Author Topic: Ontario Liberals in the NEWS  (Read 3166 times)

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Offline George Wallace

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Ontario Liberals in the NEWS
« on: January 11, 2016, 11:31:39 »
If anyone follows Ontario politics and their association with Federal politics, the number of scandals that the current Liberal Party have before the public is so numerous, one has to now start using their toes to keep count.  This is just the latest, from the Saturday, January 09th, 2016 Toronto Star:

Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.

Quote
Ontario tire recycling fees fund boozy board dinners

The private agency designated by the Liberal government to recycle Ontario’s used tires has spent thousands on wine tastings, fine dining, a boat cruise, luxury hotels — and donations to the Liberal Party of Ontario.

By: Moira Welsh Investigative News reporter, Published on Sat Jan 09 2016
The Toronto Star

The private agency designated by the Liberal government to recycle Ontario’s used tires has spent thousands of dollars on wine tastings, meals at fine restaurants, a boat cruise, luxury hotels — and donations to the Liberal Party of Ontario.

The Ontario Tire Stewardship is funded by car and truck drivers who collectively have paid millions of dollars in tire recycling fees since the program began in 2009. Each consumer pays $4.25 as an “eco fee” when a tire is purchased. Proceeds of the recycling program fund the stewardship’s operations.

Credit card statements obtained by the Star show stewardship executives and board members have enjoyed fine wines, gin martinis and steak dinners while discussing the agency’s business.

At the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa, $16,104 was spent for 13 board and staff members for a three-day stay for a board meeting of the Etobicoke-based agency in 2015. Another event, this one on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka last summer, included a sunset boat cruise.

At the Trius Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, 10 of the agency’s directors and executives enjoyed a vineyard tour and a five-course tasting menu, with 10 bottles of wine, in the summer of 2014 ($2,023), plus accommodations at the Prince of Wales Hotel ($2,200).
At Via Allegro in Etobicoke, two people enjoyed a $288 dinner where elk tenderloin, wild boar chops, cabernet sauvignon and Italian lager were served. Names of those in attendance were not listed.

“I am not uncomfortable with the nature of the meetings, the nature of the meals, or the nature of the accommodations,” said Glenn Maidment, chair of the tire stewardship. “All of those things, I think, were fair and reasonable.”

The corporate credit card statements are under the name of tire stewardship executive director Andrew Horsman, but typically include the expenses of others who attended the events.

While many amounts charged were large — $600 in wine at a Collingwood dinner —Horsman’s card shows occasional individual charges for a $7 Booster Juice drink.

The expense documents provide rare insight into the spending of the government-legislated agency that operates without public oversight, despite overseeing the collection of roughly $80 million a year in recycling fees.

In the past few years, consumers paid between $5.45 and $5.84 in recycling fees on each newly purchased passenger vehicle tire (truck tires have higher fees). Current passenger tire charges are $4.25 per tire.

Those fees fund the Etobicoke-based stewardship, which is tasked with recycling the 12 million tires disposed of in Ontario each year. The producers and retailers of tires initially pay these fees, but all costs are passed on to the consumer. A proposed provincial law, if passed, would eventually phase out the stewardship and others like it.

Documents, including partial credit card statements and restaurant receipts for 16 separate months dating back to 2011, offer a snapshot of how Horsman, Maidment and other board members spend some of the money paid by the public to recycle tires. Horsman said in an emailed statement that expenditures on board functions are just “0.1 per cent of our overall administration costs.”

In some cases, the records show money was used for political donations, something industry sources told the Star is unusual in a government-created agency.

The stewardship spent $3,200 on a donation to the Liberal’s 2015 Summer Golf Classic “with special guests Hon. Kathleen Wynne & Members of the Ontario Liberal Caucus.” Maidment said the stewardship was “absolutely” justified in donating money to meet Wynne on the course and explain concerns about changes related to the program’s $49.6-million surplus.

An additional $1,000 donation was made to the Liberal’s May 2014 campaign fundraising event headlined by then Liberal environment minister Jim Bradley with “special guest” MPP Eric Hoskins. The event was hosted by Labatt Breweries at John Labatt Hall on Queens Quay shortly before the election.

Credit card payments show $500 given to the New Democratic Party in 2013, billed through a telephone donation service. It’s unclear if any money was donated to the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

“These are modest contributions as a way of supporting the democratic process,” Maidment told the Star.

The Ontario Liberal Party defended the political contributions.

“Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) is not a government agency, nor is it funded by the government,” said party spokesperson Patricia Favre.

“Fundraising happens across all parties and is just one of the ways people can be a part of the democratic process.”

The Star approached Horsman and Maidment earlier this week with a list of questions about the expenses. Their emailed response did not answer the Star’s specific questions.

The statement said the stewardship board is “comprised of highly skilled volunteers who receive no remuneration.”

