QUEEN’S PARK – The Ontario Progressive Conservatives are firing at the Liberals over Ornge. Alfred Apps, the former President of the Liberal Party of Canada and legal counsel to Ornge, testified today at the ongoing Legislative hearings into the issue. Apps reported “That the Liberal government was kept fully briefed by Ornge on its evolving corporate structure and for-profit business activities”, according to the PCs.
“Today Mr. Apps delivered an indictment of the Liberal government. He confirmed that throughout this process, senior members of the Liberal government, including the Minister of Finance and Minister of Health, were aware of Ornge’s questionable business practices,” said Frank Klees, PC Transportation Critic.
After Apps stated emphatically that at no point in time did he lobby members of the provincial government on behalf of Ornge, Klees presented him with a memo that Apps had personally written for Dr. Chris Mazza, the disgraced former CEO of Ornge, in which he coached him on his dealings with the Minister of Health and Premier. The memo alluded to a meeting between Apps and the former Health Minister responsible for the creation of Ornge, George Smitherman.
Apps also confirmed that he retained Don Guy, the Premier’s former Chief of Staff and three time Liberal campaign manager, to provide strategic advice to Ornge based on his influence and experience within the Liberal government.
“Ornge utilized its cozy political relationships to gain influence with high-ranking Liberal staff members and elected officials,” said Klees. “Mr. Apps has confirmed that this scandal runs deeper than anyone has previously imagined. The Ornge Scandal is now knocking at the Premier’s door.”
Apps claimed to have personally briefed numerous officials in the Ministries of Health, Finance and Economic Development and denied having “misled” the Minister of Health, as she has claimed on multiple occasions.
“Mr. Apps’ testimony today confirms the need to have a Select Committee on Ornge,” Klees said. “This scandal is immense and extremely complex. With each passing day we learn more about the corruption and compromised patient safety at Ornge.”