Frank Klees: Newmarket- Aurora: Minister, Can you explain how Ornge got into this financial mess?

Hon Deb Matthews Minister of Health: I’m afraid I can’t, Mr. Klees. You will know from your days in cabinet that the Minister is always the last to know if anything is going wrong.

Frank Klees: Newmarket-Aurora: Surely you had some inkling that things were amiss?

Hon Deb Matthews, Minister of Health: Not really. As is the usual case, the bureaucrats did the deal with Ornge.  I only found out there were problems when I read about them in the Toronto Star.

Frank Klees: What was your initial reaction when you read the story.

Hon Deb Matthews, Minister of Health: Originally I was confused. I read the article carefully and asked my staff, since when is it a criminal offence to make $1.4 Million a year?

Frank Klees: Surely your chief of staff would have been on top of this matter?

Hon Deb Matthews, Minister of Health: Possibly, who knows? As you well know my chief of staff, like every other Minister’s, reports to the Premier’s office, not me.

Frank Klees: What happened to the principle of ministerial accountability?

Hon. Deb Matthews: I haven’t a clue. I’ve read about it in books but  It certainly hasn’t existed in the time I’ve been here. As I understand it , my job, is to make announcements and re-announcements. My Chief of staff would deal with matters like Ornge, and that would be handled in the premier’s office, unless they felt it necessary for me to be briefed.

Frank Klees: Thank you.

 

John Best had enjoyed a lengthy media management career, in television and radio and now print. As Vice President, News at CHCH in Hamilton, John oversaw a significant expansion of the news operation. He founded Independent Satellite News, Canada’s only television news service providing national content to Canadian independent TV stations. John is a frequent political commentator on radio and television, a documentary producer and author of a book and numerous articles on historical and political subjects. John is a past recipient of the New York Festival’s award for writing in the International TV category.

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