ORNGE: Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives Push Liberals for New ORNGE Probe

Update: See previous posts – June 13, 2012 ORNGE: Helicopters Unavailable for Calls, Documents Show, June 6, 2012 ORNGE: Former ORNGE In-House Lawyer, Cynthia Heinz, Grilled over Marketing Contract, June 1, 2012 ORNGE: Health Ministry Probed 26 Deaths Involving ORNGE Air Ambulance Service Since 2007, May 30, 2012 ORNGE: Did Oshawa Receive An ORNGE Helicopter Base With the Influence of Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty?, May 30, 2012 ORNGE: Will Premier Dalton McGuinty Be Call to Testify at ORNGE Hearing?, May 28, 2012 ORNGE: Government Lawyer Warned Against Chris Mazza Plan, According to Leaked Documents, May 24, 2012 ORNGE: Leaked Documents Indicate that ORNGE Ran a $14.5 Million Deficit, May 18, 2012 ORNGE: Second Legislative Warrant To Be Issued for ORNGE Founder Chris Mazza, May 8, 2012 ORNGE: ORNGE Boss Chris Mazza Received Substantial Increase In Salary After Revealing to Board Another Company Had Interest In Him, May 7, 2012 ORNGE: …Physician, Heal Thyself…. Dr. Chris Mazza Too Sick to Testify Regarding His Company, May 3, 2012 ORNGE: Kelly Long “I Feel I Did a GREAT JOB for Both Pathway and ORNGE. I Feel That I DESERVED the Promotions I Received,”, May 2, 2012 ORNGE: Chris Mazza’s Girlfriend Glided Into Vice-President Position at ORNGE, April 27, 2012 ORNGE: Deb Matthews’ Proposed Bill 50 Would Block Ombudsman Oversight, April 26, 2012 ORNGE: Alf Apps May Have Engaged in Lobbying, Integrity Commissioner Says, April 25, 2012 ORNGE: ORNGE Execs’ Girlfriend, Daughter Did $6.7-million Report Using Google, April 21, 2012 ORNGE: Star’s ORNGE Investigations Nominated for Michener Award, April 20, 2012 ORNGE: Warrant To Be Generated To Compel Dr. Chris Mazza to Appear Before Queen’s Park Committee, March 31, 2012 ORNGE: Health Minister Considered Turning Funding Tap Off to ORNGE, March 27, 2012 ORNGE – Should Liberal Health Minister Deb Matthews Accept Responsibility For the ORNGE Scandal?, March 23, 2012 ORNGE – Liberals Refuse To Release Salaries of ORNGE Executives on Sunshine List, March 22, 2012 ORNGE: Ontario’s Auditor General Uncovers More Questionable Deals at ORNGE Air Ambulance Service, March 21, 2012 ORNGE: Former Ontario Liberal Health Minister Blames Ministry Officials and Board for Scandal at ORNGE, March 17, 2012 ORNGE: Auditor General Jim McCarter to Release Probe Wednesday, March 12, 2012 ORNGE: Ontarians Expected to Pay An Annual Tab of $22 Million (in addition to $150 Million) for ORNGE, March 9, 2012 ORNGE: Too Many Needless Government Agencies in Ontario, March 8, 2012 ORNGE: Demotes Top Executive Who Lied About Possessing Master of Business Administration Degree, March 7, 2012 ORNGE – Current Health Minister (Deb Matthews) Blames Former Health Minister (George Smitherman), March 6, 2012 ORNGE – Helicopters’ Tail Rotors Could Fall Off, says Frank Klees, March 5, 2012 ORNGE – How Much Did Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews Really Know?, March 2, 2012 ORNGE – Sells Gift (Chopper) from AugustaWestland Valued at $50K for $30,001.01, March 1, 2012 ORNGE – Ontario Opposition Parties Call On McGuinty to Have All-Party Probe of ORNGE, March 1, 2012 ORNGE – Some ORNGE Helicopters Unable to Enter U.S.A. Airspace, February 28, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Official Says He Lied About His MBA, February 28, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Fiasco could Hurt Ontario’s Ability to Cut Deficit: Former Deputy Health Minister, February 24, 2012 ORNGE – Where’s the $25 Million Dollars?, February 22, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Mistakes Disrupt Patient Care/Safety, February 22, 2012 ORNGE – Cohn: ORNGE leaves a black mark on Deb Matthews’ ambitious health reforms February 21, 2012 ORNGE – Minister of Health Refuses to Resign Over the ORNGE Scandal February 21, 2012, ORNGE – ORNGE Executives Let Taxpayers Down: Dalton McGuinty, February 19, 2012 ORNGE – Message to 400 ORNGE Employees “Shut Up or Face Criminal Charges & Jail Time”, February 16, 2012 ORNGE – Ontario Provincial Police Set to Investigate ORNGE, February 13, 2012 ORNGE Founder Chris Mazza Used Air Ambulance Expertise for His Own Business Interests, February 12, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Gave $1.2 million in Loans (One for a House), Plus a Huge Cash Advance, to Founder Dr. Chris Mazza Over the Past 18 Months, February 10, 2012 ORNGE – Did Alf Apps Quit Fasken Martineau or Did Fasken Martineau Quit Alf Apps?, February 8, 2012 ORNGE Scandal Teaches Belated Lessons, February 7. 2012 ORNGE – Dr. Chris Mazza, February 4, 2012 ORNGE – Paid Fasken Martineau Lawyer’s $9 Million Dollars Between 2006-2012, February 3, 2012 ORNGE – Auditor Warned Province Four Years Ago that ORNGE was “Handing Out Money Like Water”, February 3, 2012 ORNGE – Dr. Chris Mazza/Maria Renzella Terminated Without Severance, January 30, 2012 ORNGE’s Travel Medical Plan Targeted Those With $20 Million in Net Worth, January 28, 2012 Doctor Chris Mazza on Extended Indefinite Medical Leave – Needs to Answer Million$ of Questions, January 28, 2012 ORNGE Transports Patients In Dangerously Designed ORNGE Helicopters, January 26, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Foundation Charity Shut-Down and Closed, January 26, 2012 ORNGE – Has Appointed a New Board of Directors, January 24, 2012 ORNGE – 18 Middle-Management & Charity Program Cut, January 22, 2012 ORNGE architect George Smitherman brokered meeting between Korean officials and ORNGE, January 16, 2012 ORNGE – “The Jig is Up”, December 29, 2011 There Are Some Red Faces at ORNGE, December 27, 2011 ORNGE Hires New Spin Doctor, December 26, 2011 Doctor’s Salary Quadruples In Four (4) Years to $1.4 Million, December 20, 2011 Wanted: Paramedics for Emergency Flights on ORNGE’s Air Ambulance Helicopters, December 6, 2011 Orangeh Gonna Tell The Taxpayers How Much of Their Money You’ve Spent on Yourself ?

