Gas Busters Part 68: What I Did Say at Justice Policy Committee

The transcript of my April 23, 2014 appearance at the Justice Policy Committee is now available on the Ontario Legislature web site here. An annotated version of the transcript of that appearance follows (with a few minor errors corrected in parentheses).

(note: The annotations that I intend to add to this posting are incomplete. In the interests of making this information available as quickly as possible, I am posting this draft until a more complete set of annotations are available.)

STANDING COMMITTEE ON
JUSTICE POLICY

COMITÉ PERMANENT
DE LA JUSTICE

Wednesday 23 April 2014 Mercredi 23 avril 2014

MEMBERS’ PRIVILEGES

MR. TOM ADAMS

The committee met at 1406 in room 151.

MEMBERS’ PRIVILEGES

MR. TOM ADAMS

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Chers collègues, j’appelle à l’ordre cette séance du Comité permanent de la justice. Je voudrais accueillir notre prochain présentateur, M. Tom Adams, who will be affirmed by our able Clerk.

The Clerk of the Committee (Ms. Tamara Pomanski): Do you solemnly affirm that the evidence you shall give to this committee touching the subject of the present inquiry shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Mr. Tom Adams: I do.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Mr. Adams. Five minutes for your opening address begins now.

Mr. Tom Adams: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Members, I’m an electricity consultant and researcher. I’ve been investigating and reporting on the gas scandal, including the work of this committee, for two and a half years. My findings, and all of your exhibits up until May 2013, are posted in searchable form on the Gas Busters section of tomadamsenergy.com.

The evidence before you represents an unprecedented record of the inner workings of a systemic failure. So that we might avoid such weakness in future, citizens must have access to your record. I urge you to ensure that your vast library of exhibits be placed online in a properly archived structure, with all content searchable. I have done my best, but Gas Busters is only current to a point. Making all original gas scandal documents accessible should be a taxpayer expense rather than a private one.

The Legislature, in its mandate, ordered you to report. I ask you to heed this wise direction. While the gas plant cancellation and relocation costs are small in the context of Ontario’s soaring electricity bill, there is a scandal here that must be laid bare. Customers deserve answers to the questions contained in your mandate.

I submit to you that answers to the questions the Legislature passed to you can be summarized in the following 12 points.

An engineered cover-up centred around the offices—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Mr. Adams, just as you continue—time has stopped for a moment—I’m just looking at your 12 points. I’d just invite you to please use parliamentary language. I think, as you can sort of discern on your own, there are a number of words here that are, I think, not appropriate before this committee, so I’d perhaps—I mean, you’re welcome to go through your points, but you might want to restructure some of the words in there. Please continue.

Mr. Tom Adams: An engineered information management approach, centred around the offices of Premier McGuinty and Minister Bentley, was in place. This engineered information management approach included planned, coordinated avoidance of documentation; public business communication transacted on private networks; illegal email destruction and possibly cybercrime.

The phrase “information management” is my improvised solution for what I believe should more accurately be called a “cover-up”.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair, on a point of order.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Mr. Delaney, a point of order.

Mr. Bob Delaney: I counted three unsubstantiated allegations in that second statement alone.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): I believe your point is well taken.

Notice that I have announced that I am summarizing the evidence in the case, MPP Delaney accuses me of summarizing without citations (which is the point of my summary), and the Chair finds in Mr. Delaney’s favour. The Chair’s ruling indicates that summaries of findings cannot gain standing in Committee discussion — an absurd notion. Notice that later when he has an opportunity to cross-examine me, Mr. Delaney does not question me on any substantiation for my summary points. Had I an opportunity to address the elements of the cover-up listed here, one reference substantiating my claim of a “coordinated avoidance of documentation” was Mr. McGuinty’s testimony that during his time as Premier, he didn’t use a computer. The Information and Privacy Commission provided extensive documentation of avoidance of creating records.

I remind you, Mr. Adams, you are before a parliamentary committee, as you are very well aware.

Mr. Jagmeet Singh: Point of order.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Before I offer the floor to Mr. Singh, I’d just invite you to please, once again, respectfully contour your language to make it parliamentary.

Mr. Singh.

Mr. Jagmeet Singh: I just want to clarify a couple of points. Parliamentary language is a prescription that’s applied to parliamentarians in the course of question period and in the course of comments made in the House. The testimony at committee should be unfettered. An individual comes before this committee for the purpose of seeking the truth, and they’re able to adduce any evidence they wish to. There’s absolutely no precedent set for fettering the speech of a witness.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): I thank you, Mr. Singh. Parliamentary language is applied to parliamentary committees. I am not, by the way, ruling solely out of my own wisdom here; this is the collective opinion of our team on this side. These are unparliamentary, and therefore I have respectfully requested the witness to contour the language. I’m not interrupting him on going through these points, but I think, as Mr. Delaney pointed out in his point of order, which is accurate and well taken, that language is unparliamentary. Thank you.

The debate between MPP Singh and Chair Qaadri seems significant. If anyone can reference precedents on either side, that would be appreciated.

Mr. Adams, your time resumes now.

Mr. Tom Adams: Experts advised that replacement generation for Lakeview’s coal power be sited at Lakeview, but politics intervened.

Mr. Bob Delaney: There again, Chair, he has made an allegation that this committee has not found to be substantiated.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Mr. Delaney, I’m going to let that one go. I think there’s a threshold of language that I’m being very cautious of. There’s no objection there.

Please, Mr. Adams, continue.

Mr. Tom Adams: The energy ministry’s 2005 decision to accept a lowball price from Eastern Power backfired. Cancelling the original contracts was all about electoral advantage but created a hole in the western GTA’s power supply. The Ontario—

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair?

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Mr. Delaney.

Mr. Bob Delaney: There is an allegation there that is completely unsubstantiated. He has claimed that it has “created a hole in the western GTA’s … supply,” an assertion made without any form of substantiation, and talked about something about electoral advantage, and I’m going to accuse him of exactly that.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Mr. Delaney. Whether the hole is there, whether it’s half full or half empty, is a matter of opinion.

Here are a couple of notes on the hole in SWGTA’s power supply that I didn’t get a chance to present:
OPA on Southwest GTA: “Transmission generally has more significant effects on land use and communities, and typically engenders more community opposition than local generation solutions. For this reason, the local generation option is deemed more preferable from a societal acceptance perspective.” See page 16 from this piece on the SWGTA from
the IPSP: http://www.powerauthority.on.ca/sites/default/files/page/4881_E-5-3_corrected_071019.pdf

This decision led to the SWGTA procurement and the selection of TransCanada to build in Oakville: http://www.powerauthority.on.ca/procurement-archive/southwest-greater-toronto-area

OPA noted that “If a plant were located outside the southwest GTA, the local transmission infrastructure upgrades costs would increase by about $200 million and require intrusions into highly urbanized centres.” See: http://www.powerauthority.on.ca/news/southwest-gta-replacement-power-plant-backgrounder

Then when they cancelled Oakville, the government said that “A transmission solution can ensure that the growing region will have enough electricity to meet future needs of homes, hospitals, schools and businesses.” See http://news.ontario.ca/mei/en/2010/10/oakville-power-plant-not-moving-forward.html

Notice how the expert warned that a transmission solution is not preferred, only to be over-ruled by politicians declaring transmission to be the solution. Notice also that the replacement transmission the government speaks to in the 2010 statement is nowhere on the horizon and that the 2010 statement assumed that Greenfield South would be in-service soon. I hold to my conclusion that there is a hole in western GTA’s power supply.

Please continue, Mr. Adams.

Mr. Tom Adams: The Ontario Power Authority board of directors did nothing to protect ratepayers at the critical time. During the 2011 election, all parties made promises of some kind to cancel Greenfield South. Cancelling without relocating the plants may have cut the losses, but the Auditor General did not explore those.

Remember that McGuinty’s former Chief of Staff, Chris Morley, called Jim Hinds, chair of the OPA, during the election (i.e., there was no sitting government when the call was made): Why did a volunteer from the Liberal campaign call the chair of the Ontario Power Authority to inform of a campaign promise? I very much doubt is it common practice for volunteers to just call-up crown agencies about campaign promises in the middle of an election, and I’m sure the other parties didn’t call the OPA during the election. Who told Morley to call Hinds?

