The head of On­tario’s Amazon bid says prov­ince won’t of­fer bil­lions in grants


TORONTO — The man head­ing up On­tario’s ef­fort to lure Amazon to the prov­ince said Thurs­day that while the prov­ince would con­sider sen­si­ble in­cen­tives, the bid will not of­fer bil­lions in sub­si­dies to the tech gi­ant.

Pro­vid­ing large tax­payer sub­si­dies to the firm wouldn’t be fair to other com­pa­nies that have set up shop in On­tario with lit­tle or no gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance, said Ed Clark, who was ap­pointed last week by Pre­mier Kath­leen Wynne to head up the Greater Toronto Re­gion’s bid to be­come the home of Amazon’s new cor­po­rate head­quar­ters.

The re­gion’s bid to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Be­zos will high­light other strengths such as the prov­ince’s skilled work­force, Clark said, adding that the prov­ince would be will­ing to make other con­tri­bu­tions like help­ing the com­pany se­cure land.

“There are clearly places in the United States that will, I use the word, bribe, peo­ple to come,” he said. “(They) say you just tell us what cheque you want us to write, we will write that cheque. We’re not in that busi­ness.”

If that’s what Amazon is look­ing for, On­tario will not win, said Clark, who re­tired as an ex­ec­u­tive with TD Bank in 2014.

“But we have proven peo­ple are com­ing to Toronto right now, and to On­tario, be­cause we’ve just got fan­tas­tic peo­ple.”

The on­line retail gi­ant an­nounced ear­lier this month that it is hunt­ing for a sec­ond North Amer­i­can of­fice, say­ing it would spend $5 bil­lion to build the new head­quar­ters to house as many as 50,000 em­ploy­ees.

The com­pany said it wants to be near a metropoli­tan area with more than a mil­lion peo­ple; be able to at­tract top tech­ni­cal tal­ent; be within 45 min­utes of an in­ter­na­tional air­port; have di­rect ac­cess to mass tran­sit; and be able to ex­pand that head­quar­ters to more than 740,000 square me­tres in the next decade.

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