The Dalton McGuinty government, after weeks of details about spending and expense abuses at eHealth trickling out to the media, yesterday released seven black binders with thousands of pages of documents following requests from the provincial Progressive Conservative party. Health Minister David Caplan said that the government wanted to be as transparent as possible. Opposition members, however, justifiably accused him of trying to bury the eHealth scandal under mountains of paper.
Today we have a reports that eHealth Ontario awarded $11 million more in untendered contracts than was previously revealed. The current estimated value of untendered contracts awarded by the agency is $16 million—about triple the $5 million we learned about this spring. Many of these contracts reportedly went to Liberal-friendly organizations.
We have also read that eHealth board member Khalil Barsoum travelled all the way from Florida to attend eHealth Ontario board meetings. An eHealth board expense claim form stamped March 31, 2009, shows Barsoum billed $1,374 for airfare, $117.02 for car rental and parking in Toronto, and $133.77 for car rental for the drive home in Florida.
This story, while it does not particularly surprise me, sickens me and further erodes my confidence in our provincial government’s integrity and its ability to properly manage the public business of the province. This is a greedy, cold-hearted clique of professional politicians and “consultants” with voracious appetites for tax money. The members of this Liberal clique are in there to enrich themselves and don’t give a damn for their duty to act honourably.
The provincial Auditor General Jim McCarter’s investigation into eHealth practices is expected September/October. Who though, I wonder, is looking into the practices of the endless number of other Ontario government agencies that probably have practices similar to –or, God forbid, worse than—those at eHealth?
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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