The first witness coming up at the Ontario Liberal gas scandal hearings tomorrow will be Alicia Johnston. Johnson is formerly a senior political staffer for Energy Minister Brad Duguid, later promoted to the Premier’s Office.
Discovered in one of the Gas Busters documents is a November 2010 email exchange where Johnston is talking about how the government needs to deal with the electricity scandals then going on, including public concern about upcoming rate increases outlined in the the government’s Long Term Energy Plan and the decision to cancel the Oakville power plant.
Given Johnston’s key roles on the power plant issues with both the Energy Minister and then the Premier, one might anticipate mountains of material in gas scandal FOI results and documents disclosed to the Justice Committee. Instead, we see a vanishing small record, particularly sparse in more recent times. Connecting these dots suggests that Johnston may be yet another senior Liberal lawbreaking public document scorcher.
In this 2010 email exchange, Johnston proposes to promote the Toronto Star’s Tyler Hamilton. She says, “We’ve got to get him out as an ‘expert’ commentator.” I have previously reviewed some of Hamilton’s electricity writings, concluding that he provides only “an information marshmallow — soft, sweet, and unhealthy.” Hamilton blocks me on Twitter. I have remarked on many individual instances of Toronto Star journalists being manipulated for the benefit of utilities and the Ontario government. Here is an example.
In the 2010 email exchange, Johnston goes on to complain that Tom Adams is “killing me”.
The recipient of the email is a senior Ontario Power Authority executive Ben Chin. Chin was then a recently unsuccessful Liberal candidate, recycled as trusted government electricity communications advisor on the OPA’s sumptuous payroll. Chin writes back about how to manage a productive relationship with Hamilton. Chin says the government needs to “make Tyler feel special. We need to throw him some work. He doesn’t need it, but everyone likes feeling wanted. I really want to engage him for central. It would be a good score.” However, Chin also warns Johnston that industry experts listen to Adams and that Adams is “very very dangerous and beyond our control”.
The exchange is contained here:
The one year anniversary of my Gas Busters series is coming up at the beginning of October. As always, any serious comments of general interest to my readers are welcome, but I’d particularly appreciate an update from Liberal supporters about on how they feel about my site now.
The last witness tomorrow will be Kevin Spafford. Folks who have seen Part 57 of this series, particularly the complete attached affidavit from the FOI administrator in the current Premier’s Office, will recognize Spafford as yet another known senior McGuinty lawbreaking public document scorcher.
Post Script (August 26, 6:02 pm):
Scott Luft, an extremely astute observer of Ontario energy developments, posted an interesting tweet in reply to this post. The November 2010 email exchange discussed in this post contains a remark that I would not appreciated the importance of without Scott’s prompting. Ben Chin recommends, “We need to throw him (Tyler Hamilton) some work.” Scott tweeted, “@tomadamsenergy oh my .. looks like Hamilton WAS given report writing work in order to remain a marshmellow http://www.cleanbreak.ca/2011/05/03/ontario-making-progress-on-smart-grid-development/ …” On twitter I have asked “Hey @Go2CleanBreak (Tyler Hamilton’s twitter account), care to share how much the Ontario government and its puppets have paid you and associates like Corporate Knights?”
I highly recommend Scott’s web site: http://morecoldair.blogspot.ca/
Post Script (August 26, 7:10 pm)
Check out this YouTube video of Ben Chin selling Tyler Hamilton’s book at an event hosted at the Ontario government’s MARS facility. Notice how neatly the timing works out. Listen to Chin at 1:40 into the video of making it appear that Hamilton is an independent journalist.