The Star polishes up yesterday’s Ontario Auditor General report on the immigration year-end grants:
Auditor General Jim McCarter found that Liberal connections played no role in which groups received money, but that the money was doled out without proper controls.
What the Auditor General actually said (emphasis added):
We found no evidence that any organization received a grant because it had political ties. However, in some cases those ties did exist, and, when this is combined with a process lacking openness and most of the normal accountability controls, it can create the perception of favouritism if the organization ends up obtaining a grant.
The majority of the more significant grants were recommended by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and his staff.
And then later:
On March 10, the DM of Citizenship and Immigration wrote a letter to the DM of Finance in which she confirmed that her Ministry would be able to flow the funds as instructed but also pointed out that her Ministry did not currently have a funding relationship with most of the 14 organizations listed. She therefore recommended that a minimum amount of due diligence be performed before any payments were made.
The report doesn’t dismiss anything; the Auditor General didn’t have the time or the mandate to thoroughly examine the issue. The fact that the grants were made verbally by the Minister’s Office — staffed by political staffers — to organizations that in many cases had not requested any funding, and that were not known to the hundreds of Ministry staff at Citizenship and Immigration, speaks volumes.