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Wynne must 'come clean' on Metrolinx perks: PCs

By Shawn Jeffords, Toronto Sun

Doug Holyday (TORONTO SUN FILES)

Doug Holyday (TORONTO SUN FILES)

TORONTO - 

Progressive Conservative candidate Doug Holyday says Kathleen Wynne needs to tell the public which Liberals were receiving perks at Metrolinx.

Holyday said Wynne should disclose which party members landed the free tickets to glitzy Toronto International Film Festival galas and an NFL game in 2011 as a sponsorship program at the transit agency ran amok, unchecked by senior managers. The public has a right to know, he told a teleconference with media Sunday.

“Kathleen Wynne needs to come clean and tell us which members of the Liberal Party were receiving these handouts,” Holyday said. “It’s clear that Kathleen Wynne will do anything to hide the truth from taxpayers to protect her own job.”

As reported in the Sunday Sun, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig was concerned that beyond having details of the troubled program’s malfunction, the Toronto Sun might have more information when it exposed the trouble program in August 2013.

“The story might focus on some of the people who have used the tickets and their links to the Liberal party,” McCuaig wrote in an e-mail to Metrolinx chairman Rob Prichard on Aug. 15, 2013, days before the story was published. The Sun story focused on the program, making no mention of any party links.

Asked about the Sun’s Metrolinx revelations Sunday, Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne said it’s an “internal” issue being dealt with by the organization’s leadership.

“It’s a discussion between the CEO and the chair and the president, and so the CEO has changed and tightened the rules around those kinds of decisions,” Wynne said. “Our interaction with Metrolinx, the really important interaction that we have with Metrolinx, is making sure that we get transit built in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).”

Asked if her office intervened to vet answers to the Sun story, Wynne said she was unaware of that issue.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she finds the allegations that Liberal insiders may have gotten perks believable given the track record of the Liberal government over the past decade.

“They take care of their own. Frankly, they use your tax dollar to take care of their own,” Horwath said Sunday.”They did it with Ornge air ambulance, they’ve done it with eHealth, they’ve done it in the gas plants scandals using over $1 billion to keep their own seats.”

Holyday also took a swipe at Metrolinx, which is responsible for transit planning across the GTHA. If a Tory government is elected, he said they will look at staff to make sure “everyone is pulling in the same direction.”

“Their biggest concern about the whole mess was being tied back to the Liberal Party, not stopping the waste,” he said.

Metrolinx spokesman Anne Marie Aikins said Sunday that when McCuaig became aware of the problems he took action, which included a policy review by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and changes to prevent reoccurance. In the e-mail to Prichard, McCuaig was “speculating” about content of the Sun story, she said.

“We are not aware of any tickets being used for partisan purposes,” she said in an e-mail. “We do not keep records on whether any staff belong to a political party.”

— With files from Antonella Artuso


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