Bet­ter ac­count­ing of money spent

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

Re­cently, Premier Wade MacLauch­lan an­nounced he and On­tario Premier Kath­leen Wynn are lead­ing a trade mis­sion to In­dia in Fe­bru­ary to help lo­cal busi­nesses con­nect with global com­pa­nies for ex­ports. Again?

In 2012, Premier Robert Ghiz went to In­dia on a trade mis­sion (re­mem­ber the first-class plane ticket ‘dis­cus­sion’?). On his re­turn, he told CBC News that IT com­pany Mpha­siS would come to P.E.I. and cre­ate about 300 well-pay­ing jobs by 2014. The most re­cent news I have been able to find is that they have an of­fice in Char­lot­te­town with less than a dozen peo­ple.

Records tabled (2012) in the P.E.I. leg­is­la­ture show the Depart­ment of In­no­va­tion al­lo­cated $9.3 mil­lion from a $14.6-mil­lion Labour Re­bate fund to Mpha­siS to help fund the 300 jobs. Then In­no­va­tion Min­is­ter (and now Fi­nance Min­is­ter) Al Roach said, “Th­ese re­bates are paid only af­ter a com­pany is es­tab­lished and op­er­at­ing in the prov­ince.” So, does the of­fice of less than a dozen peo­ple meet the cri­te­ria? If so, is it safe to as­sume that only a very small por­tion of the $9.3 mil­lion was given to Mpha­siS?

In Jan­uary 2015, Ghiz re­turned to In­dia and said “the com­pany (Mpha­siS) is still wait­ing for some con­tracts to come through, but he main­tains it will even­tu­ally trans­late into more jobs on the Is­land.” Ghiz is gone, but I think the rest of us are still wait­ing.

And now Premier MacLauch­lan is head­ing back to In­dia. I have no trou­ble with Is­land lead­ers and busi­ness own­ers us­ing our tax money for th­ese trade mis­sions, if they have some kind of tan­gi­ble re­sults. I ex­pect a bet­ter ac­count­ing for the time and money spent.

We will ea­gerly await your de­tailed re­port, Mr. Premier. Lloyd Kerry, Char­lot­te­town

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