In 2011, many Ontarians were surprised to learn that a guy named Chris Mazza had been paid $9.3 million over six years to run the provincial air ambulance service, Ornge. Various Ornge executives were paid another $10 million in 2011 alone. One law firm raked in $9 million to create at least 19 spin-off companies that effectively concealed what Mazza was doing. Other misallocations cost the people of Ontario tens of millions more.
But as it turned out, the Ornge scandal was no big deal. Not compared to what came next.
In December 2014, Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk dropped a bombshell. Under the Liberals, Lysyk reported, Ontarians have spent $8 billion too much for schools, hospitals and projects. The reason? Privatization. Under their “Alternative Financing and Procurement” (AFP) program, the Liberals have contracted out the management and financing of 74 major infrastructure projects to corporate lawyers, bank, and consultants. The result, Lysyk said, was that “the total of the tangible costs, such as base construction costs, financing costs and ancillary costs, was about $8 billion higher under the AFP delivery model than if the public sector had delivered these projects.”
In other words, the Ornge scandal was bad. But this scandal is 100 times worse.