TORONTO - Premier Dalton McGuinty owes Ontario residents an explanation as to why two Liberal appointees on the eHealth board of directors resigned, including the Liberal party's top fundraiser, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said Wednesday.

Geoff Smith and Khalil Barsoum quietly resigned in advance of an auditor's report that is expected to be highly critical of the provincial agency, and after the Opposition filed freedom of information requests about Smith's business interests, said Hudak.

"I think we're owed an explanation by the premier considering the extraordinary scandal at eHealth that saw millions of dollars go out in untendered contracts," Hudak told reporters.

"On six occasions I asked the premier why his top Liberal bagman quietly stepped off the eHealth board. We had no answers."

In the legislature, McGuinty punted every one of Hudak's questions to Health Minister David Caplan, who said that the two members were not asked to leave because of the scandal over $16 million in untendered contracts awarded by eHealth in just a matter of months.

"Four questions, now five -- I will answer as many as the member opposite wishes to pose, and the answer will be the same: that we are determined on this side of the house to be able to get down to the bottom of these matters," Caplan told the legislature.

"I will not presume what the auditor will say, but I can assure the member that it will not be the partisan speech of the member opposite, but unbiased and independent."

Auditor General Jim McCarter's report into the untendered contracts and expense abuses by highly paid consultants at eHealth is expected within a week, prompting Hudak to suggest that's why the two board members walked away from eHealth.

"We found it very strange that two prominent members of that board, who are subject to FOI requests, stepped down yesterday," Hudak said outside the legislature.

Hudak complained the Liberals were quick to get rid of the CEO at eHealth, and fired the CEO of Ontario Lottery and Gaming over a similar expense abuse scandal, but still haven't held any cabinet ministers accountable for the abuse of taxpayers' money.

"If (McGuinty) can find a bureaucrat to put their head on a stick to hide behind, he does that," said Hudak.

"When it comes to his cabinet ministers there's no accountability whatsoever, and when it comes to Liberal friends, it looks like he lets them sneak out the back door."

However, new eHealth board chair Rita Burak said the opposition appeared to be "grasping" to create a story when there was no connection between the resignations and the FOI requests or the upcoming auditor general's report.

"I cannot imagine that there is," Burak said in an interview.

Smith informed her in June than he intended to step down because of business pressures, while Barsoum told her Sept. 11 that he wanted to scale back his volunteer work, including the eHealth board, added Burak.

The New Democrats, meanwhile, pressed McGuinty for answers about a $3.3 million, untendered contract awarded by London Health Sciences for electronic health records.

"This is more than a coincidence," said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

"It is fostered by a government that seems to have little regard for the public's money. When will this premier finally take charge and end the blatant and disturbing abuse of our precious health dollars?"

McGuinty noted the Liberals had expanded freedom of information to apply to more government agencies to help increase accountability and protect taxpayers' money, but said it wasn't the province's job to monitor spending by staff at the 150 hospital corporations in Ontario.

"There is something that happened at a hospital in London, my friend makes an oblique reference to it, and that's the responsibility of the board of directors there to ensure that they're enforcing a rule they have on the books," McGuinty told the legislature.

"We would encourage them to do that as quickly as they can."