Frank Klees

Press Release

“That it is the will of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that the McGuinty Government call and appoint an
all-Party Select Committee to investigate and report on issues relating to Ontario's Air Ambulance system,
(including ORNGE and its affiliates).”

- Motion by Ontario PC MPP Frank Klees

Tuesday March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012


QUEEN’S PARK – Members of the Ontario PC and NDP Caucuses have voted in favour of transparency, accountability and frontline patient safety, Ontario PC Transportation Critic Frank Klees said today.

Klees’ comments follow a winning vote in the Ontario Legislature calling on the McGuinty government to appoint a special Select Committee to investigate the scandals surrounding ORNGE.

“We’ve been warning the government for more than a year that there are serious problems at ORNGE,” Klees said. “Today’s vote for the Select Committee is also a vote of non-confidence in Health Minister Deb Matthews for her mis-management of this file,” Klees added.

“It’s no surprise the Liberals voted against a Committee that will shine the light on their own mismanagement. They long denied they knew of any problems.”

“Dalton McGuinty and Deb Matthews didn’t even show up to vote.”

Individuals called to testify will be given whistleblower protection. The proposed Committee will investigate:

  • Ontario’s air emergency system in general;
  • ORNGE’s role and functions in particular, as well as those of its subsidiaries, affiliates and related entities;
  • The receipt and use of funds disbursed in connection with ORNGE; and
  • The role any Ministers, officials, political advisors and lobbyists may have played in decisions relating to ORNGE.

The Committee will also review operational problems frontline staff at ORNGE raised, which have posed risks to employees and patients.

“Following tomorrow’s release of the Auditor General’s report into ORNGE, taxpayers will have a better idea of what the government’s inaction is costing them.

With a $30-billion deficit, Tim Hudak and the PC Caucus have long known Ontarians can’t afford waste and mismanagement of precious health care dollars, Klees said.

“The Premier must respect the democratic will of the Legislature. His government needs to comply with today’s vote, create the Committee and let us get to work.”

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· The Ontario PC and NDP Caucuses have passed a motion calling on the McGuinty Liberals to appoint an all-party special committee that will investigate and report solely on issues relating to Ontario’s Air Ambulance system, which includes ORNGE and its affiliates.

· The McGuinty Liberals voted against forming the all-party committee.

· Health Minister Deborah Matthews has stated repeatedly in the Ontario Legislature that she would form a select committee should the Legislature want one:

February 23, 2012: “Speaker, what I can tell you is that if it is the will of the Legislature that they look at ORNGE, I will be nothing but supportive of that decision.”

March 1, 2012: “I will not presume the will of this body. I will let this Legislature do its work and I will support any decision this Legislature makes…If it is the will of this Legislature that a select committee be struck, I will be nothing but supportive. I will be supportive of this Legislature exercising its authority to look at whatever it looks at.”

March 5, 2012: “Once again, my answer remains the same as it was on Thursday. If it is the will of this Legislature that there be a select committee – I would not presume the will of the Legislature – I will, of course, be fully supportive of that.”

· Proposed guidelines would ensure the committee looks at issues such as patient and employee safety, management, oversight, governance and accountability mechanisms.

· Anyone who testifies before the proposed committee would have whistleblower protection