Ottawa, February 5, 2018 – The Conservative MP for Beauce, Maxime Bernier, tabled a private member’s bill today, that would force the federal government to provide more information regarding the financial assistance it gives to various corporations.
Billions of dollars are being distributed every year by the government in subsidies and repayable contributions, but the conditions under which this assistance is being given, as well as the repayment information in the case of loans, are often not being made public.
For example, in the semi-annual repayment Status Report of the Technology Partnership Canada (TPC) program, a report whose goal is presumably “to enhance transparency,” almost half of the projects offer no repayment information because “the company has not provided ISED with an authorization to disclose repayment information.” In some cases, we still don’t know if the loan has been reimbursed decades after it was granted.
As Industry minister more than a decade ago, Mr Bernier had asked his department to disclose this information, but this policy of transparency was abandoned after he left his post.
“As everyone knows, I am generally not in favour of subsidies and government grants to business. But as long as they exist, Canadian taxpayers have the right to know how their money is being used. These are not private transactions, and corporations that take taxpayers’ money have no right to confidentiality.”
The bill tabled today would amend the Department of Industry Act to require the minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to publish specific information concerning the financial assistance provided under the Act or by any agency for which he is responsible.