Morley didn’t face a single question about the Hinds call when he appeared before Committee:

http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/committee-proceedings/committee_transcripts_details.do?locale=en&Date=2013-06-18&ParlCommID=8960&BillID=&Business=Members%27+privileges&DocumentID=27072

Hinds was questioned about it both times he appeared before Committee but his replies indicate no effort on behalf of the OPA Board to express an independent view of the consumer interest.

Regarding the Auditor General not quantifying the costs that would have been incurred through straight cancellation without relocation, the AG did go part way. The AG determined that the OPA had a legal opinion in hand in early 2010 saying that the OPA had strong contractual rights to get out of the TCE contract without ratepayers getting stung with a severe penalty. See more here.

Responsibility for the renegotiated contracts rests solely with the Liberal Party. Kicking off the negotiations with TransCanada, Mr. McGuinty’s representatives, Jamison Steeve and Sean Mullin, gave TransCanada assurances that unjustifiably escalated cost, although only TransCanada knows by how much.

Relocation turned into a windfall for EIG when Robert Prichard, doing Minister Bentley’s bidding, stung ratepayers for hush money.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair?

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Mr. Delaney, thank you. Your point is well taken, even before verbalized.

In this instance, Chairman Qaadri accepts an objection from MPP Delaney, before the objection is identified. Leading investigative research on the role of Mr. Prichard in the scandal, authored by Mitch Wolfe, is here and here.

Mr. Adams, I don’t think that phrase in the last point there is appropriate. In any case, please continue.

Mr. Tom Adams: As the recontracting, the information management approach and the public statements drew complaint, the Premier and all the key ministers resigned en masse while trusted representatives pursued further information management approaches.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair, that is an allegation without any form of foundation and involves drawing—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Mr. Delaney—

Interjections.

Mr. Bob Delaney: That involves drawing a conclusion that this committee is here to do.

Interjections.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Fine.

Chairman Qaadri accepts an objection that only the committee has standing to draw conclusions from the evidence, not witnesses. Neither a sense of fairness nor support for objective inquiry are evident in this ruling.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: The Information and Privacy Commissioner actually drew that—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, colleagues. I am on the alert for offensive language. It seems to have passed my test.

I will now return the floor. You have 25 seconds, Mr. Adams.

Mr. Tom Adams: Given this late hour, I urge you to pass the baton of sorting out the issues of document destruction to the OPP, the courts and the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

My pitch is, do not allow the gas scandal investigation to get waylaid again. You must report, even if only by interim report, no later than the earliest date the Legislature could be prorogued—

My prepared remarks fit comfortably within the 5 minute time normally allowed witnesses. Timing errors by the Chair appear to account for my time being cut short.

Scott Stinson of the National Post made similar comments about prorogation potentially preventing the committee from reporting in this column published April 17.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Mr. Adams. I must congratulate you on having perhaps the first and only contentious opening remarks.

This observation from the Chair is correct to my knowledge. In 94 witness sessions, I cannot recall any other witness being interrupted on substantive issues, much less the barrage of complaints against my statement.

In any case, the floor passes now to the PC side. Ms. MacLeod, you have your 20 minutes.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Thanks very much, Chair, and thank you very much, Mr. Adams, for coming in. I do apologize for the number of interruptions in your presentation. I thought it was quite thorough. I looked at your bullet points 1 through 12, and I encourage those at home, if they can, to access this information, which I hope will end up on your blog, where we are not confined by the constraints of parliamentary language.

I would like to talk to you about a freedom-of-information request that you filed in November 2012. You requested, as you know, all documentation and correspondence from the Premier’s office related to the gas plant scandal. You were notified at the time—when I look at the documentation from your website, tomadamsenergy.com—that 100 pages of documents were responsive to the request, and you paid a deposit of just over $100 to continue the FOI.

The day after Kathleen Wynne was sworn in as Premier, a letter was then sent to you, as Tom Adams, notifying you that you would be granted partial access to the request, and that would total 88 pages, down from 100.

On February 28, 2013, Kathleen Wynne then held a press conference, stating that she would be opening up government and would release all documents related to the gas plant scandal. She made this statement knowing that emails from senior Liberals had been deleted, because this FOI request proves that her office had to search for them.

On April 26, 2013, you received a decision of appeal on your appeal, notifying you that six senior Liberals had no responsive documents related to the gas plant scandal. The response states that during the search process and subsequent appeal, it was discovered that these emails had been deleted and that recovering them would be impossible.

I wanted to get you to talk about that freedom-of-information request, and then I would like to ask you to talk about your submission on your website, tomadamsenergy.com, where you say, “Gas Busters Part 65: What Was Kathleen Wynne’s Role in Cover-up?” Could you do that for us? Could you walk us through?

Mr. Tom Adams: Okay. The origin of the FOI request came from a critique I had of the original estimates committee motion, which limited the investigation of documents to Ministry of Energy documents, Minister of Energy documents, and the OPA. I thought there were interesting questions elsewhere and tried to pursue that by FOI.

What transpired was a long exchange, and one of the key elements of that exchange is that an affidavit was filed by Jamie Forrest. She is a representative of the Premier’s office, and her responsibilities are to administer the processing of the paper to get the appropriate answers. Her affidavit identified a number of non-respondent individuals who could only reasonably have had carriage of documents of relevance to this committee’s work. That FOI went on for a very long period of time, and there was a lot of exchange back and forth.

The story of my November 2012 Freedom of Information application is reported in Gas Busters Part 23, Part 29, Part 53,, and Part 57. The affidavit referred to is linked to Part 57 but is also directly available here.

Unfortunately, the resolution of that appeal was something that I believe I accidentally cut short in the administration of the documents. I’m not totally certain (how) I made that mistake, but we actually never received a conclusion from the Information and Privacy Commissioner. So the record is, unfortunately, incomplete. I’m happy to come back to that, if I can be of more assistance, but it’s kind of a half-cooked hamburger.

In May 2013, the Justice Policy Committee passed a motion requiring a sweeping additional disclosure of documents that included all the material I sought in my FOI. By December, approximately 31 GB of new documents were disclosed. Thinking that the material I sought was in the new archive, I withdrew my appeal. Had I continued the appeal, I might have provided the office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to issue a decision on how my original FOI was treated. My decision to withdraw the appeal was a mistake on my part.

The second element of your question—help me.

Interjection: Part 65.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I’ll start with the quote. It was March 31, 2014. You posted it at 1:10 p.m. This is what you said, and I’ll just read it to you:

“The very day Kathleen Wynne assumed legal authority as Premier of Ontario—Feb. 11—her office issued this response to one of my freedom-of-information requests.

“The FOI response—claiming that the only documents McGuinty’s office had during 2012 amounted to a handful of PR fluff—was effectively a declaration of systematic document destruction by McGuinty’s office.

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“At the time I [filed] this FOI, it was the only formal application to a complete record of the information in McGuinty’s office on the gas” plants “scandal. The estimate committee motion for disclosure that had been the focus of the justice policy committee hearings to that point had specified an earlier time period and had not specified McGuinty’s office.

“In the OPP warrant, Peter Wallace”—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Ms. MacLeod, time has stopped. I’d just also refresh the collective memory of the committee, to please use parliamentary language; the issue being that the witness, as you know, has been asked to configure his remarks in that respect, and for you to be, therefore, reading material of his that is offending to that—

It isn’t clear what terms Chairman Qaadri is objecting to but it could be the phrase “PR fluff”.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Sure. I’m just reading something that—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Time resumes; go ahead.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Thank you.

“In the OPP warrant, Peter Wallace, the cabinet secretary during the transition period from McGuinty to Wynne, is noted as expressing concern about the necessity of maintaining documents to be able to respond to FOI applications.

“I am inclined to believe Kathleen Wynne when she claims that she had no oversight over document destruction…. The timing of the Premier’s office response to my FOI and the timing of David Livingston’s engagement of Peter Faist to destroy public documents as reported in the OPP warrant, suggests to me that Wynne’s negotiations with McGuinty on the transfer of power may have been a key period in the conspiracy that clearly guided the document destruction intended to conceal public business from the public.”

