PC MPP Gary Guzzo organizes revolt against cabinet stonewalling

TORONTO, October 29, 2001 ( – A private member’s bill calling for a public inquiry into an alleged Cornwall paedophile ring has made it past second reading despite opposition from the Harris cabinet. In an unlikely scenario, several Tory backbenchers broke ranks and voted with Opposition Liberals and New Democrats in favour of the inquiry in a 56-20 vote. The incident marks the first time the Ontario Conservative government has faced successful mass protest from within its own ranks.

Conservative MP Gary Guzzo advanced the bill despite attempts by his party to shut down his inquiry request. He said “There are some very, very senior people here who have to be protected in the eyes of some people.” A recent OPP investigation into the Cornwall case produced 115 charges of sexual abuse against 15 men—among them lawyers, priests, probation officers, a teacher and a prominent businessman. The case has a number of suicides and possible murders associated with it. Mr. Guzzo, following his own communications with victims and others who had investigated the case, is convinced that significant, additional evidence implicating more persons in criminal activity, has been suppressed.

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