Queen’s Park: Members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts were expecting to question Premier Dalton McGuinty regarding his involvement in the ongoing Ornge air ambulance scandal. However, the Premier, similar to the disregard shown by Dr. Chris Mazza, the disgraced former CEO of ORNGE, refused to appear before the Committee to clear the air about his personal links, if any, and his Liberal Government’s years of gross incompetence and involvement in a massive scandal that has flourished under his leadership.
“The Premier’s refusal to appear before the Committee to provide answers only leads to more questions about what he knew about what was going on at Ornge and when he knew it” said Frank Klees, PC Transporation Critic. ” Past testimony, sworn under oath of numerous witnesses has confirmed that detailed information about the complex schemes brewing at Ornge was made available to the most senior decision-makers in the government, including the Premier and the Minister of Health. Some of the Premier’s closest political advisors have been involved in this file, and Ontarians deserve to know why he let this scandal thrive under his watch”.
The Committee issued an invitation to the Premier to testify in hopes of getting answers to the many questions that remain outstanding. “We find it incomprehensible that the government would sign over the entire operations of the province’s air ambulance system to Chris Mazza and the Premier was kept in the dark about the details,” said Klees. “Numerous documents have surfaced at the committee that contained warnings about the complex corporate structure and a bond offering that would saddle taxpayers with an additional $ 275 million of debt and we’re to believe the Premier didn’t know anything about this file?”
What did his various Ministers, his senior staff, the former Liberal Party President Alfred Apps or his former Campaign Director, Don Guy, who all have links to ORNGE Air Ambulance tell him or not tell him? Why has the Premier not fired his Minister? What did the Premier say during his meetings with disgraced ORNGE CEO, Chris Mazza? What conversations has the Premier had with former Liberal Party President and ORNGE lawyer, Alfred Apps or his own campaign manager Don Guy? Most importantly, the Premier needs to answer why this scandal was allowed to fester unchecked under his watch.
“These questions remain unanswered and only the Premier can set the record straight. Ontarians have a right to hear from the Premier and the Premier has a responsibility to respect the parliamentary process,” said Klees. “So far, there have only been two people who have refused to appear before the committee. The first was Chris Mazza who had to be compelled by Speaker’s Warrant. The second is the Premier.”