I just wanted some comment on that.

Mr. Tom Adams: The point that I was—

Mr. Bob Delaney: Point of order.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Point of order, Mr. Delaney.

Mr. Bob Delaney: An allegation of a conspiracy? Come on, Chair. I think we can get this down to proper parliamentary language that for more than a year we have more or less stayed within.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): The point is well taken. I would once again ask all committee members to please observe that.

Ms. MacLeod’s question accurately and in context quotes excerpts from Part 65, and I continue to assert that key operatives within the Liberal government engaged in a conspiracy to conceal the story of what happened with the gas plants.

Mr. Adams and Ms. MacLeod, time resumes.

Mr. Tom Adams: When the ITO became available, it was clear that there was a coincidence of important dates. In the first week of February, Mr. Faist was retained to do certain work. Just days later, coincident with the first day on the job—formally speaking—of the current Premier, I received a freedom-of-information reply in the form of this affidavit from Jamie Forrest, which I was referring to previously. The response that was the subject of that exchange, giving rise to the affidavit of Ms. Forrest, clearly had a bearing on the work of this committee.

What appears to have happened, as best as I can put together the pieces, is that during the transition period, information management approaches were taken within the Premier’s office. That’s what I was trying to draw attention to.

It seems unlikely to me that David Livingston acted alone in his plan to erase the contents of hard drives in the Premier’s office. It also appears to me likely that Craig MacLennan’s “clean in-box” was known to folks he worked with in Minister Bentley’s office.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Don’t you think, though, that for an FOI of this magnitude to have been conducted in the Premier’s office while Ms. Wynne was Premier, someone in her office had to have known that you were poking around for information, information that clearly had been removed? Would this not have been sent out through her office—some sort of red flag?

This isn’t the first freedom-of-information request you’ve put in to access government records, is it?

Mr. Tom Adams: I believe that there may have been two freedom-of-information requests before the Premier’s office at that time, mine being one.

It was very clear from the submissions received from the Premier’s office in response, during the mediation part of the FOI appeal, that there was an intense level of investigation going on on their part to come up with responses to the inquiry.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Do you think some of the information that you had requested was deleted by Mr. Livingston or Mr. Faist or others?

Mr. Tom Adams: I would be speculating. But the timing of Mr. Faist’s retention, and then the statements contained within the affidavit, are very troubling, I suggest.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Okay. Let’s go back to March 29. You put another posting on tomadamsenergy.com.

You’re a well-respected energy consultant in Ontario. You provide advice to all of us. Whether we take it or not is, much to your chagrin—

Mr. Tom Adams: Whether I’m respected or not is something to the opinion of others.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: But this is your livelihood.

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: This is what you spend your time on.

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes, it is.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: You write articles for the National Post.

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: You’re sought after for your advice. So when you write on tomadamsenergy.com, it’s not to be taken lightly; it’s actually something that parliamentarians and their staff read.

On March 29, 2014, at 2:10 p.m., you posted an article, “Gas Busters Part 64: Cushy Gov’t Jobs for Gas Scandal Cover-Uppers.” This would have been March 29 of this year. You detail people, for example, like Neala Barton or Craig MacLennan and others who have fared quite well under the Wynne Liberal government. I’m wondering if you could go into detail on some of those folks who were involved in the initial gas plant scandal—possibly into the alleged cover-up of destroyed documents and emails and hard drives—and where some of these people have landed within the Liberal government of Ontario.

Mr. Tom Adams: I identified three individuals in that posting that you’re referring to: Jamison Steeve, Craig MacLennan and Ms. Barton. Two of them show up on the sunshine list—Mr. Steeve and Mr. MacLennan—and Ms. Barton was identified in a newspaper article some time in the new year as taking a new position with the Pan Am Games.

What I was drawing attention to with that research was that these are all key players from the gas plant story. Ms. Barton was part of the affidavit of Jamie Forrest identifying no responsive documents to my FOI; of course, Mr. Steeve, of famous communication with TransCanada that’s subject to some dispute about the content; Craig MacLennan, one of the clean inbox people.

What struck me as significant about that is that if there had been an attempt to really clean up this story about what had happened with the gas plants, I would not expect to see individuals with this record still within the pay of the extended public service.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: But they still—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Mr. Adams and Ms. MacLeod—again, time is stopped—once again, I respectfully ask you to please return to the mandate of the committee. As an example, subsequent employment of these individuals, given all of these events, is likely not really part of the mandate. But in any case, the floor is yours.

Mr. Tom Adams: I’m—

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: You’re finished?

Mr. Tom Adams: Please.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Okay. We have indicated, in the official opposition, that we would like to call Beckie Codd-Downey and Lauren Ramey to our committee here. They are still government staffers who previously worked for the McGuinty administration; both are still working in the Wynne administration. You had indicated in a public venue, via social media, that they had been involved in this alleged cover-up. I’m wondering if you could outline your concerns to the committee.

Mr. Tom Adams: I take a harsh view of what has transpired here, and I’ve tried to outline my observations that I believe arise from the evidence. Many of these people have been called before the committee and have had their chance to speak to these matters; some have not. Actually, the two that you mentioned, I believe, have not yet appeared.

There’s a lot of explaining that needs to be done here, it seems to me. There are strong allegations. There are harsh allegations. The question becomes, what benefit for public administration arises when individuals with these question marks hanging over them remain within the public employ?

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair?

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Mr. Delaney, point of order.

Mr. Bob Delaney: I would like to bring up, I think, a very important point here that the witness needs to consider very carefully, which is that while members enjoy a wide latitude of privilege in what they can say, it would be worth noting to the witness that the witness does not enjoy that degree of privilege, and the witness—

Throughout the course of this committee’s inquiries, MPP Delaney has often appeared to be the most thoroughly prepared member of the committee with his objections. It seems likely that he would be aware that witnesses testifying before parliamentary committees enjoy protection from claims of defamation arising from their testimony. It is also obvious to even a casual observer that my statements before the committee often relied on the same language and references I have used on this site and in other public statements. It seems reasonable, therefore, to interpret his warning to me as a threat of potential future action.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Mr. Delaney. Two things: (a) I’m sure he’s edified by your remarks, and (b) he actually does enjoy those privileges when he’s testifying before a parliamentary committee.

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But once again, for the benefit of committee members, the current line of inquiry, though interesting and certainly worthwhile etc., is not within the mandate of this committee. I would once again respectfully ask you to return to it.

Ms. MacLeod.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Just on a point of order, Chair.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Yes, Ms. MacLeod. Generally, we don’t point-of-order ourselves when we’re speaking.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It’s a return point of order to my colleague. The witness does enjoy the privileges that we enjoy. I don’t think that it’s this committee’s mandate to muzzle our witnesses. That might be the modus operandi for opposition members by your government with lawsuits and the like. We have asked this witness to come here to testify based on publications on his website and information he has tried to obtain from that government during which their current Premier has been leader of their party and has been Premier of this province. The timeline coincides. I’m simply asking him questions based on that timeline, which I think is important information for the public to hear.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): All that, Ms. MacLeod, is welcome and certainly material. But it needs to be within the mandate, and it needs to be parliamentary. Please resume.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Again, I wanted to talk a bit more about Beckie Codd-Downey and Lauren Ramey and the details which have emerged in your study. With your “Gas Busters,” you are, I believe, up to part 65, perhaps even more. You’ve really documented this scandal quite well on tomadamsenergy.com. You have many followers across the province. This is public information.

You had indicated to me via social media that two individuals that we in the official opposition are intent on calling, Beckie Codd-Downey and Lauren Ramey, would be suitable witnesses for this. You had indicated that they may have had a role in this, and I am simply interested in learning more about that. I think the public is as well.

Mr. Tom Adams: I wear my heart on my sleeve. I publish what I think I can support. I do, from time to time, attract threats of litigation. None of those threats of litigation, fortunately, has ever been successful, although I have contested several.

