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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Time for housecleaning at Queen’s Park

The Ontario government’s Auditor General Jim McCarter released his much anticipated report into the eHealth Ontario spending  scandal, and the situation at eHealth and in the Ministry of Health is far worse than even a cynic like me had imagined. The bottom line is, according to the audit report:

“Ontario taxpayers have not received value for money for this $1-billion investment.”

Perhaps as troubling is Mr. McCarter’s claim that senior health bureaucrats tried to delay access by his investigators into eHealth for an audit in the summer of 2008. That audit was not performed until February 2009.

For many weeks now the opposition parties have been pleading with Premier Dalton McGuinty to do the right thing and fire the minister of health. But Premier McGuinty refused. Finally, on the eve of the release of this scathing report, Health Minister David Caplan announced that he is stepping down. Shortly thereafter, Premier McGuinty announced that Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews will take over Caplan’s portfolio.

And what about Deputy Premier George Smitherman? Shouldn’t he resign also? After all, he served as health minister for five years, and Mr. Caplan only took over from him about a year ago. Rumours have been circulating that George Smitherman plans to run for mayor of Toronto—just what the citizens of Toronto need.

The lack of financial oversight by Premier McGuinty is shocking. And let’s not kid ourselves, these practices are not limited to the health ministry. The only way the people of Ontario will have any confidence that the root of the corruption has been dug out is for there to be a full public inquiry. As expensive as these inquiries can be, there are apparently billions of misspent taxpayers’ money at stake, and we need to know what the heck is going on.

To get just a taste of the extent of wrongdoing by McGuinty’s pals, see here, here and here.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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4 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. I just watched the McGuinty news conference about this scandal and he blamed it all on previous governments specifically mentioning Tony Clement who was Health Minister in the Mike Harris Conservative government.

    When McGuinty was asked what his own punishment should be, considering his Minister of Health resigned last night, he said talking to the press was his punishment.

    Pretty flippant for a guy who was in charge of a billion dollar boondoggle.
    NeilD

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  2. Yes, Anon 1:07, McGuinty is still blaming the Tories after six years in power…pathetic!

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  3. The report is an interesting read. It's at http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/ehealth_en.pdf if you are interested.

    The most telling pages for me are pg 27, which shows the expenditure schedule as follows:
    (in millions)
    2002-3 12
    2003-4 85
    2004-5 111
    2005-6 153
    2006-7 162
    2007-8 246
    2008-9 320

    So the lion's share of the money was spent under the libs, not the tories as McGuinty tried to imply.

    The other interesting schedule is the expenditures on consulting contracts:

    (in thousands)
    2002-3 375
    2003-4 886
    2004-5 4872
    2005-6 2825
    2006-7 4772
    2007-8 10160
    2008-9 38252

    So again the vast majority of the consulting contracts were given out under McGuinty's libs, and only about 1% were given out by the Conservatives.

    Finally, look at the single sourced schedule in light of who got the contracts and when they left the employ or a relationship with the liberals involved.

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