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No evidence Wynne oversaw document purge, OPP says

Ontario Provincial Police are alleging former premier Dalton McGuinty's chief of staff gave an outside tech expert access to government computers. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne calls the allegations "very disturbing."

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Police say they have no evidence implicating Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in the alleged destruction of government documents.

Ontario Provincial Police Detective Constable André Duval also criticized a senior bureaucrat for not "properly" advising his boss that an all-access password would allow someone to alter and delete files on all the computers in the premier's office.

Det. Constable Duval testified at a legislative committee hearing on Thursday about police documents released last week, describing events during former premier Dalton McGuinty's final days in office. Mr. McGuinty's chief of staff, David Livingston, is accused of orchestrating a plan to purge records in the premier's office.

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The documents have not been tested in court, and Mr. Livingston's lawyer has said he did nothing wrong.

Bureaucrat David Nicholl helped facilitate the purge, the documents allege. Mr. Nicholl told IT managers to set up the access for Mr. Livingston, according to the documents. Mr. Nicholl also told his boss, cabinet secretary Peter Wallace, that seven employees in the premier's office already had administrative access to computers. But he did not explain to Mr. Wallace that he had requested more powerful access for Mr. Livingston, allowing him to log on to all the computers, not just an individual machine.

"I believe if Mr. Wallace would have been provided that information, the outcome might have been different," Det. Constable Duval testified. "He was not, I would say, advised properly, informed properly."

The Globe and Mail reported on Wednesday that Mr. Nicholl has been removed as acting deputy minister of government services, where he oversaw the province's archival records. He remains in his role as Ontario's corporate chief information officer.

Det. Constable Duval also made it clear, in response to questions from a Liberal MPP on the committee, that there is nothing in the documents linking Ms. Wynne to the alleged deletion of records in the premier's office.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said in a statement prominently displayed on his party's website last week that Ms. Wynne "oversaw and possibly ordered" the destruction of documents.

Ms. Wynne challenged Mr. Hudak on the weekend to either back up his "false" and "defamatory" allegations or face legal action. He has refused to retract his statements.

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Police allege in the documents that Peter Faist, an IT professional and the boyfriend of Mr. Livingston's deputy, Laura Miller, logged on to four computers in the premier's office on Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 of 2013, just days before Ms. Wynne was sworn into office. The special access was in place until March 20.

Mr. Livingston, Ms. Miller and Mr. Faist have all refused to co-operate with police, Det. Constable Duval said. Brian Shiller, Ms. Miller's lawyer, said she would only agree to an interview if police assured her nothing she said would be used against her. Police declined, he said.

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About the Author

Karen Howlett is a national reporter based in Toronto. She returned to the newsroom in 2013 after covering Ontario politics at The Globe’s Queen’s Park bureau for seven years. Prior to that, she worked in the paper’s Vancouver bureau and in The Report on Business, where she covered a variety of beats, including financial services and securities regulation. More

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