February 27, 2004

Frost Hits the Rhubarb

Ontario: Hydro One

Crack down hard on pork-barrelling Toronto Star, Feb. 25, 04 via Jack's Newswatch, Feb. 25, 04

[McGuinty] should order Hydro One to divulge the details of its controversial contracts without delay.

If there was any doubt that new rules are needed it was dispelled by Hydro One's first reaction to the publicity about the contracts. It refused to divulge details, saying such information could compromise important commercial secrets or sensitive advice to the government.

What nonsense. How would details of a training program for which Hydro One paid a Gourley-related firm $8,500 per head for each of its 400 managers to attend a one-day leadership session compromise anything?

[. . . .] In addition, McGuinty must insist Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation and every other provincial Crown corporation and ministry not contract out work to consultants that can be carried out by in-house staff. Where there is, however, work for which there is not adequate in-house expertise, McGuinty should rewrite the rules to require the tendering of every contract over a certain, nominal amount.

Further, McGuinty should require every ministry and Crown corporation to publish on its Web site a list of all outside contracts, their costs, and the individual or firm that won the bid.

This $5.6 million revelation should spur reform.

When Canadians entrust politicians with the power to spend taxes, they should be able to expect that the politicians will use that power not to enrich their friends, but to serve the public.

As we've seen, that's not the case in Ottawa, or at Queen's Park. There's a crying need for change.


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