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McGuinty Shuffles Cabinet Amid Damning eHealth Report

MPP Deb Matthews visits an Ontario classroom with Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Premier Dalton McGuinty shuffled his cabinet Wednesday amid fresh controversy unearthed by a scathing report into troubled eHealth Ontario.

Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews is replacing David Caplan, who resigned as health minister Tuesday as the auditor general was poised to deliver his report.

Backbencher Laurel Broten, a former environment minister, will be brought back into cabinet to take over Children and Youth Services from Matthews.

The shuffle doesn’t touch Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman, who came under fire for the untendered contracts awarded under his watch as health minister.

The opposition parties have been calling for Caplan’s head since details surfaced about the millions of dollars in untendered contracts awarded to consultants as well as questionable expenses at eHealth.

“We have ended the practice that has carried on for decades under governments of all political stripes,” McGuinty said in a statement.

“Together, our package of reforms will protect taxpayers and bring an end to untendered contracts for consulting services.”

Auditor General Jim McCarter’s report details the $1 billion Ontario has spent over 10 years trying to create electronic health records with very little to show for it, and links the awarding of million of dollars in untendered contracts eHealth directly to McGuinty.

McCarter says the board of directors at eHealth felt it had little power over former CEO Sarah Kramer because she had been hired by chairman Alan Hudson “with the support of the premier.”

The government replaced Kramer and Hudson this summer, but the Conservatives and NDP maintained that a cabinet minister must also be held accountable for the scandal.

The auditor’s report also highlights a $30-million, sole-sourced contract given to IBM, which was approved by a cabinet committee, not by eHealth executives.

Minutes after the report was released, the government released two boxes full of binders containing hundreds of pages of freedom-of-information requests from eHealth and the ministry.