COLUMN: Blizzard – Compare Ford to McGuinty

- November 27th, 2012

Rob Ford’s conflict nothing compared to Ontario’s Liberals

by Christina Blizzard

What a relief it is in provincial circles that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been kicked out of office for a conflict of interest amounting to a piddly $3,000.

Now perhaps we can hound out of office some of the people responsible for the massive boondoggles at the province.

We can start with former Government Services minister Harinder Takhar.

In 2006, integrity commissioner Coulter Osborne found Takhar broke the Integrity Act by assigning a political ally to manage his business assets in a blind trust. The trustee is supposed to operate at arm’s length from the minister.

Osborne said Takhar was “egregiously reckless” in the way he handled his business assets while in cabinet.

Not only did Takhar not step down. He steadfastly hung in.

In Liberal circles, breaching the Integrity Act is a badge of honour, it would seem.

Premier Dalton McGuinty didn’t shuffle him. Takhar was returned to cabinet after the 2007 election. And last week, Takhar announced he’s running to be premier of the province.

And what about the $1-billion eHealth boondoggle?

Heck, here’s the judge bringing down the hammer hard on Ford over $3,000.

Just think what he’ll do when he finds out about all those millions of dollars in sole-sourced contracts that went to Liberal buddies over eHealth.

Ford’s so-called “sins” pale by comparison when you consider one Liberal-friendly consultant was picking up $3,600 a day for work he did for the government.

Then there’s so-called “Colle-gate” — where hundreds of thousands of dollars was blown out the door with no accountability, no followup.

One grant of $250,000 went to the Bengali Cultural Society in Toronto after the intervention of Liberal MP Maria Minna. A grant of $200,000 was given to the Iranian Canadian Community Centre — an organization whose entire board of directors donated money to the provincial Liberal party.

They gave $850,000 to the Ontario Cricket Association — a grant the cricket club hadn’t even asked for.

Then there’s the Ornge air ambulance scandal.

“To the nose of this watchdog, this just didn’t pass the smell test,” auditor general Jim McCarter said when he released his scathing report.

Who was at the helm of the health ministry when both eHealth and Ornge got rolling?

Well, that would be former health minister George Smitherman. Keep that in mind when the former mayoral candidate — defeated by Ford — starts to get preachy about his former rival.

Finally, there’s the $1-billion gas plant boondoggle.

In the middle of an election campaign, the Liberals pulled the plug on an unpopular power plant in Mississauga — to save a couple of Liberal seats.

Then, when Energy Minister Chris Bentley was asked to produce documents about that cancellation, he dragged his heels and was found to be in contempt of the legislature.

When that ruling came down, to hear McGuinty speak, you’d think it was the fault of the two opposition parties for holding their feet to the fire — not the fault of his government for playing fast and loose with campaign promises.

London, Ont., Mayor Joe Fontana is facing criminal charges stemming from his time as a Liberal MP. He has failed to resign.

Whatever you think about Rob Ford, he didn’t benefit personally from the $3,000 conflict of interest. It seems to me if you’re a left-wing politician in this province, you’re held to a much lower standard than if you are a right-wing politician.

Or do we just expect less of Liberals than we do of Tories?

Either way, I hope there’s a mayoral byelection.

I hope Ford runs in it — because I’m betting he’ll win hands down.

Let the voters decide who’s right and who’s wrong.

Categories: Contributor Columns

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8 comments

  1. allan S Hay says:

    Thank you for expressing how we on the right truly feel. We have been robbed., our support for Rob and what he is trying to accomplish will prevail in the end.

  2. Q_Impact says:

    Didn’t we have this same tripe yesterday? I am all for holding the Liberals accountable for their misdoings, but please stop trying to use it as an excuse for Ford. This victim mentality is getting stale.

  3. Accremonious says:

    Hey, you missed an important case and precedent. Edmonton’s former Mayor Bill Hawroluk? and his BI-L, Dr. Shandro! They got caught buying, rezoning corner lots, and selling them to Safeway Stores for shopping plazas. Hawroluk? actually went to jail, then was banned from running for mayor for 5 years.
    As soon as he was eligible to run again, he did and won handily. He was very popular because when he was in office we all had jobs in the private sector!
    [I am not related nor know him, but I recall he did a lot of good besides lining his pockets!
    Was he a Liberal or a Conservative, I don't know nor care! But I note the vast difference in personality....Ford is a blustering bully, and ignorant of the finer things in life.
    Please support a middle of the road, intelligent, bean counter, who knows how to properly budget for ALL of the people, not just the wealthy money grubbers! As a society, we have a responsibility to help our fellow less fortunates!
    Here is a principle you might want to research. Governments should not be allowed to borrow money. If a project is worth doing, it should be paid for with taxes and not having to pay interest makes it cheaper. This would force the wealthy to invest in the private sector [produce some real jobs] and thus grow the economy sustainably. Borrowing by governments is a reverse share the wealth with the rich! The rich investing in government bonds, debentures amounts to the wealthy sucking on the public tit! But then I am not an economist!

  4. chuck says:

    It hard to fly like an eagle when your surrounded by vultures. It time we get to the liberals where the real crooks are.

  5. Constantin says:

    I hope Mr. Ford wins a re-election. That will teach patriots such as Clayton Ruby to attack pro bono worthier targets. Too much legal “talent” spent for a petty political cause. “Partiturent montes, nascitur ridiculus mus!”

  6. Brian Mouland says:

    A few years ago we had a corrupt mayor in our city . We waited then kicked his ass out of office. The voters can hire a mayor and can fire the mayor. I live in a small Saskatchewan city but compared to my community the city of Toronto and city council look like a bunch of backward,ignorant ,classless hicks!

  7. Murray Risling says:

    Good article Christina — puts things in perspective. Don’t care about the personalities of our elected officials:Only care about policy and how they spend my money. I hope individuals involved in scandals above are taken to court and charged…. Were talking billions of dollars here. Makes me want to puke when nothing comes from it all, except a symbolic slap in the wrist or tongue lashing ….. If it even get’s that far.

  8. Figured It Out says:

    Proroguing the Legislature was nothing more than a desperate act of self-preservation. McGuinty & Bentley are both lawyers. If they had been found guilty of Contempt of Parliament they would have lost their law licences and their future earnings potential. They had no choice but to prorogue. It had nothing to do with ensuring an orderly succession; it had everything to do with guaranteeing their own marketability post-politics.

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