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December 5, 2006 permalink
Ahead of the auditor's report to be released later today, Premier Dalton McGuinty has responded to the CAS spending scandal.
McGuinty vows to end spending abuses at children's aid
Hours before the release of a report alleging misspending at several Ontario children's aid societies, Premier Dalton McGuinty addressed the issue for the first time, promising to put an end to spending abuses.
His comments Tuesday ended a widespread silence from the government in the week after CBC News revealed disturbing details from a leaked draft copy of the provincial auditor general's report on four children's aid societies.
Auditor General Jim McCarter brings down his full annual report Tuesday and for the first time it will also be reporting on hospitals and school boards.
The draft suggests that some of the $1.24 billion that the province hands out annually to 53 local not-for-profit children's aid societies has been spent on trips abroad, luxury vehicles and in one case, even a gym membership with a fitness trainer.
"We have not been getting good value for our dollars, in terms of the money we've been sending to the Children's Aid Society," McGuinty told reporters Tuesday.
One expense questioned by the auditor was a fleet of 50 vehicles at one agency — including two luxury SUVs for senior managers.
"That $1 billion is there to support services for children," said McGuinty.
"It's not to ensure that people who are employed at the children's aid societies enjoy a comfortable ride to and from the workplace."
He pledged that his government would put a stop to spending abuses and ensure money designated for at-risk children goes to them.
Liberals 'cobbled together' plan: opposition
Opposition parties said McGuinty's tough talk was too little too late. They said the Liberal's response to the auditor-general was "cobbled together" after the CBC revealed the details of the leaked report.
The provincial minister of children and youth services, Mary Anne Chambers, flatly denied that any action plan had been "cobbled together" in the past week.
Chalmers said it had been in the works for several weeks.