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Raitt Responsible for More Bureaucratic Waste?

ImageLisa Raitt’s expenditures while being CEO of the Toronto Port Authority have again come under scrutiny by NDP MP Olivia Chow who demanded the government release the details back in 2009.

"If there is nothing to hide, then why don't they just say, 'There they are and here are the details' – and, yet, none of those details have been forthcoming," Chow said.

A report for the Star found that Raitt signed off on her own spending in 2008 after the board chair wouldn’t sign.

The report also exposed $50,000 worth of hospitality, including a $9,000 lunch at Harbor Sixty Steakhouse which wasn’t signed off by anybody.

Raitt took an absence from and eventually resigned from the federal public agency when she ran and won for the Conservatives in Halton in the 2008 election.

Chow has continued to try to get information on what has been a dead subject in the House of Commons and Transport Minister John Baird came to Raitt’s defense claiming nothing was new in the report and added, "The Toronto Port Authority has said many times that all expense and hospitality policies were followed."

Raitt said she was caught in a dispute between two factions of the board. Four members, including 3 Conservative appointees, complained to Baird and then Auditor General Sheila Fraser about a lack of oversight of finances.

Fraser said she didn’t have the resources to have an investigation and Baird ignored the topic.

"It's unfortunate that it features prominently in a piece – these kinds of accusations," Raitt said.

"What's happening right now is we have a TPA board matter, and clearly we're talking about a point in time when there was unrest within that port in terms of the board and it's continuing.

"You know there's two sides to every story and you've got one set of directors who are giving their side right now and there's another set of directors that I'm sure will come forward and talk about their side," Raitt said.

If these claims are true, we can add Raitt to the shameful train of bureaucratic waste that we have the pleasure of paying for with every paycheck and purchase we make. The Conservatives promised to cut waste and ever since their election in 2006, waste has become rampant in this country.