Hindu temple says funding request was ignored
Ontario's Liberal government was being peppered with allegations again on Monday that Liberal-friendly organizations received millions in funding from immigration programs.
Members of a Hindu temple in Hamilton said they are disappointed the government ignored their desperate call for help. A post-9-11 fire bombing of the temple gutted the place of worship in a misguided act of hate.
Ram Kamath said the Ontario government was pretty well the only group to ignore pleas for help after the $1.8 million building was burned down.
The temple's outgoing president said he was angry to see reports of similar organizations receiving money, especially when it was suggested that some of those other multicultural groups had Liberal Party ties.
Federal and municipal governments gave a total of $130,000 for the temple's restoration. Almost $1 million dollars was collected through donations.
Members of the temple were told at least four times that no provincial money was available. But the government did give more than $31,000 in funding earmarked for fitness equipment.
Kamath said the government can still help by giving about $400,000 to help settle the temple's outstanding costs and debts.
He also wants the temple to be recognized by the province as a historical site, as a reminder of what the Hindu community went through after Sept. 11, 2001.
Opposition MPP Andrea Horwath said the temple's experience is proof the government deliberately ignored some multicultural groups while handing out money to other organizations connected to the governing party.
The government has faced about two weeks worth of questioning about more than $20 million in grant money distributed by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration for multicultural groups.
Opposition parties have hammered Minister Michael Colle and Premier Dalton McGuinty, saying the funds were handed out without following proper application processes.
McGuinty defended the grants last week, saying "all kinds of year-end money" is invested in Ontario's cultural institutions in similar ways without any fuss.
The premier tried to deflect criticism, suggesting that ongoing questions from opposition parties are based on racism. His comment further enraged opposition MPPs.
McGuinty released a statement Friday night saying the opposition's questions are not racially motivated and he regretted making the insinuation.
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 by the auditor will not be revealed until after the October provincial election.
With files from The Canadian Press