Congrats to Karen Howlett and Adrian Morrow of the Globe & Mail for breaking an important story on Prichard’s connection to the gas scandal. I have been pursuing Prichard’s connection through FOI since last November, but getting stonewalled at every turn.
Notice that Prichard was appointed to McGuinty’s Economic Advisory Panel in the midst of the gas plant negotiations but prior to what we now know about his involvement in the gas negotiations. Notice also that Prichard’s role was not addressed in the Auditor General’s report.
I believe that Rob Prichard was effectively the OPA’s negotiator but that the OPA didn’t hire him and he may not have reported to the OPA. Rather, he was parachuted in by Bentley or McGuinty and appears to have reported through the Deputy Minister Serge Imbrogno, who previously testified to the Justice Policy Committee of the Ontario Legislature but did not indicate any connection with Mr. Prichard.
My FOI appeal now in the hands of the Information and Privacy Commissioner is also likely to yield new information on the role of Mr. Prichard, if the documents connecting McGuinty and Prichard have not been destroyed. One of the reasons I have been denied access to documents that I believe relate to Mr. Prichard is with reference to solicitor-client privilege. I note that privilege only applies to legal advice. To the extent that Mr. Prichard was giving advice related to commercial negotiations, I take the position that no privilege exists.
The Justice Policy Committee must call Mr. Prichard to answer some key questions:
How did Mr. Prichard get the assignment? Who did Mr. Prichard report to?
Was it Mr. Prichard’s job to get a deal with EIG and Eastern before the July 9, 2012 committee appearance of Minister Bentley so that the minister could make a good announcement?
How is it that ratepayers made an interest-free loan to Eastern?
What was Mr. Prichard’s role in EIG getting paid out at more than two time the Criminal Code rate of interest?