But in this case, I have identified a number of witnesses that I would love to hear answers from. Those two are examples. There are others—for example, Mr. Robert Prichard—that I’ve identified as people who have had an interesting experience directly participating in these matters.

But I am concerned about the lateness of the date. The closeness of a potential election suggests to me that if the committee is to complete its work—more witnesses use up a lot of time, and you don’t have time. Potentially, you may—

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Who would you call? Who would you call if you were sitting in my chair? Who would be the top five people? You have spent an awful lot more time than any regular citizen has on this, and so I would go to you and say, “If you had five people that you could call next week, who are they?”

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair, what does this have to do with the mandate of the committee?

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It has everything to do with the mandate of the committee. It’s recommendations for witnesses.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Mr. Delaney, I’m going to let the question stand.

Please go ahead.

Mr. Tom Adams: Mr. Robert Prichard played a key role in a moment when the negotiations with EIG were being concluded. That was a moment just prior to Minister Bentley’s appearance before the estimates committee in July 2012. There was a lot of money spilled in great haste to close off the construction activity, and also, the evidence that I’ve seen suggests to me that Minister Bentley was looking for some talking points that he would offer to the estimates committee.

What we know from the record is that EIG was paid out at a rate of interest that translates into about two times the Criminal Code rate of interest. It’s an extraordinary payout. They put $60 million in, and they got $149 million out. Really, why was it not government lawyers who were negotiating this? Why was it a lawyer who was brought in from outside to make that negotiation, and what were his instructions?

In this instance, Mr. Prichard was not acting in a legal capacity; he was acting in a business capacity. His claim on solicitor-client privilege seems to me, just as a non-lawyer, to be a question as to whether it was really—the fact that he is a solicitor is not something I’m contesting. It’s whether he was doing solicitor work at the time that he was engaged in these negotiations. That’s one that I have argued previously.

Ms. Codd-Downey, Ms. Ramey—actually, the entire list of all the people who were identified in the affidavit of Jamie Forrest—many of those have appeared as witnesses—not all—but it seems to me that they have all had interesting experiences of direct relevance to this committee’s work.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Okay. I actually have the list here.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): One minute.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Just finally, then, I’m going to ask you one final question. You identified back in 2012 that the true cost of the cancelled gas plants would be $1.3 billion. Dalton McGuinty said it wasn’t. You were right. You’ve been right all along. I believe you’re right, right now, and I just wanted your comment on that.

Mr. Tom Adams: That wasn’t my work alone. My friend Bruce Sharp, who was your second witness before this committee, has more technical knowledge in some aspects of this than I. We worked together; I published his stuff initially. He got a piece in the National Post; I got a piece in the National Post. There was a flurry in October and November of 2012.

Here and here are links to Bruce Sharp’s posts from September 2012 estimating the cost of the gas plant relocations. This analysis by Mr. Sharp represented a new substantive criticism of the government’s handling of the gas plant issues. Repeating a point that the Liberals persistently ignore, relocation, not cancellation was responsible for the big bucks.

When asked about our estimates and the $1.3-billion claim that we were issuing, Mr. McGuinty’s response was, “If Elvis says it, do you have to print it?”

Here is Mr. McGuinty on Elvis. Here is a earlier comment from Mr. McGuinty making a similar point.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Ms. MacLeod. To the NDP side: Mr. Tabuns, 20 minutes.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I don’t have that many questions. Mr. Adams, thanks for being here today.

Mr. Tom Adams: Thank you.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Just a few points. We filed freedom-of-information requests for documents related to Project Vapour, and were informed in roughly October or November of 2012 that the documents we were requesting didn’t exist.

You’ve done a lot of freedom-of-information work. Were you aware that we’d made those requests?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes, I was.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: When you found difficulties with your freedom-of-information request, did you contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes, but my contact was by way of an appeal application that went to mediation. The mediation went on for a time. There was an exchange of documents, and then there was an adjudication process, and that’s where I made my mistake.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Okay. Have you been in a situation before as an energy consultant where you’ve filed for documents and seen this kind of process?

Mr. Tom Adams: I actually have not got extensive background in freedom of information and haven’t done it in other jurisdictions, so I have a limited range of experience. I was really simply reading the documents for what they said, without a great deal of background.

Of course, information disclosure through this process has been one of the difficult challenges that the committee has faced. The one that really got me was the 88 pages back from the Premier’s office, saying that this was all the documents they had. Keep in mind what was going on—of course you’ll keep in mind what was going on at that time—

Mr. Peter Tabuns: I will, but I don’t mind you saying it for the record.

Mr. Tom Adams: To me, what struck me as significant was that this was a period where he had direct carriage of the file. He had made promises that were responsible for relative electoral success in 2011.

This is an important issue. It’s inconceivable that the Premier only had this small handful of press clippings.

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There were some material discoveries that arose from that material; for example, a letter from workers who worked at a firm affiliated with Greenfield South that drew, I think, some important attention to who we’re really dealing with when we’re dealing with Eastern Power. But that was a kind of accidental disclosure. It was caught up in a sweep.

What you have obtained in the May 2013 disclosure to this committee makes it very clear—and also the reports of the Information and Privacy Commissioner—that the responses to the FOI that I received were really not correct.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Okay. And just out of curiosity, because I’m not familiar with this comment, when you say “who we’re really dealing with” when we are dealing with EIG, are you talking about hedge funds located in Luxembourg and the Cayman—

Mr. Tom Adams: No, not EIG. Eastern Power.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Oh, Eastern Power.

Mr. Tom Adams: Eastern Power had two power plants in Ontario. They were in a dispute with OEFC around the legacy of Ontario Hydro contracts, and what we discovered in the 88 pages was this letter from workers who appeared to have been very unfairly treated.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Last point. I don’t know if you’re aware, with regard to your point 7 and cancellation of Greenfield South, that when Andrea Horwath was asked during the 2011 election about the cancellation, her response was that she wouldn’t make any commitment on this until she knew what sort of costs were going to be incurred.

Mr. Tom Adams: I struggled with this observation. There was some level of commitment from the local candidate, was my understanding, and I didn’t want to attach too much strength to that. My thinking behind this point when I was composing this specifically with regard to the NDP’s position was that there was some ambiguity. Perhaps my language here is not precise enough and better documentation would make the arguments different ways. In trying to compress things to under 200 words, I phrased it this way, but I’m very willing to hear the arguments on both sides.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Okay. I don’t have a further question, but would just note for the record that Andrea Horwath was speaking for the NDP when she was asked that question, and that was her position.

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes, and I’m well aware of that.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Okay. I don’t have further questions. Mr. Singh?

Mr. Jagmeet Singh: Thank you. Just with respect to your freedom-of-information requests, the documents that you obtained, was there anything in what you obtained—besides this interesting piece of information regarding Eastern Power, was there anything else of note or of significance in the information that you obtained or received?

Mr. Tom Adams: This was some while ago, but that’s the only one that jumped out at me. It was the absence that was most noteworthy, not the content. Perhaps you can take me to a document, but I can’t recall one of significance otherwise.

Mr. Jagmeet Singh: Sure. And then just in terms of that request, you made the request for—can you specify what the request was, just to understand why you felt that it was so underwhelming in terms of the response?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes. Actually, there was a package of documents circulated, and it’s drawn from my website. I can’t recall; I think it’s Gas Busters 23, but I’m not too sure.

So the FOI was published, and it was very comprehensive. My intention here was—

Mr. Jagmeet Singh: Sorry to interrupt you, sir. Are you referring to the last page of your package?

Mr. Tom Adams: That’s right. The last page of the handout contains it. I can read it into the record if that assists you, but I don’t want to use your time.

Mr. Jagmeet Singh: That’s fine. So that outlines all the information that you requested. I see that there. Thank you for that.

You received a response which included 86 pages, you said?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes.

Mr. Jagmeet Singh: Okay. Is there anything else that you’d like to add at this point in relation to the mandate of this committee regarding the gas plants cancellation cost and related matters?

