TORONTO - Ontario's ombudsman is blasting the Liberal government for circumventing his office and using paid outsiders to investigate public complaints.

Andre Marin says the government is "queasy'' about referring public complaints to his office, even when the province finds itself in a conflict of interest.

He says they prefer to hire outside experts because the government can retain control of the investigation and the results.

Marin says this costs taxpayers more because the province pays hefty bills rather than using the existing resources of his office.

Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter has hired an outside lawyer to investigate whether provincial police Commissioner Julian Fantino breached the Police Services Act when he wrote an e-mail to Caledonia politicians.

Marin says the government could have asked him to investigate the complaint, but chose to hire outsiders because it's less risky.