Fox in the henhouse

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Dalton McGuinty may be hard pressed to escape the political vortex swirling about Greg Sorbara.

When your go-to guy, your right-hand man, your finance minister, resigns amid allegations of defrauding a company in a land deal,unproven allegation or not, there's a sort of knee-jerk reaction to call into question the premier's choice of candidates to control the province's purse strings.

It was hard to escape the imagery of the proverbial fox guarding the hen house following last Tuesday's bombshell that the province's finance minister was stepping down amid a search warrant's allegation he and three others defrauded Royal Group Technologies.

To be fair, Sorbara has yet to be charged with any crime and the allegations within the search warrant have not yet passed the litmus test of a court of law. It must also be noted that Sorbara has consistently maintained he has done nothing wrong and termed his Tuesday night resignation the responsible thing to do pending the conclusion of the police investigation. Still, the timing of Sorbara's sudden departure - on the eve of his government's throne speech - isn't good for McGuinty.

Not since the federal sponsorship scandal - involving members of yet another Liberal government - has a leader been left looking so vulnerable.

While Prime Minister Paul Martin wasn't leading the country during the time the federal sponsorship program allowed millions in federal money to be funnelled to Quebec-based advertising firms, he was - coincidentally enough - the country's finance minister. Political opponents had a field day with the awkward juxtaposition of Martin's political station at the time of the money-for-nothing sponsorship debacle.

Suddenly, Jean Chrtien's squeaky-clean successor was seen as either the mastermind of the greatest misuse of tax dollars in Canadian history, or an incompetent finance minister who wasn't even aware how millions of tax dollars were being spent.

So far, only bureaucratic heads have rolled over the Ottawa scandal. Martin appears to have weathered the storm while sailing to victory (albeit as the admiral of a tenuously-positioned minority government) in last year's federal election.

While McGuinty is in no way tied to the RCMP investigation that named his finance minister in a search warrant of a family-owned business, should Sorbara be found guilty of any kind of financial wrongdoing, it could be the anchor that sinks the good ship Dalton.

* * *

GIVE THEM SHELTER

Two weeks after a killer tremor literally shook the foundations of their existence, millions of people in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan have no way of sheltering themselves as winter approaches. While the estimated death toll from the massive earthquake jumped to 54,000 last weekend, it's a frantic race against time to ensure that thousands more don't perish due to exposure to cold weather.

Without a roof over their heads, the region's earthquake survivors desperately need 200,000 tents if they hope to have a fighting chance. South Asian authorities have issued repeated pleas for tents to help temporarily house the masses that have been left without even the most basic shelter.

What can we do? Relief agencies say the most effective method of helping the homeless half a world away is through cash donations. To donate to earthquake relief, consider contacting the Canadian Red Cross at 1-800-418-1111 (www.redcross.ca) or World Vision Canada at 1-800-268-5528 (www.worldvision.ca).

Fox in the henhouse

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Dalton McGuinty may be hard pressed to escape the political vortex swirling about Greg Sorbara.

When your go-to guy, your right-hand man, your finance minister, resigns amid allegations of defrauding a company in a land deal,unproven allegation or not, there's a sort of knee-jerk reaction to call into question the premier's choice of candidates to control the province's purse strings.

It was hard to escape the imagery of the proverbial fox guarding the hen house following last Tuesday's bombshell that the province's finance minister was stepping down amid a search warrant's allegation he and three others defrauded Royal Group Technologies.

To be fair, Sorbara has yet to be charged with any crime and the allegations within the search warrant have not yet passed the litmus test of a court of law. It must also be noted that Sorbara has consistently maintained he has done nothing wrong and termed his Tuesday night resignation the responsible thing to do pending the conclusion of the police investigation. Still, the timing of Sorbara's sudden departure - on the eve of his government's throne speech - isn't good for McGuinty.

Not since the federal sponsorship scandal - involving members of yet another Liberal government - has a leader been left looking so vulnerable.

While Prime Minister Paul Martin wasn't leading the country during the time the federal sponsorship program allowed millions in federal money to be funnelled to Quebec-based advertising firms, he was - coincidentally enough - the country's finance minister. Political opponents had a field day with the awkward juxtaposition of Martin's political station at the time of the money-for-nothing sponsorship debacle.

