Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty during an interview with the London Free Press on Tuesday April 10, 2012
Credits: MORRIS LAMONT/QMI AGENCY
Don Guy, who also ran the Liberals' successful election campaigns, says in an e-mail that after he left government he was approached by Alfred Apps, a lawyer with the law firm Fasken Martineau and a former president of the Liberal Party of Canada, for advice on behalf of Ornge regarding the imminent consolidation of Ornge on the province's books.
Guy says he told Ornge through Apps that consolidation might cost the agency several hundred thousand dollars in legal and accounting fees but that there was no point in engaging in a lobbying effort because there is no political discretion over these directives.
"Subsequently, I was retained by Fasken and compensated for my time monitoring media developments and issues related to Ornge and offering strategic and public policy advice as needed," Guy says.
"I ended the engagement because of other time commitments and had no further business with the file after March 2010. Billings averaged $3,670 a month.
"I should also say that at no time during this engagement did I witness any intention to act improperly nor any acts of wrongdoing, criminal or otherwise," he says.
On March 22, QMI Agency sent an e-mail to the premier's office asking if Guy had been "part of Ornge negotiations with government in any way, shape or form," and was told he had not.
Guy says in his own e-mail that this is correct.
"I was never involved in negotiations regarding the file, nor did I do any work lobbying, making representations or setting up meetings," he says.
Guy says he has been invited to appear before the public accounts committee, which is looking into Ornge, and has indicated he is willing to appear as a friendly witness.
Tory MPP Frank Klees has said he wishes to probe further into the Liberal "pedigree" of some of those involved in Ornge and whether that allowed the agency to proceed unchecked with a business plan that has since been criticized by Ontario's auditor general and largely dismantled by the health ministry.
Ornge began as a non-profit company with the exclusive right to provide air ambulance service to the province but evolved into a number of profit, charitable and non-profit entities.
Auditor General Jim McCarter said tens of millions of taxpayer dollars were wasted and patient safety possibly compromised when senior execs at Ornge started weaving a convoluted web of private, for-profit companies out of the non-profit ambulance service in 2006.