"‘We screwed up’, says local cabinet minister", wrote Kevin Werner in the Stoney Creek News, Jun.19, 2009:
"The Liberal government “screwed up” in its handing of the eHealth program, says MPP Ted McMeekin.
The minister of government and consumer services didn’t mince words in an interview, saying there were no proper regulations and controls in place to prevent consultants from abusing the system.
“We really screwed up,” he said. “We needed to have better rules in place and to make sure the kinds of abuses that have been exposed” don’t happen again.
Premier Dalton McGuinty, in the wake of another executive from the eHealth department resigning June 17, announced the province will no longer sole source its contracts for consulting services. There are also new rules for government and agencies, such as the LCBO, WSIB, Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, and OLG, that will no longer pay consultants for any hospitality, incidental and food expenses. Expenses for flights, train, and car travel, and hotel rooms will be reimbursed.
The new regulations are attempts by the province to prevent the expenses some consultants billed the government including one person, who was making $2,700 per day, expensing $1.65 for a tea from Tim Hortons, and $3.99 for Choco bites. There was another consultant who submitted an invoice where she said she consulted herself, and followed up with questions for herself. Even though government officials say there was a typo in the expense bill, the government still paid the consultant.
“You can be ticked off when a consultant (being paid) $2,700, bills for a cup of coffee,” he said.
Recently Dr. Alan Hudson, chair of eHealth resigned the position, after Mr. McGuinty days earlier had supported the doctor. He was replaced by Rita Burak, who worked for Premier Mike Harris, and who was brought in by former mayor Bob Wade to review the relationship between city staff and councillors.
Sarah Kramer, eHealth’s chief executive, who received a $114,00 bonuses in March after five months on the job, and was being paid $380,000 per year, also recently resigned. She received a $317,000 severance package.
In addition, the government has given $5 million in contracts to consulting firms without competitive bids, including $2 million to a company with Liberal ties.
Opposition parties have called on Mr. McGuinty to fire Health Minister David Caplan over his handling of the scandal.
EHealth was created in 2008 to develop electronic health records for all Ontarians by 2015.
Mr. McMeekin said the public will forgive a government that acknowledges its mistakes, and takes action to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Sometimes mistakes are made,” he said. “What (the public) doesn’t’ tolerate and shouldn’t tolerate is a government having made a mistake not prepared to own up to it.
“My Mom said ‘When you mess up, fess up,’ said Mr. McMeekin. “EHealth and some of the shenanigans going on over there was a mess up and we fessed up and we are trying to fix it and move forward.”
(Jun.19, 2009, Stoney Creek News)
Yep - just fix 'er up and pretend nothin' happened! Are you FLICKING serious!?
This is yet another clear, specific example of a systemic breakdown of Ontario's state-run health monopoly - which the Liberals have been warned about, and were aware of, for several years!!
That MPP McMeekin acknowledged his Liberals screwed up is one thing - but, what has MPP Jim Bradley said? Where are the reports of Jim Bradley, the smug Liberal health care monopolist from St. Catharines, when it comes to him explaining to his constituents what his Liberals have done this time?
Jim Bradley has FLICKING disappeared!!
Jim Bradley should be held to account for the eHealth scandal - seeing that Bradley, despite being asked to, ignored calls for the implementation of greater oversight and transparency in his government's health monopoly.
When he had the chance to speak up, Bradley did nothing: Bradley is culpable of allowing the eHealth, as well as other, Liberal scandals to develop and fester, hidden in unscrutinized darkness. Bradley favoured arrogant secrecy over transparency.
Bradley's adherence to ideology over transparency is now becoming shockingly clear.
MPP McMeekin admitted there were no proper regulations and controls: yet, when I wrote to Bradley asking him to acknowledge the systemic problems in his health monopoly, and asking that he request that the ombudsman and auditor be allowed access to investigate the Liberal's health care monopoly, arrogant MPP Jim Bradley simply ignored the questions.
Bradley had the chance to make a difference, several years ago: but a smug Bradley, shamefully, chose monopolism over transparency. Bradley ignored and ran away from the concerns of his own constituents. Bradley took a chance (gambled) that his Liberal's scandalous, if not outright criminal, mismanagement of their health care obligations would never be revealed.
And now that they have...well, Good Ole Jimmy's all but disappeared. What a FLICKING outrage!