Toronto

Former Liberal president defends Ornge involvement

A former Liberal party president is defending his role as a lawyer to Ontario's troubled air ambulance service, which is under a criminal probe for financial irregularities.
Former Liberal party president Alfred Apps is defending his involvement with Ornge. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

A former Liberal party president is defending his role as a lawyer to Ontario's troubled air ambulance service, which is under a criminal probe for financial "irregularities."

Alfred Apps says Ornge did nothing wrong in setting up a web of for-profit entities that Ontario's auditor general says used public money to make "questionable business deals."

Apps says Ornge's corporate structure — which he helped set up — is completely misunderstood, a situation he largely blamed on the auditor and the media.

In his testimony before a legislative committee, Apps says the auditor's report was "riddled with errors" and that media reports about Ornge were misleading.

Apps says he never benefited financially from the spinoff companies and the only money he received for his work was his salary from legal firm Fasken Martineau.

Auditor general Jim McCarter says he stands by his report on Ornge and noted that the governing Liberals agreed with his findings.

Apps, who stepped down as party president in January, also testified that he had no knowledge of any criminal activity at Ornge.