A Globe and Mail investigation of Export Development Canada (EDC) reveals “a pattern of secrecy and lax supervision”. Probe International’s Patricia Adams says EDC is an unaccountable “institution out of control”.
By Justin Tang, published by The Globe and Mail on June 1, 2019
Contributors: Matthew McClearn (Globe and Mail), Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail’s Africa Bureau Chief, based in Johannesburg)
An investigation by the Globe and Mail cites various examples in which billions of dollars in Canadian government-backed loans have been channelled to companies racked by allegations of bribery and corruption, including Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. The connecting thread in all of these cases is a Crown corporation called Export Development Canada, one of the world’s largest export-credit agencies.
The Globe writes:
While EDC remains obscure to most Canadians, it is a crucial cog in the federal government’s machinery for promoting outbound trade….Yet EDC’s individual transactions, sometimes in the billions of dollars, routinely go unreported by the media and receive little scrutiny from MPs or cabinet ministers.
One reason EDC won’t answer many basic questions about its due diligence – even from parliamentarians – is because it treats its conclusions as confidential information belonging to its customers. this principle is enshrined not only in EDC’s enabling legislation, the Export Development Act, but also the federal Access to Information Act. So when EDC transactions go awry, one can typically learn nothing about what happened or how the agency responded.
Patricia Adams, of Toronto-based Probe International, has followed EDC for decades. In an interview, she accused EDC of being “above the law.” Canadians “are the investors in these projects,” she said, “and none of us can find out the nature of these investments. The institution is out of control, it is not accountable.”
Continue reading at the publisher’s website here (this article is subscription-only to access).