TORONTO -- Ontario's new Progressive Conservative government has appointed a former British Columbia premier to lead an independent inquiry into the previous Liberal government's spending.

Premier Doug Ford says Gordon Campbell will head the Commission of Inquiry, which will issue a public report on its findings by Aug. 30.

Ford also announced that the province is taking bids from outside experts to conduct a line-by-line audit of government books.

He says the inquiry will provide answers on what went wrong with the province's finances, while the audit will shed light on how the government can fix those issues.

The premier has pledged that the Commission of Inquiry would build on the work of the province's auditor general, Bonnie Lysyk, who has suggested the government understated its deficit by billions.

The former Liberal government attributed the discrepancy to an accounting dispute related to calculations surrounding its Fair Hydro Plan and pension expenses.