Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Health Minister Deb Matthews to Testify Again This Week at Ornge Hearings

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Health Minister Deb Matthews to Testify Again This Week at Ornge Hearings

Article excerpt

Health Minister recalled to Ornge hearings


TORONTO - Ontario's embattled air ambulance service will be in the spotlight again this week as Health Minister Deb Matthews faces another day of grilling by a legislative committee Tuesday about her oversight of Ornge.

There will be three more days of hearings by the committee looking into financial irregularities at Ornge, which is also the subject of a criminal probe by provincial police.

Matthews has already testified once, saying her ministry was kept in the dark by Ornge while it set up a complex web of spin-off companies with taxpayers' money to look for new revenue sources.

Much of what Matthews told the committee was contradicted by former CEO Chris Mazza during his emotional appearance last week, said Frank Klees, a Conservative member of the committee.

"We're looking forward to hopefully clearing up some of the contradictory testimony that we have had from Mazza that does not square with what the minister has been saying, or with what some of the civil servants have been telling us in their testimony," said Klees.

The committee tried to recall Mazza for this week's sessions, but his doctors have sent a letter saying he is medically unfit to testify.

Gelinas wasn't surprised Mazza declined to reappear after his lawyers shared part of a confidential medical assessment with the committee members to show he is not fit to testify.

"When I saw him last he did not look well," she said.

Two Speaker's warrants had to be issued to force Mazza's original appearance, but the committee accepted he will not testify this week after members were briefed on his medical condition.

The New Democrats said Matthews' claims of being kept in the dark by Ornge just don't fly.

"Her story and many, many other people's stories cannot be part of the same history book. They don't match," said NDP health critic France Gelinas. …

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