Ornge debts not responsibility of taxpayer: official
The Canadian Press
Posted: May 9, 2012 11:25 AM ET
Last Updated: May 9, 2012 11:23 AM ET
Ontario taxpayers aren't on the hook for Ornge's debts, even though the government is virtually the only source of revenue for the troubled air ambulance service, a senior bureaucrat said Wednesday.
Ornge is solely responsible for repaying the $275 million it borrowed in 2009 by selling bonds, said James Sinclair, director of legal services for the Ministry of Finance.
In his testimony before a legislative committee, he said the prospectus made it clear that the province wasn't guaranteeing the bonds and wasn't legally obligated to repay the debt.
Ornge Issuer Trust is solely responsible for the bonds, he said.
Ornge, which had set up a web of for-profit subsidiaries, was supposed to generate its own revenue. All the entities are being shut down.
But under questioning by opposition critics, Sinclair was at a loss to explain where the money would come from, other than the government.
"So you're suggesting that Ornge Issuer Trust is now solely responsible?" said Progressive Conservative Frank Klees. "They have no income. How are they going to pay it?"
"I don't know the answer to that question," Sinclair said. "I'm not familiar with the financial affairs of —"
"Sure you are," Klees interrupted. "You're probably more familiar than anyone with the financial affairs of this trust. You know full well that the only income stream is from the government of Ontario."
Ontario's auditor general has said that Ornge's debt is on the province's books and the government is currently servicing that debt.
Ornge, which is currently under a criminal investigation, receives about $150 million a year from the government.
Latest Thunder Bay News Headlines
- Elevator workers picket courthouse construction
- Picketing elevator maintenance workers greeted crews heading in to work at the new courthouse in Thunder Bay on Friday morning. more »
- Drones could help fight forest fires
- Unmanned planes could soon be helping fight forest fires in the northwest if a Lakehead University professor's research pans out. more »
- Stranded campers get out of park on temporary road
- Campers and staff at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park made it out of the park last night. more »
- First Nations hit hard by 'suicide contagion'
- A Sudbury clinical psychologist says young people are more likely to consider suicide if they know of someone their age who has taken their own life. more »
Top News Headlines
- Royal Bank pledges not to outsource jobs for cash savings
- Royal Bank has promised it will never outsource a Canadian job to a foreign worker solely to save money. more »
- Neil Macdonald: How serious is Obama about curbing the drone surge?
- In a key speech this week, the U.S. president set out a host of supposed new safeguards for America's controversial practice of remote-controlled rough justice. But as Neil Macdonald writes, the underlying rationale for drone use has not fundamentally changed. more »
- Washington police blame bridge collapse on Alberta trucker
- Washington State police say an Alberta trucker was responsible for hitting a steel beam precipitating a bridge collapse on one of the busiest routes in the American northwest. more »
- Man accused of killing child in patio crash granted bail
- Emotions ran high in a packed Edmonton courthouse Friday as Richard Suter, accused of causing a crash into a restaurant patio that killed a young boy, was granted bail. more »