Mr. Tom Adams: I’ve studied this for so long. It seems to be such an opportunity to see inside the machine as the machine turns. Right? I really think you have just an incredible opportunity. Ontario has a long history of parliamentary inquiries into matters related to electricity. There were select committees. There have been royal commissions—a host of them. Some of them really stand out historically. Many of them are concentrated during periods of minority government for reasons that this committee also kind of has a relationship to. Many of those committees did work of lasting value; you have that same opportunity. You can produce work of lasting value, but you need to report.

Mr. Jagmeet Singh: Okay. Do you have any questions?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: No.

Mr. Jagmeet Singh: Thank you. No further questions.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Mr. Singh and Mr. Tabuns. To the government side: Mr. Delaney.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you very much, Chair. Chair, just before I begin, I would like to ask the committee for unanimous consent to screen a very brief video, that I think is germane, about the credibility of the witness.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Mr. Delaney. Do we have unanimous consent?

Interjections.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): I understand there is an objection. Mr. Delaney, the floor is yours.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Well, it appears they don’t want to hear anything that is contrary to their preconceptions.

Chair, I would like to ask the Clerk to please distribute two documents to both the witness and to the committee.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): That is your right. We will distribute it.

Mr. Bob Delaney: It seems, Chair, that it is in fact the PC Party with something to hide here. Mr. Adams, are you currently a member of the Ontario PC Party?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes, I am.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Okay. Now, the photo that you’re looking at was taken in February 2013. It’s at a PC riding event. It shows you addressing a crowd of PC members in the riding of Scarborough Southwest. You’re discussing the implications of the relocation of the Mississauga and Oakville plants. That was what was to be shown in the video. I’m sure you may remember this.

You said at the time, and I will use your words exactly: “When we turn to this Paths to Prosperity document, the Affordable Energy document, I’m very proud to have played a modest role in assisting in the drafting and the editing of that document. But there were many, many hands on the document.” You go on talking in glowing terms about a PC Party document.

Mr. Adams, who had asked you to visit the riding and talk to the PC Party members that day?

Mr. Tom Adams: I received—

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Point of order, Chair?

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Ms. MacLeod, point of order.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: As much as I would enjoy listening to the questions from Mr. Delaney, this really is not germane to the focus of this committee nor to the mandate of this committee, to talk about what happens at political fundraisers. Though I certainly would encourage Mr. Delaney to join us in the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party—I’m sure he would have a really good time listening to the facts and debate—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thanks, Ms. MacLeod. I think I’m sure he will consider that invitation eagerly. The fact that the individual, your own witness, is an energy expert and is speaking on energy—not merely energy but actually on the relocation of gas plants—I think the question and the answers are material.

Mr. Delaney, continue.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Point of order, Chair?

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Ms. MacLeod, point of order.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: What he is asking is not at all related to the gas plants. What he was asking for is a document put forward by my former critic in the party, Vic Fedeli, on affordable energy, which is not germane, nor is it part of the mandate of this committee to talk about a document, a white paper at that, put forward by the party.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): All right. Thank you, Ms. MacLeod. I’m going to offer the floor to you, Mr. Delaney. May I just respectfully ask you to perhaps rephrase the question and bring it to the mandate? Please continue.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Well, Chair, if the witness wishes to quote himself, his website and his work, then I have the freedom to ask him questions about that very work that he’s quoting in his responses to the PC Party.

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The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): The floor is yours, Mr. Delaney.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Mr. Adams, who asked you to visit the riding and talk to the PC Party members that day?

Mr. Tom Adams: I think it was the secretary of the riding association, but I can’t precisely recollect.

Mr. Bob Delaney: All right. Let’s talk a little bit about the work that you’ve done for the Ontario PC Party when it comes to drafting their energy policies; for instance, the PC white paper on affordable energy.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Point of order, Chair.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Point of order, Ms. MacLeod.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I appreciate that Mr. Delaney has an intense interest in the Progressive Conservative white paper on affordable energy. In fact, it’s important that we talk about affordable energy—but not here, because right here, this is what our mandate is—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Ms. MacLeod. The expertise of the witness, his past affiliations, his contributions in the energy sector, be they in a blog or the National Post or to any particular party, are material.

Please continue, Mr. Delaney.

Mr. Bob Delaney: The question then stands.

Mr. Adams, you worked very closely with the PC Party in helping them generate their energy policies. For example, as far back as 2010, a PC news release will say, in part, “according to calculations performed by energy consultant Tom Adams.” PC MPP Jim Wilson said, in a news conference in February of last year, that he had relied upon you as an “energy expert.” The same year, party leader Tim Hudak said, “Tom has been a great source of advice for our policy, and he has been highly complimentary of our reliable and affordable energy plan.” Later during the year, Hudak quoted you as “Tom Adams, another respected energy expert.” And I’ve got a lot more.

While I enthusiastically acknowledge a long standing affiliation with the Ontario PCs, I have also, from time to time, published some criticisms of PC energy policies where I identified points I have disagreed with. Here is the criticism of PC energy policy that I recently co-authored for the National Post along with Kathy Hamilton.

How much did you help with the drafting of the PC white paper on energy?

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Point of order, Chair.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Ms. MacLeod, point of order.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I was listening to all the wonderful quotes from my leader about Mr. Adams, and my colleague Mr. Delaney said he had a lot more. I’m wondering if he would expand on all of the generous quotes that Tim Hudak has said toward—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Ms. MacLeod, we appreciate your spirit of inquiry. That’s not really a point of order.

Mr. Delaney.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Nice try—but in the fullness of time.

How much did you help with the drafting of the PC white paper on energy?

Mr. Tom Adams: I’ve been a volunteer with the PC Party from time to time, over an extended period of time. I’ve had moments of falling out, such as during the 2011 election campaign, when I issued YouTube videos and Web postings attacking the positions that the party was taking at the time.

Here is a criticism of PC energy policy I published in the run-up to the 2011 election.

In the case of the Paths to Prosperity document, my role in its development arose in something of a restoration of my fortunes with my PC friends, who were generous enough to take me back into the fold after the harshness of my criticism in 2011. Historically, I have made life difficult for my friends on occasion.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Mr. Adams, what have they paid you for your professional expertise?

Mr. Tom Adams: Not a penny, sir.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Have you been remunerated for any expenses on any travel you may have had to undertake?

Mr. Tom Adams: No, but I have eaten some pizza that the PCs have paid for, sir.

Mr. Bob Delaney: You are, sir, quite welcome to enjoy pizza on any political party that so offers it to you.

What other work have you done in the energy field to help support the PC Party’s energy platform?

Mr. Tom Adams: None. Until 2011, much of my work was in Ontario. Since 2011, almost none of my commercial work has been done in Ontario.

Mr. Bob Delaney: How often does the Ontario PC Party engage you for your work as an energy consultant?

Mr. Tom Adams: Well, if we think of the term “engage” in a conventional, commercial sense, then of course not at all, since I’ve never received any compensation whatsoever. If we think of the term “engage” as a more fulsome notion of inviting comment or discussion, then the answer would be: with some frequency, a number of times per year.

Mr. Bob Delaney: So it would then be reasonable if someone called you a PC Party energy advocate?

Mr. Tom Adams: That—

Mr. Bob Delaney: As a card-carrying member, of course.

Mr. Tom Adams: That conclusion would be difficult to reach if the point of reference was my comments around the 2011 election platform, sir.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Let’s go into some of that, then. One of the posts on your blog is “Part 65: What Was Kathleen Wynne’s Role”—from March 31, 2014, this year. I’m just going to read you a little quote that you had written when it came to Premier Wynne’s involvement in the matters before this committee. You said, “I am inclined to believe Kathleen Wynne when she claims that she had no oversight over document destruction while Premier.” Can you confirm that you wrote that?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes, absolutely.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you. Your blog also indicates that you were aware that two OPP officers have testified before this committee. Correct?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes.

Mr. Bob Delaney: All right. When Constable Duval was here, he confirmed that this investigation is “centred on the actions of Mr. David Livingston only”—April 3 of this year. Correct?

