Where's the oversight on government grants?
After the proverbial horse has left the barn is no time for government officials to be launching multiple reviews into how a group called La Passerelle I.D.E. managed to run through millions of taxpayers’ dollars, with nothing to show for it.
Indeed, as a series of stories by the Star’s Kevin Donovan indicates, those officials should long ago have been monitoring how government grants and charitable donations totalling $5 million over three years were being spent.
More to the point, the case underscores the need to ensure that public money going to organization is actually being spent on the projects they are designed to support.
It was first revealed that the Rosedale couple who run La Passerelle personally used tickets to some of Toronto’s hottest events that they were supposed to distribute to needy kids.
Then it turned out that a project supposedly aimed at rescuing women from prostitution that they were running with a $1.5-million federal grant appears to be a complete sham, helping zero prostitutes with zero programs.
Two provincial ministries, Ontario’s Trillium Foundation, the United Way and the City of Toronto also supplied money to La Passerelle. Where it all went is unclear at this point.
What’s all too clear is that it didn’t appear to be difficult to fool these agencies into handing over money for questionable projects. The obvious question: If the oversight on this project was so poor, how can we be confident that it’s working for others?