The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled that former Premier Dalton McGuinty and former Minister of Finance Dwight Duncan, among others, will be forced to answer questions on the record in regard to the controversial decision to cancel the Slots at Racetracks Program.
The decision was released late last week (Friday, August 4). It came via a motions-to-quash ruling by Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Emery. A group of Ontario Standardbred breeders has filed a $65-million lawsuit against the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. in regard to the SARP cancellations.
As part of the legal proceedings, the breeders’ lawyers issued summonses for 13 witnesses, including McGuinty, Duncan, economist Don Drummond, current Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Ted McMeekin, the province’s former Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. In turn, lawyers representing the Province and the OLG filed a motion to quash the summonses.
Justice Emery’s Friday ruling dismissed the motions brought by the Province and the OLG, except when it came to Premier Kathleen Wynne and MPP McMeekin, whom are both currently sitting members of the legislature. When it came to the decision to exclude Premier Wynne and McMeekin from the lawsuit proceedings, Justice Emery cited ‘parliamentary privilege.’
According to a report by the Toronto Star, the group of Standardbred breeders have emailed a letter to Premier Wynne and MPP McMeekin requesting that they waive their privilege. According to the article, the letter references Premier Wynne’s recent decision to waive her privilege in order to take part in an upcoming trial in Sudbury.
In addition to McGuinty, Duncan and Drummond, former ORC Chair Rod Seiling and Horse Racing Transition Panel members John Snobelen and John Wilkinson have been summoned to testify.
The list of the 11 individuals that will have to testify as part of the summonses appears below.
- Karim Bardeesy – In February 2012, Bardeesy was the Director of Policy and Research in the Office of the Premier.
- Dwight Duncan – Minister of Finance in 2012, and Minister responsible for the OLG.
- John Wilkinson – Wilkinson was a panelist on the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel starting around June of 2012.
- Rod Seiling – Seiling was the Chair of the Ontario Racing Commission in 2012.
- Don Drummond – Drummond is the author of a report commonly referred to as the ‘Drummond Report.’
- Blair Stransky – Stransky was a Senior Policy Advisor in the Ministry of Finance in 2011 and 2012.
- Tim Shorthill – Shorthill was Chief of Staff to Staff to the Minister of Finance in 2011 and 2012.
- Darcy McNeill – McNeill was the Directoe of Communications in the Ministry of Finance in 2012.
- John Snobelen – Snobelen was a member of the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel starting around June 2012, worked for Ontario Horse Racing in March 2014, and was a former Cabinet Member in Premier Mike Harris’ government.
- Steve Orsini – Orsini was Deputy Minister of Finance in 2012.
- Dalton McGuinty – Premier of Ontario in February 2012.