It may be a new year, but there’s nothing new in the way the Ontario Liberals do business and waste taxpayer money.
The start of 2016 brought it with it news reports from the Toronto Star that the Ontario Tire Stewardship has squandered thousands of dollars on booze and meals; stays at luxury hotels; wine tastings and a boat cruise.
Why does it matter how the staff at the Ontario Tire Stewardship spend their money? Because it’s not their money – it’s yours.
The Ontario Tire Stewardship is a government legislated agency that operates without public oversight despite holding a purse of about $80 million per year of public money. It collects roughly $5 per tire from consumers for every new passenger vehicle tire purchased in Ontario. Fees for commercial vehicle tires are significantly higher.
The stewardship is tasked with using those fees to recycle the millions of tires disposed of in the province each year – previously burned or deposited in landfills.
I don’t think spending $16,000 at the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa; $4,223 for a winery tour, tasting and accommodations at the Prince of Wales in Niagara-on-the-Lake; or $300 for a dinner of elk tenderloin, wild boar chops and cabernet sauvignon is the best way to recycle tires.
What’s worse, the spending goes beyond luxury dinners and fancy hotels.
The Star also reported the Ontario Tire Stewardship has made sizeable donations to the Liberal Party of Ontario, including a $3,200 to the Liberal’s 2015 Summer Golf Classic and $1,000 to the Liberal’s May 2014 fundraising event.
It’s galling that public dollars have been spent so frivolously but downright insulting to know that an agency sanctioned and mandated by the government has used public dollars to line the pockets of the party that holds power at Queen's Park.
It’s almost laughable that the agency defends the $3,200 golf fees as justified because it allowed stewardship officials the opportunity to meet the Premier on the golf course and discuss their concerns about the program’s $49.6 million surplus, according to the Star.
I think the surplus funds would have been better spent reducing the eco fees, or coming up with a more revenue neutral program.
Better yet, speed up the passing of a new provincial law that would phase out the stewardship and other agencies like it, get rid of the fat cats luxuriating on the public dime and show some respect for hard working Ontarians and their money.