The more I learn about the eHealth Ontario mess, the more I am reminded of the fiasco that the Liberal gun-registry program became during the Jean Chrétien government’s time in office. Same political party; same loosey goosey attitude towards taxpayers’ money.
Take note that in 1995 when the Liberals won Senate approval for Bill C-68, the gun control legislation, the government promised the registry would cost about $119 million, but that the revenue generated by registration fees would mean taxpayers would only be on the hook for only $2 million.
By 2002, Canada’s auditor general Sheila Fraser was blasting the federal Liberal government for exceeding its estimated budget, saying that by the time all gun owners and their guns were registered, the program would have cost taxpayers more than $1 billion. That’s 500 times more than the original $2-million estimate, folks.
Debacle and fiasco seems to be the bread and butter of Liberal governments at all levels, and Ontario’s latest eHealth debacle is further proof of this truism.
- A staggering $647 million spent on the Smart Systems for Health Agency (SSHA) with zero result.
- eHealth Ontario, the agency that replaced the disbanded SSHA, spent $5-million in untendered contracts in only four months, from its inception in late September, 2008, to January, 2009.
- CBC News reported that personal connections between top eHealth officials and executives at two companies awarded more than $3.3 million in untendered contracts.
- Shocking news that some consultants at eHealth were making $2,700 to $3,000 a day and that one billed for a $1.65 tea at Tim Hortons and Choco Bites for $3.99.
- eHealth Ontario paid a consultant who submitted an invoice for eight hours of work in which she said she consulted herself, then followed up with questions for herself.
- The Liberal government, not eHealth Ontario’s board, decided the terms of former CEO Sarah Kramer’s $380,000 annual contract and her $114,000 bonus.
- Health Minister David Caplan defended Kramer’s $114,000 bonus, saying it was something Kramer was entitled to at her previous job at Cancer Care Ontario. Not true! Kramer’s last bonus at Cancer Care Ontario turned out to be a more reasonable $38,000.
- An inept minister of the crown that refuses to step down over mismanagement of monumental proportions.
- A premier who refuses to fire a cabinet minister who has proven himself to be incompetent.
All too familiar, isn’t it?
It was freedom-of-information requests submitted earlier this year by the Progressive Conservative opposition under John Tory that we have to thank for the details about this insult to the taxpayers’ of Ontario.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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