Progressive-Conservatives suddenly lukewarm to holding up controversial casino deals
There's been a noticeable change in tune from the Progressive-Conservatives over the controversy surrounding Ontario's casino contracts.
The story is one that the PC's used last fall to hammer Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa, who is responsible for the gambling file at Queen's Park.
Word broke from British Columbia that the holder of multi-billion dollar Ontario government contracts had been implicated in a money laundering investigation, even as gaming agencies in this province awarded that company the rights to expand its operations.
There were allegations that employees of Great Canadian Gaming knowingly accepted millions of dollars worth of suspicious transactions at the company's casino near Vancouver.
The company, which has been picked to operate a planned casino at Etobicoke's Woodbine Racetrack, has denied any wrong-doing.
Last October, the PC's called for Great Canadian Gaming's contracts to be put on hold so that authorities could investigate.
Finance Critic Vic Fedeli slammed the Ontario Liberals over the business deals, saying they "don't pass the smell test."
"This is a serious issue that is not to be swept under the rug," Fedeli said.
The PC's followed it up with allegations that Great Canadian Gaming was benefiting from tight Liberal ties.
On Tuesday, the PC candidate who took over as party leader from Patrick Brown was not so sure Ontario needs to take a pause, after all.
Doug Ford stopped short of committing to any action on the casino issue, if he's elected Premier.
"I just want to make sure we get the details first before we promise anything," Ford says.
"We'll have a very highly qualified person looking into it."
An investigation by Global News has found that the PC's attacks on the casino file stopped around the same time the party was lobbied by BloombergSen, a hedge fund based in Toronto.
The family behind the fund donated to the failed PC leadership campaign of now-election candidate Caroline Mulroney.
The group also had significant investments in Great Canadian Gaming.
PC operatives who worked in the office of the former Opposition leader told Global News they were not influenced by the lobbying from BloombergSen.
There has been criticism from some financial experts that the Ontario government lost big in its dealings with Great Canadian Gaming.
The price of the company's stock jumped by about 40 per cent this month.
It came after Great Canadian Gaming reported on how profitable its new Toronto-area contracts are, especially considering how much the company paid.
Great Canadian Gaming's stock market value went up more than $900 million.