Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty resigned last week and “prorogued” (read: suspended) the provincial parliament, a move that automatically shuts down its Committee on Public Accounts’ ongoing investigation into Ornge, the provincially funded air ambulance service.
Ornge has been under attack for months for alleged financial misdealings related to real estate and aircraft acquisitions, bloated executive pay, establishing a web of for-profit companies that converted public debt into private equity and operational failings that resulted in patient deaths. Earlier this year Ontario’s Ministry of Health replaced most of Ornge’s top management, and members of the company’s board resigned.
McGuinty served as Ontario premier for nine years and head of Ontario’s Liberal Party for the last 16. Over the last year he has repeatedly declined to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to discuss Ornge, an entity he supported and much of whose organizational structure was crafted by McGuinty mentor Alfred Apps, an attorney who served as head of the national Liberal Party from 2009 to earlier this year. Apps’ then law firm, Faskens, received more than $11 million for its Ornge-related work.