Premier Dalton McGuinty’s officials plotted to keep the G20 law secret weeks before it was revealed that Toronto police believed they had the power to arrest anyone near the summit site.

That extraordinary disclosure, which dominated Thursday’s debate at Queen’s Park, is buried in ombudsman André Mar­in’s 125-page report, Caught In The Act, on what he called “the most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history.”

“Your government conspired to keep the facts of the war measures in secret,” Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak lectured McGuinty in the legislature. “And then, when the ministry itself wanted to do a press release to explain this to the public, somebody — either you or your minister — gave the order to kill the press release.”

On June 25, then-community safety minister Rick Bartolucci’s ministry drafted a press release outlining the changes under the Public Works Protection Act. But the news release was never distributed because, according to Marin, “by the end of the day, the ministry had decided to scrap the idea of going public altogether” since there was only one media call on the five-metre rule.

“Who gave the order to kill the press release and keep this secret from the public?” demanded Hudak.

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