Warmington finds little interest in MaRS fiasco
Columnist Joe Warmington speaks with passers-by at the MaRS building in downtown Toronto. He found that people had little interest in the latest revelations about MaRS boondoggle. (DAVE THOMAS, Toronto Sun)
No one knew about it. No one cared about it. No one wanted to talk about it.
Apathy is not a strong enough word to describe the reaction to the latest Liberal government mess up.
Ask people about the latest $317-million MaRS research centre controversy on College St. and you get a look like you are from another planet.
Word is the Liberals put up $71 million of our money to build a tower at a former Toronto General Hospital building and also provided a $234-million loan for the project.
Someone decided that loan could not be paid and it was somebody’s wisdom that the taxpayers should cover all of this. Now we are poised to become the proud owners of a downtown real estate holding with a major debt.
No wonder there was no money for Madi Van Stone’s life-saving drugs.
I thought this was really going to upset people.
So, with photographer Dave Thomas, I tried to get reaction from people walking by the building.
Nothing. When I tried to explain it to people, their eyes glassed over.
It was only Day One, but it looks like the Liberals will dodge another one. If that happens, it will be no surprise to former Tory MPP Frank Klees, the outgoing Queen’s Park veteran, who put the spotlight on the MaRS debacle.
“It took us a year before anybody paid any attention to the Ornge scandal,” he said. “Finally, people started to notice and the police are investigating.”
Same goes with the gas plant cancellation scandal which started with denials and an initial cost estimate of $40-million. That figure grew to more than $1-billion and police are now investigating allegations that e-mails about the gas plants were deleted from computers in the premier’s office.
Then there was eHealth, another failed government initiative that ended up costing taxpayers about $1 billion.
We will have to wait for the final tally on the 2015 Pan Am games and the activities of the unnecessary, second-rate Metrolinx bureaucracy.
Klees thinks the $317-million figure now attached to the MaRS failure could be just the beginning of how much money will be dumped into this money pit.
The public should be demanding to see how this deal was put together, what real estate fees were paid and to who? The public should be screaming to learn how it was decided that Ontario taxpayers should bail out this project.
Perhaps, somebody should ask someone like Premier Kathleen Wynne why the government doesn’t have money to build a proper public highway or transit system but has cash to play around on the real estate market.
Klees feels there should be a forensic audit, saying it is in the public’s interest and the right thing to do.
Time is running out for Klees to make a dent on this one. For those who care about such things, the problem is the Liberals only have to wait it out for two weeks, get by this election and forget about providing straight answers.
Or voters could finally do what they should have done in the last election. Kick these fiscally-irresponsible Liberals out of office.
On June 12, voters have to the power to say ‘enough is enough’ and send this pathetic government packing.
Boot these bastards out.
“You would think sooner or later, the taxpayers would start to notice all of the money wasted,” said Klees. “It is frustrating, but sooner or later the public will have to notice the incompetence?”
Sorry Frank, but they were not noticing Wednesday afternoon right outside the very building where the latest revelation has been exposed.