The Ottawa Citizen
March 21, 2000
Manning: Large subsidies went to some of the Liberals’ largest contributors
The “cloud of secrecy” that surrounds the Export Development Corp., a federal Crown corporation that is exempt from access to information laws, is covering up $2.8 billion in bad loans, opposition MPs charged yesterday.
Reform Leader Preston Manning said the amount of bad loans at the EDC is almost three times the amount mismanaged by Human Resources Development Canada as uncovered in a recent internal audit — the main topic of question period for the past two months.
“When it comes to the gross mismanagement of taxpayers’ dollars, the Human Resources scandal is just the tip of an iceberg. Another government agency, the Export Development Corp., has outstanding loans amounting to $22 billion, of which about $2.8 billion has apparently been written off as lost,” Mr. Manning said in the House of Commons.
Only the EDC’s board and the auditor general have access to all of the Crown corporation’s transactions, including those that fall under loan losses. Unlike its counterpart in the U.S., the EDC releases little or no information to the public on its loans to other governments and foreign corporations.
Mr. Manning and several opposition MPs asked International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew to account for the money lost by the EDC and explain, as revealed by the Citizen on the weekend, $1 billion in loans made to U.S. rail company Amtrak to buy products from Quebec-based Bombardier. “Key EDC decision-makers have close links to the prime minister. The chairman of the EDC is a longtime Liberal ally of the prime minister. Large subsidies went to some of the largest contributors to the Liberal party and billions of dollars are lost,” Mr. Manning said.
Mr. Pettigrew, the former minister of human resources who has infuriated the opposition by escaping questions on mismanagement in that department that occurred when he was minister, refused during question period to acknowledge any loss of taxpayers’ money.
Categories: EDC, Export Credit, News, Secrecy
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