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    Domini Kurek, Oakville Beaver staff | Nov 04, 2010 - 5:50 PM | 4

    Hydro board member wants answers on donations to Liberals. Larry Scott Oakville Beaver file photo

    “I don’t recall any of this ever going to the board of directors of the corporation and believe me, a contribution to the Liberal Party of $17,500 would have got my radar going.” Larry Scott, Oakville Hydro Corporation board member

    Hydro board member wants answers on donations to Liberals

    A member of the board of directors at the Oakville Hydro Corporation is seeking answers to find out how more than $17,000 from the utility company coffers was donated to the Ontario Liberal Party.

    Oakville Hydro is wholly owned by the Town of Oakville.

    Larry Scott, who has been a member of the board for about two years, began his inquiry as soon as he found out about the donations.

    Scott is also the current chief of staff for Oakville MP Terence Young and is seeking an Ontario PC party nomination for the Oakville riding.

    News broke earlier this week after Ontario Elections contribution statements were brought to light by the Ontario NDP that revealed the local utility company had donated to the provincial Liberals twice, once in 2008 and once in 2009.

    Scott said he has invoices that say in January 2008 the corporation bought a table at a Liberal function for $8,000 and then another one in the same month the following year for $9,500.

    “I don’t recall any of this ever going to the board of directors of the corporation and believe me, a contribution to the Liberal Party of $17,500 would have got my radar going,” he said.

    As soon as he found out, Scott went to the corporation’s CEO and president Rob Lister for an explanation. He received invoices for the spending.

    Both instances included the purchase of a table at an annual Liberal Heritage Dinner in Toronto.

    The first donation went to the Liberals in general, but Scott said the next donation went to the by-election for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock in which John Tory was hoping to beat Liberal Rick Johnson and gain a seat in the Ontario Legislature.

    “I have in my possession the invoices, so I know those to be true donations to the Ontario Liberal fund. I also know one of those donations was probably put through to the riding that John Tory was running in. So the money was used to run against John Tory. I don’t believe any of that was approved by the board,” he said.

    Scott went further with his questions.

    He asked for an internal investigation and he’s hoping to get results back at the corporation’s next governance committee meeting this Monday. He asked for all documentation to become available to the directors on the Hydro board, that they find out who authorized the spending and for a copy of the policy for the authorization.

    “When we generally set this up, when we need a new transformer or something, we don’t hear about it at the board, but I would consider a political donation to be pretty far out there,” he said.

    He also asked to find out who attended the Ontario Liberal dinner events.

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    Page 1 of 3InsideHalton Article: Hydro board member wants answers on donations to Liberals

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    News Theft charge laid

    “I’ve also asked that Alex (Bystrin), who was president at the time, be held harmless because I know he’s subject to a non-disclosure agreement, but if he wants to talk about these things and defend himself I think he should be free to do so.”

    The current president Lister, who did not hold the position during the time in question, assured that the tables were purchased with funds from Oakville Hydro’s revenue-generating businesses (including telecommunications and construction companies) and not from taxpayers or consumer of the utility’s electricity distribution company.

    Scott is hoping to get the answers to his questions on Monday.

    “At the end of that, if I have any doubts that there’s anything that I don’t know about and the other directors don’t know about, I will ask that we have an independent investigation by our auditor to make sure,” he said.

    He said once all the information is found, it should be turned over to the corporation’s shareholder, which is the Town of Oakville.

    “The Town of Oakville should do what they think they should do. If that is a public inquiry, they’ll find I’m in complete support of that,” he said.

    The news broke after the NDP brought the papers forward to the public. However, it wasn’t only Oakville Hydro that contributed substantial cash to the cottage country political scene.

    Other public utility contributors included Essex Power Corp., Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution, Niagara on the Lake Hydro and St. Catharines Hydro Generation.

    Oakville Hydro, was however, the largest public utilities contributor. The other public utilities were of several hundred dollars or around the $1,000 or $2,000 mark.

    According to follow-up media reports, each of the utilities named by the New Democrats said they never donated money directly to the Liberals, but rather purchased tickets to party fundraisers so they could network with cabinet ministers and industry officials.

    Other major contributors to the Ontario Liberal Party cited in the documents produced by the NDP included the Ontario Professional Firefighters Association, the Ontario Secondary  School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), Ontario Dental Association, Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association and others.

    Oakville MP Terence Young weighed in on the Oakville Hydro donations.

    “This donation was totally inappropriate. This was a secret donation made with the hydro users’ money and given to the Liberal Party of Ontario and any donations of this size are normally to create political debts of gratitude or pay them off,” he said.

    “There are a lot of questions about this. Who went to the Liberal Heritage Dinner and sat at the table paid for by Oakville Hydro users and what political favours were traded in exchange for such a large donation? This requires a complete and full investigation.”

    - With files from Angela Blackburn

    User Comments Login to comment

    GlenAbbeyWarrior Nov 10, 2010 8:14 PM

    re:JoshCreek

    Since you're against partisanship on the board of Oakville Hydro, I assume you will want Max Khan to resign his position as well? Or is this just more left-wing hypocrisy? Your choice.

    Oak Ville Nov 8, 2010 10:41 PM

    It seems to me that it is the responsibility of the board to ensure that the appropriate controls are in place to ensure anty party benefits from any dona

    JoshCreek Nov 6, 2010 8:21 AM

    Yes SIR Mr Conservative

    Scott's partisan politics don't belong on any board. If a director of any company went public like he did. Bye Bye The PEOPLE know what UR up to. CHANGE the policy. Go FORWARD. Not BACKWARD.

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