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Liberals slam Tories for fax leak

Text of leaked speech

Greenhouse-gas drop of 20 per cent by 2020 will be target, Baird says
By Mike de Souza
CanWest News ServiceCanWest News Service

OTTAWA —The federal Liberals are demanding answers from the Conservative government after details of its new environmental plan were accidentally sent to an opposition fax machine.

At a news conference last night, Liberal environment critic David McGuinty said the fax was sent from the office of Environment Minister John Baird just after 4:30 pm yesterday, and contained notes for a speech on the government’s regulatory framework that might have contained privileged information that could have an impact on the stock markets.

In a letter appearing in some CanWest newspapers today, Baird confirmed certain details of the government’s plan, including a new overall target of reducing greenhouse gases by 20 per cent below current levels by 2020. Although McGuinty admitted he had reviewed the fax that was sent by accident, he refused to divulge what details he learned about the government plan.

“I must say that I am deeply disturbed that the Conservative government would have allowed a breach of this magnitude in advance of such a sensitive announcement,” said McGuinty.

He said a second fax was sent to the same machine in the opposition lobby warning that the first document had been sent by accident, and that the “premature release of this information could constitute an offence under securities or other legislation.”

After consulting with party officials, McGuinty opted to turn over the document, dated April 25, to House of Commons security. But he said the government should consider unveiling its plan in its entirety before the markets open today, in case others have accidentally received the information and could profit from it.

Baird was planning to deliver the speech tomorrow in Toronto. Government officials were considering releasing it last night on his website.

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