Mr. McCarter said he found no evidence that any organization received a grant because it had ties to the Liberal Party.
The bad news, of course, is that Mike Colle's Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration was handing out millions of dollars without asking for any kind of paperwork from the groups requesting the cash. In many cases (according to Mr. McCarter's interview on CBC yesterday evening) the grants arrived after group representatives met Mr. Colle at events, and in several instances it was two or three times the amount they had originally asked for. For example, the Ontario cricket club has invested $500,000 of the $1,000,000 they received (after requesting a mere $150,000) in a GIC until they can figure out how to spend it.
Unfortunately, this is a new variety of bad news for the McGuinty Libs. Previously, there had been no real question, no matter what you might have thought of the promises made and broken, that they were able to maneuver the levers of government in a relatively forthright and transparent fashion. That the administration was, at least, competent. Now...?
Overall a pretty bad week for the Ontario government, what with the "ghetto dude" incident, Kinsella's "intervention", and now this. Luckily, folks are probably more interested in BBQing than politics, and luckily the opposition Conservatives have been far less than inspiring. But the Libs better get their election machine cranked up pretty quickly.
Personally, I smell a minority in the works.
Update: Because it has come up in the comments, here is the section from the report re connections between the Ontario Liberal Party and the grant recipients:
One question we asked was whether political donations made by individuals or organizations
might have played a role in the receipt by certain organizations of a year-end grant. To help address that question, we asked the Office of the Chief Election Officer to provide us with a list of the donations that the 29 grant recipients we selected for review and/or selected directors and key staff members had made to any of the three major political parties
in the previous four years. We found that, in the last four years, only two of the 29 selected organizationsm that received funding had made donations. These were all to the Ontario Liberal Party and totalled only $1,034. The largest single amount of a donation was $280. We also found that, within the last four years, 43 of approximately 140 recipient-organization board members and key staff we selected for review had made political donations totalling $23,326, of which $16,814 went to the Ontario Liberal Party or one of its constitutency associations. The remaining $6,512 went to the other two major provincial parties.
The connections are pretty minimal, in other words. And here is a link to the entire report.SouthWestern Ontario Liberal has a good post on this today (and is hot).