Fraud­u­lent claims

PNP prob­lems abound since out­set

Journal Pioneer - - EDITORIAL - BY WAYNE CARVER Wayne Carver of Long Creek is a mem­ber of Vi­sion P.E.I.; sup­ports elec­toral re­form; and com­ments fre­quently on so­cial issues

Thank you, Canada Border Ser­vices Agency for do­ing what our pro­vin­cial law en­force­ment of­fi­cials couldn’t.

Is­lan­ders have known the PNP was mis­man­aged for years. The se­crecy of the ex­is­tence of the pro­gram at the out­set and po­lit­i­cally linked dis­burse­ment of PNP funds could not be jus­ti­fied.

Un­for­tu­nately, our pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive re­fused to deal with the is­sue. Why? Well that is an­other mat­ter. Re­gard­less, Is­lan­ders could never get any sat­is­fac­tion when con­cerns were ex­pressed about the pro­gram.

The lat­est rev­e­la­tion about 566 fraud­u­lent claims as­so­ci­ated with two Is­land ad­dresses comes as no sur­prise.

Why our pro­vin­cial im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials did not pick up on this is con­cern­ing and why the fed­eral po­lice force was not able to find this in­for­ma­tion is con­fus­ing. It seems it took only a records check.

Be­cause of an ex­pen­sive watch found upon in­spec­tion at im­mi­gra­tion point of en­try in Hal­i­fax, an alert, in­tu­itive in­ves­ti­ga­tor, con­cerned about a cus­toms vi­o­la­tion, dis­cov­ered a big im­mi­gra­tion fraud case right here on P.E.I.

Why could lo­cal au­thor­i­ties not have done that?

Many peo­ple were and are con­cerned with the mis­man­age­ment com­mit­ted un­der the pre­tence of grow­ing our econ­omy. Re­quests of the fed­eral po­lice force to in­ves­ti­gate the pro­gram were met with weak re­sponses claim­ing there was not enough ev­i­dence to pro­ceed with any crim­i­nal charges. Cit­i­zens were and are skep­ti­cal at best, be­liev­ing the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate prevented any mean­ing­ful in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Un­for­tu­nately, in­ci­dents such as this do not en­hance the im­age of our law en­force­ment and over­sight agen­cies.

Why, you might ask, did it take CBSA in Hal­i­fax to un­cover this lit­tle scheme.

Well to be­gin with, it is a dif­fer­ent le­gal ju­ris­dic­tion and the CBSA did not have to ap­prise the gov­ern­ment or at­tor­ney gen­eral of P.E.I. of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion. What this rev­e­la­tion means in essence, is that our pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment was and is pre­pared to ac­cept ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the im­mi­gra­tion process be­cause it en­abled gov­ern­ment to col­lect $18 mil­lion in fraud­u­lent im­mi­gra­tion claims. Did our of­fi­cials know about this? It is hard to think oth­er­wise Money such as this may have at­trib­uted to IIDI’s cor­po­rate fund of $355 mil­lion which our gov­ern­ment uses to sup­port eco­nomic ini­tia­tives. What hap­pens with funds of this na­ture is un­clear be­cause IIDI is con­sid­ered to be a cor­po­rate en­tity and not ac­count­able to the tax­payer. Po­lit­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tion of gov­ern­ment pro­grams by the few is a dis­credit to the po­lit­i­cal process. It un­der­mines the ba­sic tenets of good gov­ern­ment and due process.

The op­po­si­tion par­ties should be work­ing to­gether and re­quest­ing that the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor dis­solve the assem­bly be­cause the peo­ple have lost con­fi­dence in the rul­ing Lib­eral gov­ern­ment. The first or­der of any new gov­ern­ment should be to ta­ble a mo­tion to make the at­tor­ney gen­eral of the prov­ince an elected mem­ber of the leg­isla­tive assem­bly, sim­i­lar to the au­di­tor gen­eral.

Maybe then the cit­i­zens of P.E.I. will have a gov­ern­ment that is more open and trans­par­ent; a gov­ern­ment that is ac­count­able and sub­ject to the same rules and reg­u­la­tions as the av­er­age cit­i­zen.

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