Grant money continues to draw fire for McGuinty
Premier Dalton McGuinty admits his government has routinely given millions of dollars in year-end money without following the usual application process.
Coming under fire from opposition parties for allegedly handing out money to Liberal Party-friendly groups without following the application process, the premier pointed to between $40 and $50 million given to cultural institutions.
"We put all kinds of year-end money into the Royal Ontario Museum. Why haven't they asked about that," McGuinty asked reporters Friday.
"All kinds of money into the National Ballet of Canada; why haven't they asked about that? All kinds of money into the Art Gallery of Ontario."
McGuinty said the $20 million in grant money for multicultural groups by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration was awarded using similar processes as the arts groups.
The premier downplayed criticism from the opposition, calling it "yet another negative outburst."
McGuinty refused to directly answer reporters questions about whether he thought the opposition was being racist, but said people can draw their own conclusions.
"But when it comes to a $50,000 grant to support immigration services in various communities, they're up in arms."
Opposition parties call that a new low from the premier.
"I think this is gutter politics," NDP MPP Michael Prue said.
"This is the worst example that I've ever seen this premier give. This is a premier who pretends he's a boy scout (and) squeaky clean, whereas in fact he has shown he is the one that is in the gutter."
Prue added that he worked for Citizenship and Immigration for 20 years and does not know "what the hell he's (McGuinty) talking about."
Conservative Leader John Tory said McGuinty was trying to "play a race card" and called it "a shocking lack of leadership."
"I think he should be embarrassed for himself that that's how he has to score cheap political points in this province," Tory said.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Michael Colle has faced more than a week of questioning about the $20 million in grants.
Opposition parties tried Thursday to get all documents related to the grants sent to the auditor general but the government used its majority to quash the motion.
That means any investigation of the auditor will not be revealed until after the October provincial election.
With a report from CTV's Paul Bliss and files from The Canadian Press