Somebody ought to give Bonnie Lysyk a medal.
The provincial Auditor General is responsible for showing Ontarians how government spends their money. And for three years, she has done exactly that. Through her reports, she has painted a picture of how the Liberals at Queen’s Park do business. It’s not a pretty one.
For years, OPSEU has been saying that privatization is little more than a transfer of public dollars to private pockets. Two years ago, Ms. Lysyk gave us the proof. She’s the one who revealed that the province spent $8 billion too much when it let corporate lawyers, Bay Street bankers, and construction bosses manage 74 big infrastructure projects.
That report was a bombshell. But she didn’t stop there.
This year, the Auditor General spoke out again. “What stood out the most this year,” she said, “is the significant influence of non-government service providers on public-sector and broader-public-sector oversight and, in certain cases, decision-making.”
In her latest report, Lysyk zeroed in on road builders. As it turns out, the contractors don’t just work with the Ministry of Transportation; they direct it. They’ve been able to change the rules to help themselves – and get rich quicker.
Of course, this is exactly the kind of thing the Liberals don’t want the public to know. A recent public opinion poll found that 70 per cent of Ontarians think it’s good to have the private sector manage big public construction projects. But when they find out what Bonnie Lysyk said about those projects, that number drops to 25 per cent – instantly.
The lesson from this? This government’s survival depends on keeping Ontarians in the dark.
Bonnie Lysyk is shining a light on the Liberals. That being the case, it’s no surprise that they’ve gone after her. At one point, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli suggested Lysyk didn’t understand the “very complex” electricity system. This fall, when Lysyk said the provincial deficit was actually bigger than the Liberals claimed, Treasury Board President Liz Sandals said the problem was (wait for it) “very complex.”
For the Liberals, the real problem is that Bonnie Lysyk makes the complex clear. Her work is all about value for money, and that’s what she delivers, year after year.
That’s why we should give her a medal. Great public service should always be recognized.
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer
Ontario Public Service Employees Union