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Point of order, Chair.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Ms. MacLeod, point of order.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It’s important for my colleague to remember that there is an OPP ITO, but that is not the sole focus of this committee. This committee has a mandate, prescribed by the Speaker and the finding of a prima facie case of privilege with respect to the production of documents by the Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority to the Standing Committee on Estimates, and to consider and report its observations and recommendations concerning the tendering, planning, commissioning, cancellation and relocation of the Mississauga and Oakville gas plants.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Ms. MacLeod. We take your point under advisement.

First of all, the questions are material, so they will continue. But you do remind us that should questions venture into forbidden territory with reference to the OPP investigation etc., my team here will intervene. But the questions are material as currently being asked.

Mr. Delaney, continue.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you very much. I think that having the OPP officers testify before the committee and say the investigation is into the former chief of staff of the former Premier is pretty credible. Wouldn’t you?

Mr. Tom Adams: Absolutely. I followed the testimony carefully.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Let’s talk a little bit about some of the Open Government initiatives implemented under Premier Wynne, on her watch. You are aware that in the last year, Premier Wynne’s office coordinated a mandatory document retention training program for all political staff here at Queen’s Park?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Okay. Premier Wynne has also undertaken a series of very significant steps to open up this process to an unprecedented degree and to be fully transparent on this particular issue around the cancellation and relocation of the two gas plants in particular, including:

—calling in the auditor to review the Mississauga and Oakville relocation costs and accepting the findings in her report unequivocally;

—recalling the Legislature right away and offering the opposition a select committee, which, by the way, they rejected;

—testifying at this committee twice, along with several other members of the current and former government; and

—providing about a third of a million documents in response to committee motions, including some 30,000 from Premier Wynne’s own office.

You are familiar with all of those?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes, I am.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Okay. I want to ask you a few questions about the FOI request you made and on which my colleagues asked you a few questions. I just want to clarify a few things. On your website, you noted that you had made an FOI request dated November 30, 2012, and that it was a specific request pertaining to the dates of January 1, 2012, to October 1, 2012. Correct?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes.

Mr. Bob Delaney: That’s important. I just want to make sure, because some of your comments and some of the questions asked of you were a little ambiguous. I want to make sure that everybody understands that this freedom-of-information request was made into records generated by the former Premier’s office.

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you. On your website, you stated that records were located and sent to you with a letter dated February 11, 2013. Right?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes.

Mr. Bob Delaney: That was the last day that Premier McGuinty held office.

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes.

Mr. Bob Delaney: All right. In response to your appeal, the current Premier’s office advised that a further search had been undertaken for responsive records under a separate request. In this search, the Premier’s office identified records prepared by the government House leader’s office relating to the conduct of matters within the Legislature. While usually these records are considered outside the scope of the freedom-of-information and privacy act legislation, in the interests of transparency, these records were shared with you. Correct?

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Mr. Tom Adams: You referred to it as a separate search; I think it’s a related search. But I think I understand your point.

Mr. Bob Delaney: I’ll take your distinction on that.

From a letter dated April 26 that you posted on your website: “In a further search for records, we identified records that were prepared by the government House leader’s office relating to the conduct of matters within the Legislature. While these records are normally considered outside of the scope of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, in the interest of transparency, the government made a decision to voluntarily release these records.” Those are your words.

Mr. Tom Adams: I don’t believe those are my words. I believe I was quoting.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Okay. Nonetheless, you have posted that on your website.

Mr. Tom Adams: Oh, yes. Absolutely. I acknowledge it.

Mr. Bob Delaney: So, in May 2013, a motion was passed at the Standing Committee on Justice Policy for another series of documents related to the two gas plants, and in response, Premier Wynne’s chief of staff, Tom Teahen, sent a letter to the committee including the search parameters, the corresponding responsive records, and explicitly added that though the government House leader’s office would not formally be subject to a search of this kind, the records from this office had been included in the document production in the interests of transparency.

In fact, a list of 52 names that the information technology office had identified as being formerly employed were also turned over to the committee, the Standing Committee on Justice Policy—this one.

At the time, the Premier’s office undertook to ensure that best efforts to fully comply with the committee’s request had been made and some 30,000 pages of responsive documents had been available for this request, to the committee, and also to you. Will you confirm that?

Mr. Tom Adams: Your question identified search requests pursuant to certain code names. My request did not contain any code names, but other than that, I concur.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you. In addition to the search undertaken by the Premier’s office, searches were also conducted by Cabinet Office, which has produced to the committee records sent to or received from staff in the Premier’s office. Similarly, searches in the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority may have also produced records sent to or received by staff in the Premier’s office, and we understand that records sent to or received by staff have been made available to you through the office of the Clerk of the Committee. Correct?

Mr. Tom Adams: I believe what you’re referring to is the document disclosure in and around May 2013 that constitutes a document collection that runs some 31 gigabytes. That material I do have. I have spent some time searching it; it’s very awkward to search. I have not had the resources to publish that material—

Mr. Bob Delaney: The records, nonetheless, remain accessible to you.

Mr. Tom Adams: I have those records. That’s correct.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you. The Ministry of Government Services also conducted a centralized electronic search of the available email accounts and personal drives of certain named individuals, formerly or currently employed in the Premier’s office, in response to the committee’s motion. They include the current Premier, Kathleen Wynne; the former Premier, Dalton McGuinty; David Livingston; Chris Morley; and some former senior staff in Premier McGuinty’s office, including Laura Miller, Sean Mullin, Jamison Steeve, John Brodhead, Dave Gene and John Fraser.

Will you also please confirm that these records have been made accessible to you through the Clerk of the Committee?

Mr. Tom Adams: I have the records that the committee has—

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you. That’s the question I was asking you: that you do, in fact, have the records that the committee has.

Mr. Tom Adams: I have the records that the committee has.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you. So, in November 2013, after receiving this material, which we both agree runs to tens of thousands of pages, you did then end your appeal. Correct?

Mr. Tom Adams: I believe the appeal lapsed in December 2013.

Mr. Bob Delaney: So, in essence, the appeal is now over—finished.

Mr. Tom Adams: That’s correct.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you. The current Premier introduced a series of new rules governing document retention and record-keeping practices of political staff. Are you aware of those?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Okay. To provide a little bit more context, then: The current Premier has, in fact, apologized about the former administration not turning over all the documents requested, and has since been fully co-operative with the Information and Privacy Commissioner on a number of things.

When the Information and Privacy Commissioner released her report this past summer on document retention practices by the government, it was an item the Premier moved very quickly to lead the way on. The Premier gave directions to all political staff on the need to be responsible and diligent in retaining documents pertaining to government business, and ensured that new training processes were put in place.

Following that, the Information and Privacy Commissioner was quoted as saying—among other things about the Premier—that the Premier “has been fully co-operative with me and my office. In fairness to Premier Wynne, she said, ‘You have my full co-operation, whatever you want from us.’”

She also said in an interview with the Toronto Sun, “I have commended Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government’s approach to dealing with this issue, referencing the staff training program she instituted and the memo circulated by her chief of staff.”

Are you aware that Dr. Cavoukian had made these statements?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes, I’m aware.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Okay. So the government, then—actually, I’m going to skip a few more of Dr. Cavoukian’s statements.

With regard to the Auditor General, the Auditor General said, “I did have the opportunity to meet with the Premier”—referring to Premier Wynne. “It was good to hear that they are taking the report seriously and they are taking some actions and changing the way things are going to be done in the future so that a situation like this doesn’t evolve.”

This was a statement made by the Auditor General on October 8 of last year, 2013. Were you aware of the Auditor General’s statement?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes, I am.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you. To go back to the 2011 provincial election, I presume you paid fairly close attention to the issues during the election?

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Did you participate in helping the PC Party campaign at all?

Mr. Tom Adams: No, I did not.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Okay. But you would be familiar with the PC promise to cancel the Mississauga power plant if it were elected. Correct?

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Point of order, Chair.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Point of order, Ms. MacLeod.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Point 9 of Mr. Tom Adams’s presentation to the committee says, “Responsibility for renegotiated contracts rests solely with the Liberals.” I just wanted to point that out.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): We thank you for that reminder. It’s not a point of order. The question is material.

Mr. Delaney, please continue.

