Gas Busters Part 64: Cushy Gov’t Jobs for Gas Scandal Cover-Uppers

Here are examples of taxpayer-funded sinecures Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals are providing for party operatives directly involved in engineering the attempted cover-up of the $1.1 billion gas plant scandal.

Jamison Steeve made $155K last year at U of T’s Martin Prosperity Institute. Steeve describes himself as a leading intellectual. Gas Busters followers may remember Steeve, then McGuinty’s Principal Secretary, paired with Sean Mullin, McGuinty’s Deputy Director of Policy and energy advisor. Steeve and Mullin gave assurance to the backer of the Oakville power plant, TransCanada Energy, that TransCanada would be “kept whole” after the cancellation of the project. That assurance translated into a massive hit for ratepayers of the future. Steeve’s sworn testimony contains many points contradicted by the provincial Auditor General’s findings on the TransCanada settlement and other witnesses before the Justice Policy Committee. Steeve also appears to be another of McGuinty’s coordinated gang of document scorchers. Examples of documentation for Steeve’s involvement in document scorching are here and here.

Also darkening the sunshine list is the law breaker Craig MacLennan. He was the Chief of Staff to two Ministers of Energy, Duguid and Bentley, between January 2010 and August 2012. Now, he has a comfy seat at the government’s gambling monopoly OLG, working as a “Transformation Strategist”. Gas Busters followers may remember MacLennan as one of the key operatives around the Liberal party who testified to the Justice Policy Committee that he used the gangster-like practice of routinely deleting all documents and maintaining what he called a “clean in-box” for his email. With all his demonstrated skill in keeping a clean in-box, last year OLG paid him $127,536.31. In her June 2012 report, the Information and Privacy Commissioner made a finding that MacLennan broke the Archives and Recordkeeping Act which the McGuinty government passed into law in 2006. She also found that MacLennan’s intent was to avoid accountability.

Based on the information provided to me, it is difficult for me to accept that there was no attempt by staff in the former Minister’s office to avoid transparency and accountability in relation to their work. Furthermore, it is difficult for me to accept that the practice was part of a benign attempt to comply with a requirement of IT staff to keep the volume of records in an email account within specified limits. The practice of indiscriminate deletion of all emails sent and received by MacLennan is inconsistent with the ARA and the records retention schedule developed by the Archives of Ontario for ministers’ offices. In addition, I find that this practice undermines the purposes of FIPPA and the transparency and accountability purposes that are at its foundation, and the foundation of the ARA. (p. 15)

Another Liberal party operative who directly participated in the gas scandal cover-up is Neala Barton. Barton was the Director of Media Relations in McGuinty’s office while the gas scandal cover-up was being engineered. Barton appears in this affidavit, filed in response to one of my FOI appeals, where Barton is listed as part of a gang claiming to have almost no records dealing with the gas plant issues from a time the Premier’s Office was overseeing the politically sensitive renegotiation of the cancelled contracts. The Toronto Star reports that she will be joining the Toronto Pan Am Games as SVP communications and media relations. We’ll have to wait until next year’s Sunshine List to get details on the generosity of taxpayers toward her in this new position.

While Premier Wynne is always quick to react with “disappointment” when new ugliness about the gas scandal surfaces, it is obvious that she is making no effort to clean house. On the contrary, her administration is rewarding documented law breakers and cover-uppers with cushy taxpayer-funded jobs.

Another way the Ontario Liberals appear to be rewarding operatives involved in dirty work is by shifting them around the wider Liberal team. I have previously documented on this site how former Liberal candidate and McGuinty fixer Ben Chin was involved in a plan to funnel money to Toronto Star journalist Tyler Hamilton to counter my research and to promote the government’s Smart Grid agenda. Chin also developed ways for the Ontario Power Authority to promote World Wildlife Fund where, at the time, McGuinty’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts was CEO. Chin later popped up working for Christie Clark’s re-election campaign in British Columbia.

The same affidavit that names Barton also names Laura Miller. Miller was McGuinty’s deputy chief of staff for communication and strategy. Miller’s partner, computer expert Peter Faist, was recently named in the OPP search warrant focused on McGuinty’s chief of staff David Livingston’s role in the gas plant cover-up. Miller’s computer’s hard drive was one of those alleged to have been wiped by Faist. The Ottawa Citizen reported this morning that Miller got paid $154,000 after less than two months of work for the Ontario government in 2013 and is now Executive Director of the BC Liberal party.


  1. Will we ever get justice instead of nepotism in Ontario?
    Gas plant, Orange, so called e-Health, all huge failures with no $$$’s accountability.
    When will the perpetrators face serious jail time instead of political pay-off jobs?