Suddenly, Jean Chrtien's squeaky-clean successor was seen as either the mastermind of the greatest misuse of tax dollars in Canadian history, or an incompetent finance minister who wasn't even aware how millions of tax dollars were being spent.

So far, only bureaucratic heads have rolled over the Ottawa scandal. Martin appears to have weathered the storm while sailing to victory (albeit as the admiral of a tenuously-positioned minority government) in last year's federal election.

While McGuinty is in no way tied to the RCMP investigation that named his finance minister in a search warrant of a family-owned business, should Sorbara be found guilty of any kind of financial wrongdoing, it could be the anchor that sinks the good ship Dalton.

* * *

GIVE THEM SHELTER

Two weeks after a killer tremor literally shook the foundations of their existence, millions of people in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan have no way of sheltering themselves as winter approaches. While the estimated death toll from the massive earthquake jumped to 54,000 last weekend, it's a frantic race against time to ensure that thousands more don't perish due to exposure to cold weather.

Without a roof over their heads, the region's earthquake survivors desperately need 200,000 tents if they hope to have a fighting chance. South Asian authorities have issued repeated pleas for tents to help temporarily house the masses that have been left without even the most basic shelter.

What can we do? Relief agencies say the most effective method of helping the homeless half a world away is through cash donations. To donate to earthquake relief, consider contacting the Canadian Red Cross at 1-800-418-1111 (www.redcross.ca) or World Vision Canada at 1-800-268-5528 (www.worldvision.ca).

Fox in the henhouse

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Dalton McGuinty may be hard pressed to escape the political vortex swirling about Greg Sorbara.

When your go-to guy, your right-hand man, your finance minister, resigns amid allegations of defrauding a company in a land deal,unproven allegation or not, there's a sort of knee-jerk reaction to call into question the premier's choice of candidates to control the province's purse strings.

It was hard to escape the imagery of the proverbial fox guarding the hen house following last Tuesday's bombshell that the province's finance minister was stepping down amid a search warrant's allegation he and three others defrauded Royal Group Technologies.

To be fair, Sorbara has yet to be charged with any crime and the allegations within the search warrant have not yet passed the litmus test of a court of law. It must also be noted that Sorbara has consistently maintained he has done nothing wrong and termed his Tuesday night resignation the responsible thing to do pending the conclusion of the police investigation. Still, the timing of Sorbara's sudden departure - on the eve of his government's throne speech - isn't good for McGuinty.

Not since the federal sponsorship scandal - involving members of yet another Liberal government - has a leader been left looking so vulnerable.

While Prime Minister Paul Martin wasn't leading the country during the time the federal sponsorship program allowed millions in federal money to be funnelled to Quebec-based advertising firms, he was - coincidentally enough - the country's finance minister. Political opponents had a field day with the awkward juxtaposition of Martin's political station at the time of the money-for-nothing sponsorship debacle.

Suddenly, Jean Chrtien's squeaky-clean successor was seen as either the mastermind of the greatest misuse of tax dollars in Canadian history, or an incompetent finance minister who wasn't even aware how millions of tax dollars were being spent.

So far, only bureaucratic heads have rolled over the Ottawa scandal. Martin appears to have weathered the storm while sailing to victory (albeit as the admiral of a tenuously-positioned minority government) in last year's federal election.

While McGuinty is in no way tied to the RCMP investigation that named his finance minister in a search warrant of a family-owned business, should Sorbara be found guilty of any kind of financial wrongdoing, it could be the anchor that sinks the good ship Dalton.

* * *

GIVE THEM SHELTER

Two weeks after a killer tremor literally shook the foundations of their existence, millions of people in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan have no way of sheltering themselves as winter approaches. While the estimated death toll from the massive earthquake jumped to 54,000 last weekend, it's a frantic race against time to ensure that thousands more don't perish due to exposure to cold weather.

Without a roof over their heads, the region's earthquake survivors desperately need 200,000 tents if they hope to have a fighting chance. South Asian authorities have issued repeated pleas for tents to help temporarily house the masses that have been left without even the most basic shelter.

What can we do? Relief agencies say the most effective method of helping the homeless half a world away is through cash donations. To donate to earthquake relief, consider contacting the Canadian Red Cross at 1-800-418-1111 (www.redcross.ca) or World Vision Canada at 1-800-268-5528 (www.worldvision.ca).