Your tax dollars at risk
Any regular reader of my reports will know that spending has significantly increased under the Trudeau Government. Keeping track of all this spending to ensure value for money has been a challenge.
One example of this occurred in the Public Accounts, which is an annual report that compiles the spending of every government department, agency, or crown corporation.
In this report, there was a payment listed by the Public Health Agency of Canada as an “unfulfilled contract by a vendor,” resulting in a $150 million loss. Surprisingly, this payment was made to an unnamed company and was never fulfilled. The department refused to provide any details about this payment to the media, citing a confidentiality agreement.
Fortunately, many details came to light at the Standing Committee on Health. The company was revealed as Medicago, for the purchase of vaccines.
If it hadn’t been raised there, Canadians would still be in the dark. When asked why this amount was deemed uncollectible, a representative from the agency explained, “In the termination by mutual consent, the government had no contractual right to request the return of the payment.”
Another example of scrutiny of government spending practices by Members of Parliament is the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology (INDU). This committee has been investigating Sustainable Development Technology Canada, a federal agency tasked by the Trudeau Liberal government with distributing tax dollars to support “novel ideas that have the power to solve our most pressing environmental problems.”
In 2020, the Trudeau Liberal government announced $750 million in funding for this agency. Recently, this agency has come under investigation by the INDU committee due to questionable spending practices related to some of that money.
This week in Ottawa, a non-partisan public servant appeared as a whistleblower at the INDU committee. The whistleblower’s identity has been protected, but they worked at this agency from 2020 to 2022. Their role involved conducting financial due diligence and ensuring compliance with various projects.
According to the National Post, this whistleblower has alleged that “$150 million of taxpayer money was granted improperly, including to companies directly connected to SDTC’s own board members.” This revelation has shocked many.
Furthermore, the whistleblower claims that the Office of the Minister of Industry was also involved in handling some of the political consequences that arose from a report by a third-party accounting firm on this dubious expenditure.
The issue is that up to $150 million may have been directed by Members of the Sustainable Development Technology Canada board to companies they are alleged to have direct or indirect ties with, creating a potential conflict of interest.
This is clearly a very serious situation, or at least it should be taken seriously, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, during Question Period on Tuesday, December 12th, when the Leader of the Conservatives, Pierre Poilievre, asked Prime Minister Trudeau about this, the Prime Minister declined to give a candid or direct answer.
One does not necessarily expect a large amount of specific information during Question Period. However, at the very least, it is not unreasonable to expect the Prime Minister to acknowledge that his government takes this issue seriously and make a commitment to Canadians to be accountable and provide information on what has occurred.
Instead of being accountable, Prime Minister Trudeau responded with a political attack against the leader of the Conservatives.
My question this week is not specifically about Prime Minister Trudeau, but rather about elected officials in general.
Are you concerned about the level of accountability you receive from those you elect to public office? Why or why not? I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free 1-800-665-8711.