  2. What’s wrong with this picture?…

    1. Late 90s to early 2000s -> Organizations such as greenpeace and the clean air alliance make coal an issue.

    2. 2003 provincial election campaign -> ALL PARTIES promise to shut down coal fired plants (in spite of already being short on generation capacity)

    3. 2005 -> Lakeview, an essential coal fired peaker plant (with scrubbers, i must add!) in Mississauga gets shut down “To improve air quality”

    4. 2006 -> Air quality no longer “the main issue”, can install scrubbers; clean air alliance and david suzuki foundation continue to lobby for coal phase to reduce so called “greenhouse gas emissions”

    5. Gas plant proposed to replace lakeview, opposed by Hazel and general public; gets relocated to oakville

    6. 2010 -> electricity bills skyrocket as a result of coal shutdown and green energy act, just as independent consultants predicted. The same people who supported the coal phase-out and green energy act get angry when they discover that they would actually have to cover the cost of “greening the grid”

    7. 2011 ELECTION -> ALL PARTIES promise to cancel plant which is already under construction to get seats -> gets relocated at a huge cost

    8. NDP and PCs blame Liberals and kathleen wynne (even though she had nothing to do with the cancellation) for costs, scandal, and coverup associated with moving a plant which was already under construction.

    The gullible general public is responsible for this mess -> the primary purpose of the energy sector used to be to supply electricity affordable and reliably.

    Now people want the energy sector to do things it was never intended to do – ie solve all society’s problems: Reduce unemployment, prevent economic collapse, save the environment, save the manufacturing sector, eliminate trade deficits, reduce health care costs —–> All without any rate increase

    The scandal is just a red herring.

    • I have a couple of minor disagreements but the general train of thought — which I understand to be that real scandal is the wholesale destruction of Ontario’s power system contributed to by all three parties — is a solid thesis.

      The NDP have been urging the Liberals to accelerate their Green Energy Act wind/solar/conservation junk that is driving up power rates. All parties signed the death warrant on coal, even the coal plants retrofitted at substantial expense with effective modern scrubbers.

      On your point 3, while I agree that the Lakeview coal station was equipped with electrostatic precipitators, it did not have scrubbers to capture sulphur and nitrogen oxides and it had far worse emissions per kWh of production than the scrubbed units at Nanticoke and Lambton. On your point 8, I think that Kathleen Wynne was a key member of an organized gang using public money for private purposes and coordinating the destruction of public documents to cover up responsibility and avoid being held to account.

      The PCs are using the gas scandal to try to bring down the government and I believe that the PCs are absolutely right to do so. The Liberal government has behaved like gangsters and should be punished both politically and to the full extent of the criminal law. Would the current PCs get Ontario’s power system back to basics of serving customers? Recent initiatives of the PCs that raise concerns about the direction of the PCs are headed are discussed here:

      I remain hopeful that Mr. Hudak’s PCs can be persuaded to dump their various proposals to use the power system as a toy to buy regional votes.

    • 1. Hudak was against Green Energy Act from Day 1.
      2. Hudak fought against Mississauga and Oakville gas plants before McGuinty signed the contracts.
      3. The only reason gas plants were needed was to back-up unreliable wind and solar devised under GEA.
      4. Wynne signed the cancellation ordetr.
      5. The AG report stated that Liberals paid penalties that weren’t necessary under original contracts.
      6. Hundreds of millions spent on Lakeview scrubbers, only to have Liberals close it 1 year later.

      The only red herring here is the tripe you posted. And regardless of all that blathering, the fact is someone without proper access was given entry to the premier’s office and deleted hard drives that contained damning information on the Liberals. And just so you know, two seperate OPP criminal investigations aren’t red herrings, they are a sign of corruption. Take the partisan blinders off and wake up for gawd sake.

      • PaulinAjax,

        I totally agree with your argument that the gas scandal shows the current Libs to be deeply corrupted, but I respectfully suggest that you are too sweeping with your attack. Give Jon some credit for pointing out the importance of all parties endorsing the coal shutdown in 2003. All-party consensus can have ugly consequences.

        It may be that the fastest way for the Libs in Ontario to spring back to life is for a few of them to have a really bad day in criminal court.


  3. The gas plant scandal revealed part of the problem but not the whole situation.

    The ultimate goal is get rid of fossil fuels and nuclear. Then replace these sources with renewable sources for electricity supplies.

    Reducing the demand for electricity is another part of this plan and demand side management/energy efficiency is used to achieve this goal. Energy efficiency is one way of selling this to the public and dosen’t sound so draconian.

    Since the vast majority of the public dosen’t understand energy density it’s easy to sell them wind and solar.

    There is much more to this story like the money to be made out of all of this.

  4. Pingback: Review of the 2014 Ontario election leaders debate | Tom Adams Energy - ideas for a smarter grid

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