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Another rock uncovered

Yesterday, Industry Canada released the results of an audit on a sampling of companies that received 'loans' from the Technology Partnerships Canada program. This was a program that handed money out to tech companies promising products so dubious they couldn't find any other source of funding, and were conveniently located in strategic ridings around the country. The program had such a bad stench that it was the Liberals that decided to close it down last September -- unless the needy technology company involved aerospace or defence. In which case the gravy train was still rolling.

The audit only looked at whether the companies broke the terms of their contracts with TPC with regards to paid lobbying. It was found that almost a third of the sample had used lobbyists to get their hands on the cash, paying between $100,000 and $900,000. The audits didn't look at whether the projects funded made any sense, or what work was done. They also didn't look at the chances that Canadian taxpayers would ever see any of these 'loans' paid back. So far it doesn't look good, out of the roughly $2.15 billion paid out since 1996, only $156 million has been paid back. Hopefully more rocks will be uncovered in the near future and more information will be revealed on how the Liberals spent our money.

Many of the companies that cashed in were legitimate, but we can also assume that some small companies whose major assets were slick PowerPoint presentations and the phone numbers of good lobbyists were able to loot millions from the taxpayers. This should be big news, but it isn't. We all knew this kind of stuff was going on and we collectively shrugged our shoulders. That's why this story is relegated to the business section of today's paper and will soon be forgotten.


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