This is typical Dalton McGuinty behavior, and it's part of the reason why the Tories and some Dippers will be getting my financial and blog support this fall:
McGuinty, Tory spar over premier's suggestion that opposition criticism of immigrant-aid grants racially motivated
Apr 28, 2007 04:30 AM
Queen's Park Bureau (Toronto Star)
It's not the kind of publicity a budding MPP needs.
As he seeks the Liberal nomination for the new riding of Richmond Hill in the Oct. 10 provincial election, nuclear safety expert Reza Moridi finds himself stuck in the "slush fund" scandal dominating Ontario politics.
Moridi was a key figure in the Iranian-Canadian Community Centre that got a $200,000 immigrant aid grant 13 months ago from embattled Citizenship and Immigration Minister Mike Colle.
It was one of $32 million in such capital grants given to 110 agencies in the last two years by Colle without, by his own admission, a formal application process.
That prompted opposition charges that some grants were steered to Liberal-friendly groups – and a suggestion from Premier Dalton McGuinty the opposition attacks were racially motivated.
"I think really what's at the heart of this is that we have ... yet another negative outburst on the part of opposition. We see diversity in Ontario very differently," McGuinty said yesterday.
Asked repeatedly whether that meant the Tories and NDP are "racist," McGuinty said: "I'll let Ontarians draw their own conclusions."
In a statement later last night, McGuinty apologized for not directly answering the question.
"I should have done so. And the answer is `no,'" McGuinty said. "I regret any misunderstanding this may have caused."
But Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory said earlier that "for (McGuinty) to play a race card ... is beneath the office he holds. He should be embarrassed for himself if that's how he has to score cheap political points."
Tory says "the real issue here is the handing out of any taxpayers' money without any process whatsoever."
The Toronto Star's Ian Urquhart tackles the issue here. The piece is pretty good, except for the last paragraph. Ian, how can the McGuinty's public image suffer without that image being a factor in the next election?