I’m following the latest developments in Ornge. Chris Mazza has testified that he tried to inform officials in the Ministry of Health, and the Health Minister herself but was rebuffed. The Health Minister has said she knew nothing, and Mazza never tried to contact her. Either someone’s lying, or getting incredibly bad advice; either way we still don’t know that much more about what was going on.
And I get the feeling those involved still don’t fully understand how serious this actually is. There is an ongoing OPP investigation to see if public money was used to set up a for-profit company under Ornge’s authority; if proven it could result in criminal charges. There could potentially be a political cost to this for Ontario as well; under the Canada Health Act (C.H.A.) it’s illegal to use public money to fund healthcare in such a way. Ontario could face numerous penalties from the federal government including a cut to transfer payments for healthcare; If you ask some people the healthcare system is going through enough pain already right now- they don’t need the threat of further cuts.
Then you have Deb Matthews who should resign. I have a huge problem with her excuse that she was on t he election trail, and therefore wasn’t health minister. That is one thing that doesn’t change in a “writ period;” cabinet. In order to provide a continuity you are in charge of your portfolio until the day you either lose an election or resign. If Dalton McGuinty is going to move beyond this, she needs to take the distraction away from him and fall on the proverbial sword as the right thing to do.
Politically McGuinty is in a very shaky position where if he loses a high-profile cabinet minister to scandal this could be it for his government. The by-election in Kitchener-Waterloo could give him some breathing space if the Liberals win; perhaps then Matthews will resign. But I don’t think the Liberals will because people are tired of the waste, and scandal. And it’s a strong Progressive Conservative riding; it’s either going to be them, or use it as a protest vote and send the N.D.P. to Queen’s Park.
No matter who wins the by-election I think the Ornge scandal will eventually be what brings down the Liberal government.