Sunday, June 14, 2009

John Baird Goes to Great Lengths to Cover Up for Lisa Raitt

John Baird is notorious for sticking his nose into things that shouldn't concern him. His past experience as a Mike Harris cabinet minister makes him believe that he still has provincial jurisdiction, and his very arrogance puts him into the thick of municipal politics.

He just wants to run everything, but since he's never done any of his jobs very well, he should focus on one until he gets it right.

In Ontario when he was Minister of Social Services he tried to privatize to save money, by having Anderson Consulting (of the Enron scandal) perform many of the functions once performed by civil servants.

A published report in early 2000 indicated that Andersen was charging an average of $257 per hour for work that had previously been done by ministry staff at $51 per hour. He also hired them to overhaul his department's computer systems which became the one of the biggest boondoggles in the province's history.

In federal politics he created an accountability act not worth the paper it was written on and his handling of the environmental portfolio was atrocious. Now his role as Transport Minister stands to become the worst performance in his entire career, and possibly the most scandalous.
Canwest News Service
June 8, 2009

Transport Minister John Baird is facing allegations of ``political interference'' and ``coverup'' as part of a bid to bury complaints of mismanagement against his Conservative cabinet colleague, Lisa Raitt
, in connection with her former job as head of the Toronto Port Authority.

New Democrat MP Olivia Chow laid out the charges Monday at a news conference in Toronto, where she also called on Sheila Fraser, the federal auditor general, to conduct an audit of the port authority to investigate why Baird increased the membership of the board of directors from seven to nine - and why Raitt, while CEO of the authority, was allowed to run up almost $80,000 in travel and other expenses over two years when the organization was running a deficit.

``I'm accusing John Baird of covering up the alleged mismanagement of Miss Raitt, who is the former CEO of the port authority, and he did so by changing the constitution and interfering politically,'' Chow said later in an interview from Toronto.

The Toronto MP said Baird ignored 2008 allegations of mismanagement and questionable spending by four of the seven board members. Instead, he changed the constitution - just one day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper shut down Parliament early last December - to expand the board membership from seven to nine members, and then he appointed two new members.

The allegations against Baird come as Raitt, who was elected in the 2008 election, continues to fend off calls from the Opposition to resign as minister of natural resources over two recent kerfuffles. In a tape released Monday night, Raitt says she wants to take credit for fixing the ``sexy'' isotope crisis, and questions the competence of Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

Last week it was revealed she had left sensitive, secret documents at CTV's Ottawa bureau for more than a week. Raitt says Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused her offer to resign over the documents, but that her press secretary, Jasmine MacDonnell, had resigned.

Chow says if there's nothing to hide, the authority should make public its expenses, its minutes of meetings, and any legal opinions sought in connection with its operations. In a letter to Fraser, Chow alleged expense payments were made without board knowledge and authority, and contrary to the legal advice made available to the board in 2008.

Mark MacQueen, chairman of the port authority, dismissed the allegations in a lengthy letter to Chow, also released Monday, as ``nothing more than an effort by a disgruntled minority of our board to smear the reputation of those members of the board'' who supported initiatives for expanding facilities related to the port, and the continued existence of the Toronto City Centre Airport.

Chris Day, a spokesman for Baird, said many of the concerns raised by Chow had already been raised publicly, and referred all queries to MacQueen's office.

Day added, however, that the Toronto Port Authority is about to undertake a scheduled special review by an independent auditor, something required every five years under the Canada Marine Act.

``This Special Examination offers an ideal mechanism for the Board to examine, in detail, many of its practices and protocols related to financial and management control, information systems, and management practices,'' Day said in an e-mail.

``The report will be reviewed by both the Minister of Transport and the Board upon its completion to ensure that all appropriate protocols are in place and a summary of the report will be made public.''


  1. I must protest this blog.
    It features an avatar that makes John Baird look manly.
    Please remove the aforementioned before I throw up

    Wascally Wabbit

  2. I have absolutely no love for the Conservative Party, or Stephen Harper, and definitely not for John Baird. But I hve to point out that Olivia Chow's position on the Toronto Port Authority serves the narrow interests of some of her constituents, at the direct expense of other Canadians, and the future.

    Like it or not, the Port Authority serves the larger interests of environmental justice, and the Toronto waterfront agenda of condos, townhouses, parks and promenades (and increased public investment in some of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in the country) will do us a disservice. If we want to get global warming under control, we will have to replace jets with turboprops (such as the Q-400, now highly successful at Toronto City Centre Airport), road trucking with electric rail, and land transport with water. The self-indulgent urban agenda promote as "clean" and "green" will hinder all of these changes.

  3. Thanks for the info. I realize that everyone has an agenda, but was merely trying to show a pattern for John Baird, who likes to stick his nose into all levels of government, often with disastrous results. Appointing two of his buddies to the board didn't help his integrity either.

    I've posted your comments for others to peruse.