Tories call for AG re­view of Canopy con­tract

Chris Mitchel­more says such a re­view would be be­yond AG’s scope

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Sports - BY DAVID MA­HER david.ma­[email protected]­gram.com Twit­ter: DavidMa­herNL

In a last ef­fort to de­ter­mine who the share­hold­ers of 80521 NL Inc. are, the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives want Au­di­tor Gen­eral Ju­lia Mul­laly to ex­am­ine Canopy Growth’s con­tract with the prov­ince.

Op­po­si­tion Leader Ches Cros­bie made the call on the floor of the House of As­sem­bly on Thurs­day, Nov. 22, amid the Tories’ con­cerns the $40-mil­lion tax re­mit­tance as part of the deal has al­lowed the un­known share­hold­ers of the num­bered com­pany to reap ben­e­fits.

Tory critic Keith Hutchings, speak­ing on Cros­bie’s be­half, says there’s too many ques­tions about the com­pany and the con­tract to let the mat­ter go un­in­ves­ti­gated.

“The orig­i­nal agree­ment said within 90 days, Canopy Growth would buy land and build a fa­cil­ity on it – that’s all changed. That in and of it­self is prob­lem­atic. Then you look at the fact that there’s an ap­par­ent $8-mil­lion worth of shares that have been trans­ferred, there’s a $10-mil­lion in­ter­est-free loan,” said Hutchings.

“We don’t know that there’s any­thing un­to­ward here – and maybe there’s not. But with all the ques­tions that have been asked … why not bring the AG in?”

The Tories have pre­vi­ously brought forth con­cerns that the share­hold­ers of 80521 NL Inc., which owns the land Canopy Growth is leas­ing, have ties to high-rank­ing Lib­er­als – though no ev­i­dence has come forth to date con­firm­ing or deny­ing those sus­pi­cions.

Tourism, Cul­ture, In­dus­try and In­no­va­tion Min­is­ter Chris Mitchel­more says he has no trou­ble with the au­di­tor gen­eral look­ing at the con­tract, but he made no com­mit­ment to a spe­cific re­quest for the con­tract to be re­viewed.

“In this case, what’s be­ing asked by the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion is some­thing with pri­vate busi­ness-to-busi­ness mat­ters that would be out­side the scope of what the au­di­tor gen­eral could con­duct,” said Mitchel­more.

The au­di­tor gen­eral has ju­ris­dic­tion to au­dit any gov­ern­ment de­part­ment or con­tract as she sees fit.

Mul­laly did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment on Thurs­day evening.

There’s also word that the orig­i­nal con­tract with Canopy Growth has been al­tered by both par­ties since it was orig­i­nally signed.

The orig­i­nal con­tract asked that progress on the cannabis pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity be 50 per cent com­pleted by Oc­to­ber of this year. Mitchel­more says the con­tract has been changed to al­low the fa­cil­ity to be 50 per cent com­pleted by March.

Mitchel­more says the con­tract can be changed when­ever dif­fi­cul­ties arise.

“If there are ob­sta­cles that have been faced, we have the abil­ity to look at mak­ing an amend­ment to the con­tract as long as it is agree­able to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment,” he said.

The Op­po­si­tion also called for Mitchel­more to ta­ble the changes to the con­tract. While dur­ing ques­tion pe­riod Mitchel­more did not com­mit to tabling the re­vised con­tract, he com­mit­ted to do­ing so to re­porters af­ter Thurs­day’s sit­ting.

The break-open ticket sup­ply com­pany Bri­tish Bazaar is seek­ing pro­tec­tion from its cred­i­tors.

In a let­ter to Bri­tish Bazaar’s cred­i­tors dated Nov. 9, Deloitte Re­struc­tur­ing Inc. – act­ing as li­censed insolvency trustee – wrote the com­pany has filed a no­tice of in­ten­tion (NOI) to make a pro­posal to its cred­i­tors.

Ac­cord­ing to the let­ter, the NOI fil­ing is an au­to­matic stay of pro­ceed­ings against all cred­i­tors from tak­ing ac­tion against the St. John’s-based com­pany.

In­cluded in the doc­u­ment is a list of all known cred­i­tors with claims of more than $250 – a to­tal of 50 com­pa­nies to which Bri­tish Bazaar lists ow­ing more than $8.4 mil­lion.

The high­est claim comes from BMO Fi­nan­cial Group for over $3.4 mil­lion, and then At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency for over $1.7 mil­lion.

Sev­eral lo­cal groups are listed as cred­i­tors, in­clud­ing DMC Con­sult­ing, Wad­den Ped­di­grew Ho­gan Law, Tri­ware Tech­nolo­gies Inc., and NCH Hold­ings Ltd, among oth­ers.

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