“We maintain the highest standards and practices and a strict focus on controlling costs to ensure we use funds provided by stewards responsibly,” the statement read.

Though not in the documents, Maidment confirmed to the Star that each board member was given a new iPad as a Christmas present two years ago. Some board members said they’d return the iPads when their time on the board was done, he said.

“The iPad idea was a way of getting to do our little part in the whole green economy and get rid of paperwork. It has worked. Our meetings are essentially paperless as a result of the iPads,” he said.

The Liberals proposed new waste legislation last fall, which, if passed, would eventually dissolve recycling stewardships and replace them with a more competitive system.

Sources in the recycling industry worry how the stewardship’s $49.6-million surplus will be disbursed, if the organization is dismantled.
What the documents reveal:

Ontario Tire Stewardship documents reveal spending on booze, meals and hotel stays by the provincially mandated organization funded by consumer recycling fees. The Star obtained partial credit card statements of executive director Andrew Horsman for 16 individual months over a five-year period. His card is used for many stewardship expenses.

Chocolate Cake: $1,329.12 for a dinner in a private dining room at Toronto’s beerbistro in October 2014. The meal for 13 people included 10 orders of steak frites, three chicken entrees, one order of salmon, a dozen slices of chocolate cake and 37 glasses of beer and wine. Drinks included Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Sierra Nevada Torpedo beer, draft tasters, shiraz and malbec wine.

The receipt noted “CATRA” — the Canadian Alliance of Tire Recycling Agencies. Stewardship chair Glenn Maidment said each provincial agency hosts an annual dinner on a rotating basis and his agency was the host in 2014.

The Château: $16,104.94 for three nights in June 2013 at the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa for an annual board meeting of 11 executives and board members. A detailed invoice shows Horsman’s final bill was $1,766.97 and Maidment’s was $1,510.74. The Star asked stewardship officials why board meetings are held in other cities and at a winery when the Etobicoke-based agency has ample space and a large boardroom. Maidment said they had a tour of a new recycling facility in eastern Ontario and it was natural to stay in Ottawa.

Yorkville Classic: $646.36 for a February 2012 meal for eight people at Bistro 990, including oysters, crème brûlée, Guinness, Jack Daniels, gin martinis and cabernet sauvignon.

Sunset Cruise: $1,235.23 for a board meeting in June 2015 at The Rosseau Muskoka resort, considered one of Canada’s most luxurious resorts. Horsman charged the stewardship for a $332 Buick rental car, $111 at the LCBO and took the board of directors on a $573 cruise. They sailed on the M.V. Idyllwood, a restoration/reproduction of a 40-foot 1920s-era private yacht.

Wine and Dine: $2,023.55 for a June 2014 tour of the Trius Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the board and executives. Dinner included a five-course tasting menu for 10 people and 10 bottles of wine. Accommodations for the event at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake were billed at $2,200.

The Trius invoice said the tour “follows the path of the grape from the vineyard through the cellar to the finished wine.” Canapés and mini burgers with “icewine onion jam” were served at the reception, followed by dinner with “the wine maker’s preferred wine selection, giving each guest the opportunity to enjoy the ideal wine and food marriage.”

Power Smoothies: Four individual Booster Juice drinks in the city’s west end, ranging from $7.18 to $9.72.

Downtown Christmas: $2,000 holiday dinner celebrated at Le Germain Hotel in Toronto’s Maple Leaf Square. Christmas dinner is an annual event for executives and board members.


Moira Welsh can be reached at mwelsh@thestar.ca or (416) 869-4073



More on LINK.

And to think that many of the staff who advised Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne are now in the employ of the Federal Liberals, one has to begin to ask questions as to where they may be leading us next.
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Offline Kilo_302

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Re: Ontario Liberals in the NEWS
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 11:42:33 »
You're right, let's get the NDP in there.

Online Remius

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Re: Ontario Liberals in the NEWS
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 12:22:36 »
Not a fan of the Ontario Liberals at all.

But if they followed election guidelines for donations (seems they may have donated to the NDP as well and is still unclear if they donated to the PCs) then I'm not sure if they have done anything wrong. How how private company conducts business is up to them and their shareholders.

This looks more like a Tire Agency thing rather than a Provincial Liberal thing.  If they are breaking any rules then I hope this would get reviewed and assessed and hopefully taken into consideration when  the contract is up.

Optio

Offline Colin P

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Re: Ontario Liberals in the NEWS
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2016, 12:51:47 »
When you get your own thread at Army.ca you know things are getting bad  [lol:

Offline c_canuk

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Re: Ontario Liberals in the NEWS
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2016, 10:09:06 »
sounds like we've got lots of ammo to resist any increases to the recycling fee for the next decade or so, as well as grounds to open the market to competition.
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