Mike Colle, the Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the beneficiary of a made-up sinecure ministry if there ever was one, resigned yesterday after Auditor General Jim McCarter found that $32.5 million in grants were awarded to various ethnic and cultural associations from a ministry slush fund that "was not open, transparent or accountable."
"Many organizations received grants simply because the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or his staff had some knowledge of their needs, or because a member of the organization had had a discussion with, or had made verbal request to, the Minister or his staff," Mr. McCarter said in his report.No sympathy is lost on this one political dilettante among many, who will in any case suffer no real consequences for his ineconomy with tax dollars, but it's this and every other grants program that should be resigned for good. Spending in government departments is barely "open, transparent or accountable" as it is — spending of tax dollars by outside organizations can hardly be at all. These programs cannot be anything but political slush funds, no matter what rules are put into place, since any criteria for distribution of their windfalls could only be strictly arbitrary — a void where politics will have to step in sooner or later. And what are Citizenship and Immigration Ministry grants expected to accomplish, unless to teach immigrants that citizenship means getting other people to pay your way.
Of note, London-Fanshawe MPP Khalil Ramal, pictured above at right, was the Parliamentary Assistant to Mr. Colle. Feel free to ask him about the slush fund the next time you come across him at another glad-handing photo-op function.