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ORNGE Air Ambulance helicopter

The Progressive Conservatives want to cut off $150 million in ORNGE funding unless the Liberal government strikes a powerful probe to fully investigate the troubled air ambulance service.

The Tories say they’ll bring forward the budget motion this Monday. However, they will need support from the New Democrats in order to pull off the drastic move and, so far, the NDP is remaining tight-lipped on which way they’ll turn.

The Liberals were quick to accuse the Conservatives of playing politics with people’s lives over the amendment to the budget bill.

“We want one thing, a select committee to get to the bottom of this scandal,” said PC MPP Frank Klees, who has led the Tory charge in the legislature on the ORNGE scandal.

For months, an all party public-accounts committee has examined ORNGE’s questionable business contracts, web of now-bankrupt for-profit companies, high salaries and odd real estate deals.

After negotiations between the three parties, it was agreed the committee would be allowed to hold hearings throughout the summer. They’d like to hear from ORNGE founder Dr. Chris Mazza. If he is unable to attend due to medical reasons, Klees said he’ll ask Premier Dalton McGuinty to testify.

PC Leader Tim Hudak said the Tory gambit lands the future of ORNGE and its funding squarely in the hands of McGuinty.

ORGNE Air Ambulance helicopter

“Somebody’s got to stand up and fight for patients,” Hudak said.

“If we want to restore confidence in our air ambulance we need to get to the bottom of this mess and clean it up.”

But NDP Leader Andrea Horwath isn’t convinced this is the right move. She is taking a wait-and-see position on the amendment.

“I don’t think anybody wants to see the ORNGE air ambulance system not be available to patients in Ontario,” she said.

“It’s too important for us to simply make a rash decision. I’m hoping that calmer heads are going to prevail here and that the Liberals are actually going to take a step down in this brinkmanship game they’re having with the Tories on the select committee.”

Reaction from the Liberal government was swift. They were quick to dismiss the motion as ludicrous as it would leave the province without emergency air ambulance service.

“I can’t believe it,” said Health Minister Deb Matthews. “I can’t believe they’d use patients as pawns with this issue. I just can’t believe they want to fire all the pilots, fire all the paramedics and prevent people from getting the care they need. I think this is a new low.”

The Star has been publishing an ongoing series on ORNGE that has, so far, led to the removal of the air ambulance’s management and board, a new accountability structure, a scathing report by the provincial auditor general and a criminal investigation.

Klees said the NDP and PC’s are “frustrated” about the Liberal’s refusal to call a broader inquiry into the scandal.

“We have only one option left and we are using it in defence of patients, we are using it in defence of front-line paramedics and pilots and people working at ORNGE,” Klees said.

 

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