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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Liberal's TPC Smokescreen 
(en francais)

Industry Minister David Emerson's press release today would have everyone believe that all is well in hand at Industry Canada and appropriate steps are being taken to resolve "compliance" issue.

Considering the size and scope of this program - $2.9 billion dollars from 1996 to present, and the number of companies found to be 'not in compliance', tip of the iceberg doesn't even begin to describe the fiasco that is going on.

Emerson is trying to use smoke and mirrors to give the impression that the Liberals are dealing with the issue. The TPC program has been cancelled and a new one is being launched in the new year. The new program appears to be nothing more than TPC with a new name and some tweaks to it. Something smells to high heaven in this whole mess.

Let's take a look at what we know to date.

1. First audit found 4 companies 'not in compliance' with TPC program guidelines. The non-compliance being that they were paying an un-registered lobbyist a contingency or success fee on the basis of the TPC program grants

2. 2nd audit looked at 47 companies. Of these, only 21 or 45% have been found to have no problems. Of the rest, 11 or 23% were found to be 'non-compliant', with further information still required from another 11 and field work/quality review still pending on yet another 4.

The latest verifiable numbers available for the TCP program are contained in the Audit of Technology Partnerships Canada conducted in 2003.

"As of June 30, 2002 the TPC portfolio consisted of 447 projects, of which 289 were funded by IRAP-TPC. The following is a breakdown, by year, of TPC (including IRAP-TPC) funded contributions:

Year Value of Contracted Projects Cumulative Value of
Contracted Projects
1996-1997 $408,283,045 $408,283,045
1997-1998 $153,972,376 $562,255,421
1998-1999 $213,591,699 $775,847,120
1999-2000 $370,792,456 $1,146,639,576
2000-2001 $499,343,563 $1,645,983,139
2001-2002 $201,860,698 $1,847,843,837

The assignment examined the both the TPC program as well as the IRAP-TPC initiative. Approximately 95% of TPC funding was directed to projects where the contribution amount exceeds $500,000 and the remaining 5% was directed to IRAP-TPC projects, all under $500,000."
So, as of June 30th, 2002 there were 158 TPC files and 289 IRAP-TPC files. (IRAP-TPC is the Industrial Research Assistance Program-Techology Partnerships Canada program run in coordination with the National Research Council). I have not been able to determine as yet how many more files are included from June 2002 until March 2004, the time frame that was used in the Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Consulting Inc. - Interim Report: Compliance Audit of TPC Recipients as of September 16, 2005.

To date the audits have found problems with 15 files and another 15 are still under investigation. Those are alarmingly high numbers dealing with large sums of taxpayers money.

The Kroll Lindquist Avey - Report Regarding TPC Funding to Four Specific Companies contains some very interesting details.

What are the "political requirements" of the TPC program?

Who are this persons "buddies"? Is this the unregistered lobbyist?

The lobbyist is claiming that half of his project will be funded and they are discussing the steps to get the remainder funded

What "political process from the top down can also be initiated, if required"? Was this political process initiated?

The biggest problem with this program and the audits that are now being released is the degree of secrecy being attached. The department is citing Privacy Act and Access to Information concerns for the need to continue shielding the names of most of the people and companies involved. Considering what I have been able to find in the little that they have released, I can see why they are reluctant to release any more.

The Kroll report identifies one un-registered lobbyist, who are the rest? What if anything is being done about these un-registered lobbyists? Who were they lobbying?

There are far too many questions remaining regarding this program to just simply sweep away the problems and hide everything under a new name.

As the saying goes, 'where there's smoke, there's usually fire'. Considering the amount of smoke being generated by Minister Emerson, I think someone better call the Fire Department - quick!

WE Speak at 5:50 a.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|

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