Mr. Bob Delaney: So you would be, then, familiar with the PC promise to cancel the Mississauga—

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes, I am.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Okay. The fact is, of course, that a leader doesn’t just make a promise to cancel the Mississauga power plant—which was a PC Party commitment that was an integral part of their political strategy. As a PC Party member, why would your—

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Point of order, Chair.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Ms. MacLeod on a point of order.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I’d just like to remind my colleague opposite that the Ontario PC Party is not under an OPP investigation, but it is members of his party who are—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): These excellent points of order and floating reminders are most interesting, but are, generally speaking, not points of order.

Mr. Delaney, continue.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you, Chair. I would remind my colleagues and perhaps bring to the attention of the witness a document from the 2011 campaign, which I passed out. If you will look at the highlighted section, Mr. Adams, it reads, “The only party that will stop the Sherway power plant is the Ontario PC Party.”

Mr. Tom Adams: Yes, I’m aware of that.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Do you recall the name of the candidate who ran in the riding of Mississauga South, in the 2011 election, for the PC Party?

Mr. Tom Adams: I can’t be trusted with the pronunciation, but—

Mr. Bob Delaney: Could you try?

Mr. Tom Adams: Janoscik?

Mr. Bob Delaney: Geoff Janoscik? Would that be about right?

Mr. Tom Adams: Janoscik, yes.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you. In that package—which, by the way, was distributed as a PC document—we’ve printed the script of the PC robocall from PC candidate Janoscik that was blasted out to Mississauga homes. He says, in part, “I’m against this power plant, and as your MPP, I will fight to stop the power plant from being built….”

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So my last question for you, Mr. Adams: What work did you do to help the PC Party cost their promise to cancel these two power plants?

Mr. Tom Adams: I did no such work. I would point to a distinction between the cost of cancellation versus the cost of relocating, which I think is material—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Mr. Delaney. It passes now to the PC side. Welcome, Ms. Martow, for your inaugural questions to the justice policy committee. You may begin.

Mrs. Gila Martow: My inaugural question to this committee, that is. I just want to say that I really compliment Tom Adams, and I’m sorry for the kind of badgering questions he had to endure. He’s a private citizen. He has spent a lot of his own time and his own funds to do what really is up to the government to be doing, which is to investigate themselves. I really commend him for that. Thank you very much.

Mr. Adams, you mentioned previously Jamie Forrest, who administers the freedom of information at the Premier’s office. I guess that is who you were dealing with. I just want to read out, so it’s on the record, a list of names of individuals who had office email accounts in the former Premier’s office. They were listed in Jamie Forrest’s affidavit. I’m going to apologize for any mispronunciations of any of the names: Chike Agbasi, Christine Allenby, Kristyn Annis, Asma Bala, Richelle Barrette, Neala Barton, Jennifer Beckermann, John Brodhead, Tyler Charlebois, Beth Clarkson, Beckie Codd-Downey, Julie Cousins, Pierina DeCarolis, Jonathan Espie, Patricia Favre, Samantha Fowler, John Fraser, Alexandra Gair, Dave Gene, Mark Hazelden, Sophia Ikura, Kate Jamieson, Emily Jephcott, Keerthana Kamalavasan, Shawn Kerr, Nauman Khan, Leon Korbee, Jason Lagerquist, Kristen Lake, Ruby Latif, Kayla Lewis, David Livingston, Rod MacDonald, Lindsay Maskell, Wendy McCann, John McGrath, David McLaughlin, Laura Miller, Sean O’Connor, Paulina O’Neill, David Orazietti, Cortney Pasternak, David Phillips, Lauren Ramey, Elise Roiron, Jonathan Rose, Michael Simpson, Tracey Sobers, Kevin Spafford, Jessica Spindler, Priya Suagh and Paul Tye—just so that their names are now on the record, people of interest to this committee. Thank you.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you. Your time is done. All right, thank you—

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: No, no, me.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Ms. Thompson.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you very much. Now, Mr. Adams, when my colleague was reading off the names, I heard “John Fraser.” To your knowledge, was he the John Fraser who worked at 180 Elgin Street in Ottawa and who is now MPP for Ottawa South?

Mr. Tom Adams: That’s my understanding.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. Interesting, based on what we learned last week.

But changing gears here just a notch, I want to go back to some of your opening remarks, specifically number 10, where you note, “Kicking off the renegotiation with TransCanada, McGuinty’s representatives Steeve and Mullin gave TransCanada assurances that unjustifiably escalated costs, although only TransCanada knows by how much.”

In your estimation, who in TransCanada would specifically know what the escalated costs would be?

Mr. Tom Adams: TransCanada is an extremely sophisticated player. They have demonstrated a lot of ability to figure things out that other people haven’t understood. This is a company that has very good gas models, for example.

The gas cost element of the gas management fee settlement is an example where there was a tremendous amount of money on the table, as identified in the Auditor General’s report. There would have been a negotiating team that would have collected the information from that meeting, but the analysis would have been done by analytical teams elsewhere.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: So to circle back around, that’s why you feel Richard Prichard would—

Mr. Tom Adams: Robert Prichard—

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Robert Prichard. Excuse me.

Mr. Tom Adams: —was not involved in the TransCanada negotiation. The importance I associate with his role in matters of relevance to the committee relates specifically to the EIG element of the Eastern Power negotiation.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you for clarifying that.

Going on to your 12th point: “As the recontracting, cover-up and web of statements drew complaint, the Premier and all key ministers resigned en masse while trusted representatives destroyed records and frustrated FOIs.” Can you elaborate on that?

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair?

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Mr. Delaney, point of order.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair, if it was unparliamentary enough for you to direct the witness to change the words while reading it, it should remain unparliamentary enough for Ms. Thompson quoting those words.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): The point is well taken and agreed to. Ms. Thompson, I’d appreciate if you’d please resume parliamentary language. Thank you.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. Mr. Adams, could you please elaborate on your 12th point in your opening remarks?

Mr. Tom Adams: The point that I’m trying to make: Especially the last two clauses of the sentence try to combine what we learned in the ITO with what we learned during the disclosure process around the documents, including the FOIs. The same people are showing up in both venues. Right? So the role of Mr. Livingston in this time period, as we’ve seen in the report of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, then in the ITO and then on these lists, including the affidavit of Jamie Forrest—I’m just trying to connect the dots between these different threads of information that are available to you.

There is an allegation around what may be legally contested behaviour. He has also identified Mr. Livingston on a list of people who have declared not to have responsive documents from a time period when he was directly engaged.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay, and I want to talk about that a little bit more. Thank you for bringing that up.

I’d like to go back to this justice committee on August 6, where the nature of your FOI requests was discussed between Laura Miller and Vic Fedeli. Specifically, I want to go to a particular moment during that testimony and pick up some comments. Okay? Then I’ll follow up with you after that.

I want to start off with Mr. Victor Fedeli saying to Laura Miller, “I think you lied to these people.” Ms. Laura Miller then says, “—that I am under oath.” Then Mr. Victor Fedeli says, “Then, under oath, tell me, did you have responsive documents to either of these two FOI requests? Yes or no.” Ms. Laura Miller then goes on to say, “At the time I did the research, no.” Then as the conversation evolved during that particular testimony, Mr. Victor Fedeli went on to say, “The lesson learned is, you thought you deleted your emails permanently and they weren’t deleted permanently. Only when the Ministry of Government Services looked ‘under the hood’ did they find your emails that you thought were safely deleted. Is that true?” Ms. Laura Miller responded, “I’m glad that they found them.” Then Mr. Victor Fedeli said, “I’m glad they found them, too, because you told the freedom-of-information request you had no responsive records.”

So as a citizen submitting FOI requests and paying out of your own pocket, how do you feel when you hear that type of testimony?

Mr. Tom Adams: I was quite moved by the final passage of the report of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, where she was quoting another authority who was saying, in effect, that you can’t have a democracy if the business of the people is none of the people’s business.

That passage by Miller, keep in mind—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): One minute.

Mr. Tom Adams: —in your May 2013 document inventory, I think you can look there and find not just emails but documents of her authorship.

