Waste at ORNGE Far Worse Than Expected

March 21, 2012

QUEEN’S PARK – Today’s finding in the Auditor General’s report that the government failed to properly oversee millions of taxpayer dollars given to ORNGE demonstrates the need for further investigation into scandal at Ontario’s air ambulance service, Kitchener-Conestoga PC MPP Michael Harris said.

Harris made his comments following the release of a scathing report from Auditor General Jim McCarter. The report found that Health Minister Deb Matthews and the McGuinty Liberals completely failed in their duty to provide proper oversight of an organization that has received more than $700 million in taxpayer dollars since 2006.

“The Health Minister has continually tried to claim she had no authority to intervene in the situation at ORNGE and that she had no knowledge of what was occurring,” Harris said. “But the Auditor General’s report confirms what Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Caucus have said all along: the Ministry of Health had the authority, oversight and explicit responsibility for ORNGE and it failed to exercise that responsibility.”

From the Auditor General’s revelations today, to skyrocketing taxpayer-funded salaries for ORNGE executives and hundreds of thousands of dollars doled out to pay for business degrees for employees, it’s clear the Select Committee opposition MPPs voted to appoint to investigate the ORNGE scandal must begin its work as soon as possible to uncover any further waste of taxpayers’ money, Harris said.

Yesterday, the Ontario PC and NDP Caucuses joined together and voted in favour of calling on the McGuinty government to appoint a special Select Committee to investigate the scandals surrounding ORNGE. But in another display of arrogance and neglect, Dalton McGuinty and Deb Matthews skipped the vote.

“For the sake of quality patient care and frontline healthcare delivery, we need to put the best interests of Ontarians first. The Premier needs to launch an all-party investigation as soon as possible to get to the bottom of this mess.”