Monday, March 4, 2013

The Incorrigible Deb Matthews

That Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews, who presided over the Ornge scandal, remains in her portfolio in the new Wynne government is unfathomable to me. A woman of breathtaking incompetence who steadfastly refused all calls for her resignation as each sordid detail of corruption and sybaritic spending within the air ambulance was revealed, Matthews continues to oversee the agency with her consistently deftless hand.

The latest revelation comes in today's Star, which further solidifies Matthews' reputation for ineptitude:

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin warns there will be no “credible accountability” at ORNGE unless long-awaited new legislation to reform the troubled air ambulance service gives him oversight powers.

Instead, Matthews has opted for a patient advocate's post which, according to Marin,

will be seen as toothless because the patient advocate’s office reports to the health ministry.

“They would not be independent of government. Far from being watchdogs, they would operate on a ministerial dog leash,” Marin wrote in the two-page letter. “The ombudsman is a fully independent officer of parliament . . . by contrast, the patient advocate reports to an ORNGE vice-president, not even the board of directors.”

And exactly what will be the function of this patient advocate? Apparently, according to the job description posted last year, the advocates’ office will “investigate, resolve, document and report organization-specific patient and visitor compliments and concerns.”

As Marin tartly observes, “... a position that involves reporting compliments back to management ought not to be confused with the role of the Ombudsman.”

So, brickbats and bouquets, rather than substantive legislative oversight of the deeply-flawed ambulance service with the profligate misspending problem, seems to be the order of the day.

With regard to Health Minister Deb Matthews, I rest my case.


  1. Like Kevin Page, Lorne. Marin speaks truth to power. Those in power try every trick they can muster to avoid reporting to both.

  2. And sadly, they seem to succeed far too often, Owen.