1520

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay, yes. Thank you very much. My last question for you is, do you suspect that there are any more cases like this where emails have been deleted in order to avoid FOIs?

Mr. Tom Adams: A proper answer to that question requires a reconstruction of the archive. I’ve proposed, in my remarks, a chronological series. The information that has been disclosed to this committee—I used a term that I may not be allowed to use here in describing the nature of that disclosure. In my professional—

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Ms. Thompson. The floor passes now to the NDP. Mr. Tabuns.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: We have no questions. Thank you.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Mr. Tabuns. The floor passes now to the Liberal side. Mr. Delaney.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Mr. Adams, the committee staff did a pretty good, thorough job in looking up your background. Just a couple of clarification questions: Have you ever worked for an entity that generates electric power?

Mr. Tom Adams: I was on the board of directors of the predecessor of the IESO, but they do not generate power.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Have you ever worked for an entity that is involved in the transmission of electric power?

Mr. Tom Adams: The closest I’ve come to professional engagement is with the IESO’s predecessor.

Mr. Bob Delaney: While you have good academic qualifications, have you ever practised science or engineering in the electric power field?

Mrs. Gila Martow: Point of order.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Point of order, Ms. Martow.

Mrs. Gila Martow: It’s my understanding that this committee is about the deleted emails and the lack of transparency in terms of the cancellation of the gas plants. We’re not having a committee meeting to discuss and review the qualifications of somebody—

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair, I have asked other witnesses similar questions.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Ms. Martow, with respect, (a) the committee is not about the deleted emails exclusively and (b) the background of witnesses is material.

Mr. Delaney, the floor is yours.

Mr. Bob Delaney: The question stands.

Mr. Tom Adams: I’ve testified many times before regulatory tribunals and been accepted as an expert witness on many occasions. I’ve also testified before—

Mr. Bob Delaney: I understand that you have been accepted as a knowledgeable witness, but the question was, have you worked in a laboratory, a production facility or an entity that is involved in the transmission of electric power?

Mr. Tom Adams: Not transmission of electric power, no.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Or of the manufacture of major components that are used in the production or transmission of electric power?

Mr. Tom Adams: No.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Just to go back to the quote that you posted on your blog where you said, “I am inclined to believe Kathleen Wynne when she claims that she had no oversight over document destruction while Premier,” which you earlier confirmed that you had written—and that, in fact, you are a card-carrying member of the PC Party, as is your freedom. You also confirmed that you frequently engage with the PC Party and their energy policies, as you said, a few times a year. As a trusted adviser to the Ontario PC Party, would you in your capacity advise the PC Party of Ontario to continue with the allegations that they have made against Premier Wynne?

Mr. Tom Adams: I’ll leave it for others to decide whether I’m trusted or not. The allegations that you’re discussing are part of a political exchange, and—

Mr. Bob Delaney: It’s actually a yes or a no question.

Mr. Tom Adams: I would hesitate to advise anyone on a political matter such as that.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Okay. Chair, thank you very much. We are, in fact, finished.

The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Mr. Delaney. I thank all members of the committee for their indulgence. I realize there’s a lot of to and fro with reference to mandate and what is in and out of order and parliamentary language etc.

9 Comments

  1. Bob Delaney’s behaviour in trying to shut your testimony down is disgusting! This so-called Committee’s tolerance of Delaney’s outbursts should also be ashamed of themselves for allowing this type of unfettered attacks on a speaker just asking for answers to questions ALL Ontarians are asking!
    I guess they operate inside a “comfort zone” within their own little world without thinking that their employers (we the tax payers) are watching them and listening to them!!!!

    • Thank you Mr. Adams for making the point – the Justice Committee has a mandate – and should report – “no later than the earliest opportunity..”

      Failing to – some describe – is a “careless waste” of public resources; sounds like “laundering”, no?

      Premier Kathleen Wynne was recently in rural Ontario being questioned about industrial wind turbines. She described the “rural urban divide” as “political” and very “dangerous.” Ha!

      “Watch out for Kathy – she’s on the loose and “using parliamentary language” all over the place!

  2. I think the debate between MPP Singh and Chair Qaadri was very significant.

    When parliamentarians accept the self-restricting enforcement of “parliamentary language” usage between themselves as being applicable to them during committee meetings too, that’s one thing. However – having parliamentarians imposing the same restrictions on the language of a non-parliamantarian during their attempted performance of a public service as an invited witness seems to me an entirely different matter.

    Something appears to have run askew on the “Who works for who” assembly line?

  3. The single thought that kept repeating in my mind as I watched your presentation to the committee , and then read the transcript here was; “If you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger”.
    Perhaps the first step toward fixing our political system should be to make illegal the election of any lawyers or poli-sci grads.

  4. It’s worth taking the time to read the entire official transcript that is now online. This will be the historical record as well.

    A bigger problems is having poly-sci majors determine energy policy in my opinion.

  5. It looks like the Liberals were just trying destroy Tom Adams credibility, not attempt to scrutinize his analysis and statements. It was really a disappointing hearing. I’m glad Tom Adams mentioned the “independent” OPA Board of Directors. Where were these guys when all the relocation talks were going on? Who’s interests were they protecting? Why did they agree to cancelling the Oakville plant? Why did they agree to relocate Greenfield South plant? Why did they agree to relocate a 1000 MW gas plant to Napanee, of all places, and how does this benefit the system? The role of the OPA Board has been much overlooked in this mess and has much to account for. These Board members should not be appointed by the minister of energy. We need appointments from an all party committee. Why aren’t there consumer representatives on this Board? All we have is a Board loaded with Liberal hacks, who do their bidding for them and provide necessary cover, as required.

  6. Tom,
    You should be commended for holding your temper in the face of those pompous, browbeating Liberal scoundrels. I never would have guessed that you could be ambushed like that, and you appeared genuinely surprised as well. Live and learn. A couple of things occurred to me after reflection. You were admonished repeatedly for 1) Using unparliamentary language and 2) making “unsubstantiated” allegations. As far as 1) is concerned, I believe that only applies to a parliamentarian orating their arguments against another parliamentarian, neither of whom are under oath. How can they make a witness swear to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” and then constrain the words of his sworn testimony ? It is contradictory on its face. You can’t be the first committee witness this has happened to, and you may wish to write a letter to the committee expressing your concern that you might have perjured yourself by having to censor your own testimony. As for 2), I don’t think you make very many “unsubstantiated” statements in the normal course and I doubt if you would make one under oath. A committee member could always ask for supporting evidence if he/she wanted to know the source for any of your statements. Were you expected to bring a wheelbarrow full of documents to the hearing ?

  7. This is an open letter for Mr. Bruce Lourie and other [directors and officers] at the Ontario Power Authority.

    Please- will you explain why Phase 2 of the “Erie Shores Wind Farm” on the north shore of Lake Erie, developed by AIM PowerGen and its President/CEO Mr. Mike Crawley, (former President of the Ontario wing of the federal Liberal Party, and former President of the Liberal Party of Canada,)

    is now described as three separate 9.9-megawatt projects, named “Clear Creek,” “Cultus”, and “Frogmore”?

    These 18 Vestas 1.65-megawatt industrial wind turbines that were originally represented as “Phase 2″ of the “Erie Shores Wind Farm,” were developed, constructed and seem to be maintained as one complex, but now they are actually three (3) separate projects? Why is this?

    It is very confusing to say the least.

    In a slide presentation by the Ontario Power Authority on May 13, 2008, it was stated that “Some larger projects divided up to qualify for RESOP contracts”.

    Hmmmmmm…….

    And the OPA allowed this?

    Was this consistent with the spirit of why the OPA was granting 10-megawatt renewable energy contracts in the first place?

    Is everybody at the OPA, the OLA, the RCMP.. convinced this isn’t fraud/racketeering?

    More information about the “Erie Shores Wind Farm”, “Clear Creek”, “Cultus”, and “Frogmore” industrial wind energy facilities can be found at docuse dot wordpress dot com, but – beware, you may find information surrounding these particular renewable energy projects is alarmingly absent.

    We look forward to your responses.

    Thanks a lot!

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