Bob Chiarelli accused of ‘sexist’ shots at Bonnie...
|
Bookmark and Share
Dec 10, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Bob Chiarelli accused of ‘sexist’ shots at Bonnie Lysyk after auditor’s report

Opposition parties accuse energy minister of “sexist” comments dismissive of auditor general after her hard-hitting annual report

OurWindsor.Ca

Opposition parties accuse Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli of making “sexist” comments dismissive of auditor general Bonnie Lysyk after she chided his department in her hard-hitting annual report.

The Progressive Conservatives and NDP on Wednesday urged Premier Kathleen Wynne to fire Chiarelli, who flatly denies taking a gender-based shot at the auditor who spent 10 years in senior roles at Manitoba Hydro.

“We had very significant professional disagreements,” the veteran politician told reporters after a raucous question period in the legislature.

“I made a decision that I was going to deal with those in public . . . I was appropriately professional in how I did it.”

At issue are remarks Chiarelli made Tuesday after Lysyk’s report found his ministry’s controversial $1.9-billion smart meter program cost almost twice as much as expected, has had only a “modest impact” on reducing peak demand for electricity when it is most expensive and has had “no impact” on energy conservation.

“Why are my numbers more credible than hers?” Chiarelli said in response to a question at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

“Electricity is very complex, is very difficult to understand. Some of our senior managers, in discussing these issues with some of the representatives from the auditor general’s office, had the feeling they didn’t understand some of the elements of it.”

New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath led the charge against Chiarelli, saying his remarks about the complexity of the system after referring to Lysyk were “patronizing” and “sexist” and backfired on the Liberals.

Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliott agreed, calling the tone of Chiarelli’s remarks about Lysyk’s report “completely condescending and sexist as far as I’m concerned . . . he should apologize and resign.”

When Premier Kathleen Wynne defended the basis of Chiarelli’s objections to the auditor’s report, Horwath asked “how can this premier, the first woman premier of this province . . . not only support but pile on to this minister’s arrogant and sexist behaviour?”

At that point, an incredulous Wynne turned to face her caucus in the legislature, saying “Honest to God.”

Chiarelli maintained his criticisms were directed at Lysyk’s staff, who met with his senior officials on a number of occasions in preparing the audit before he had his own meeting with her several days ago.

The auditor did her best to stay out of the fray, saying she didn’t take offence at Chiarelli’s comment.

“I didn’t even read anything into it,” Lysyk said, noting she spent 10 years at Manitoba Hydro, has her CPA designation as an accountant, full auditor credentials and an MBA.

“I know the work we did is good work, it’s solid. I’m comfortable with the electricity industry . . . . My staff who worked on this audit have worked on other energy audits and we bring specialists on to our audits and they help us.”

Asked to comment on Chiarelli’s own familiarity with the issues at hand, she replied: “I can’t comment on what Minister Chiarelli knows or doesn’t know . . . I stand by our report.”

Lysyk admitted it was the first time in her auditing career she’s been publicly challenged.

“It’s a little bit of a surprise . . . I didn’t have any idea it would be taken to this extent.”

Earlier Wednesday, Wynne reminded her cabinet ministers to be “respectful” in dealing with criticisms of the auditor’s report.

The admonition came when Wynne learned that Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin accused Lysyk of “blowing smoke” in her scathing 595-page report.

McMeekin’s Tuesday night tweet supporting Chiarelli said: “If Bob says the auditor is blowing smoke then that’s exactly‎ what’s happening. Bob’s the most straight-up honest politico I know.”

Wynne said “it’s really important we have a respectful relationship with all the officers of the legislature.”

Toronto Star

|
Bookmark and Share

(0) Comment

Join The Conversation Sign Up Login

Latest Local News

Columns

The awful truth that lies beneath the talk of interest rates: Wells

U.S. Fed chief Janet Yellen hinted at rate hikes. but that won't get at the real economic problem

Snapshot

World

Anthony Weiner dumped by Huma Abedin after new sexting scandal

Abedin releases a statement on the separation hours after Weiner cancelled his Twitter account in...

Snapshot

In Your Neighbourhood Today

SPONSORED CONTENT View More