The Provincial Election is set for October 10 and the Government of Premier McGuinty (Liberal Party) just lost its First Cabinet Minister due to Scandal.
Citizenship Minister Mike Colle resigned after Auditor General Jim McCarter slammed spending Controls on the Grants to Multicultural Groups as "among the worst that we’ve seen" after finding out that Grants were doled out without proper Paper Works and in some instances Much More than what the Groups were asking for. And the Election Campaign will Start in a little more than six weeks from now.
Colle's resignation comes despite earlier attempts by the government to defuse the controversy over the grants in the face of a series of Toronto Star revelations and opposition party attacks.
But the Government could find a little comfort as the Auditor ruled out favouritism in awarding Grants to community Groups.
A very interesting case the Auditor highlighted, the Ontario Cricket Association asked for a grant of $150,000 and instead got a $ 1 million and more than half of the Money still sitting on the bank. And the Auditor General added, "they clearly did not need a Million Bucks, this isn’t Cricket".
He suggested the furor over the grants, made in the last two years with no formal application process or criteria, was a case of the government shooting itself in the foot.
"We found no evidence that any organization received a grant because it had political ties. However, in some cases those ties did exist, and, when this is combined with a process lacking openness and most of the normal accountability controls, it can create the perception of favouritism if the organization ends up obtaining a grant," McCarter wrote.
Both the Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats vowed to remind voters about the Liberal imbroglio as the election approaches
Premier McGuinty quickly apologized to the People of Ontario and this what he had to say:
The lax oversight was "clearly not in keeping with the respect our government must have for every dollar taxpayers send us," McGuinty said yesterday.
"I want to apologize to the people of Ontario for not living up to the high standards that we have set for ourselves and that they are entitled to expect from us. I want Ontarians to know we are implementing all of the auditor's recommendations."
Judgement Day will Come October 10 if the "voters of Ontario" will accept the Premier’s Apology or Not.
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