exalted position.
Why does his accomplice and her husband get to walk? Another example of our courts' inability to treat men and women equally.
Livingstone is being convicted on the smallest charge he could be charged with. He was destroying evidence, for one thing, and he was stealing public property!
There is every reason to think that this is all 'fixed' and Livingstone will be rewarded for taking a hit for the team.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum You cannot attach files in this forum You cannot download files in this forum