Fight breaks out over Toronto Port Authority
A member of Canada's Parliament has asked Auditor General Sheila Fraser, to conduct an audit of the management and governance of the Toronto Port Authority.
Olivia Chow, a member of the New Democrat Party opposition, charged in a statement Monday that Transport Minister John Baird has tried to cover up management violations by Lisa Raitt, former port authority chief executive officer.
Four of the nine Toronto Port Authority board members filed misconduct complaints against other board members in May 2008. They also filed complaints with Baird's office in March of this year.
The board members claim that the Transport Ministry has engaged in repeated political interference and ignored conflicts of interest by some members. They also said members were being reimbursed for expenses without knowledge or authority from the board.
Chow said that Baird changed the structure of the port authority board from seven to nine members in order to cover up alleged management violations by Raitt, who is now Minister of Natural Resources. Chow said she recently obtained information showing that Raitt filed almost $80,000 in travel expenses in her previous role, even as the Toronto Port Authority was running a deficit.
On Wednesday, Chow filed a bill to revert control of the Toronto Port Authority from the federal government back to the city.
'Every since control of the Toronto Port Authority was taken away from the City of Toronto by the federal government (1999), it has a history of questionable behavior and this is just the latest example. It's time we give the land and the management of its port back to the City of Toronto,' she said.
The Toronto Port Authority is responsible for managing the 50-acre Port of Toronto on Lake Ontario, which has various marine cargo and intermodal services, as well as a small airport in the center of the city.
Toronto Port Authority Chairman Mark McQueen responded in a letter to Chow that the complaints are the work of 'disgruntled' board members who seek to 'smear the reputation' of their colleagues. He suggested their unhappiness is retaliation for losing policy disputes about the construction of a pedestrian bridge to the airport and having their attempts to increase their compensation blocked by the board. ' Eric Kulisch