HEY BC NDP! Are there other corrupted grant programs?

Apr 10, 2024 | 42-5, Blog, Governance, Legislature, Question Period, Video | 0 comments

By now you have likely heard about the scandal brewing involving a grant program administered by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

The allegation that has been sent to the Auditor General is that the government contractor was both adjudicating the grant applications, and contacting potential applicants offering to help them complete their application for a 20% “success fee.” The issue was brought to the attention of the ministry (and all three opposition parties) by a company in the process several weeks ago. Energy Minister Hon. Josie Osborne did not act.

After asking the Minister about it and getting dismissed. And, additionally raising the issue at a committee. The Official Opposition moved a motion on Thursday April 4, 2024 demanding the government forward the allegations to the Auditor General to investigate. Of course, the other two opposition parties, including Sonia Furstenau and I in the BC Green Caucus, had seen the information, and supported the motion.

The Government House Leader, Hon. Ravi Kahlon, stood and stated the government was going to vote against the motion and after nearly 45 minutes of debate the BC NDP government used their majority to vote the motion down.

On Monday April 8, 2024, Minister Osborne, stood and moved a motion to strike the original motion from the record. She made it disappear, wiping it from the Hansard transcripts because she was about to start re-writing history. You see the new story reinforced in her response to me. I don’t know how she can stand and respond pretending this was a collaborative effort when she had to erase history in order for it to be allowed to happen.

We now have a situation where there are serious allegations of a corrupted grant program and, a minister who is re-writing history. Where does it end?

In Question Period, I stood to ask the Premier whether he was going to require all his ministers who have grant programs distributing public money do a review of their programs to ensure they meet basic ethical standards and report back to the legislature before we adjourn for the summer/election.

Minister Osborne had no business answering my first question. I made it really simple by offering no confusing preamble to ensure they knew I was asking a broader systemic question. But, they were still confused. The BC NDP can’t shield Premier David Eby forever, there are serious allegations of corruption under the watch of his government.

But when finally stand to answer a question on the allegations, he continues to contain this to a couple of beleaguered programs, and asks that if I have other information I should bring it forward. I am demanding he get his minister’s to do their job and confirm all the other programs are operating ethically!

This David Eby BC NDP government has allowed politics to trump ethics. I don’t sense this issue is going away anytime soon.


A. Olsen:

Through you to the Premier, will he today require every member of his cabinet whose ministry administers grants of public money to immediately complete an analysis of those grants to ensure that they’re meeting the basic ethical standards and require them to report their findings to this Legislative Assembly before the end of this session?

Hon. J. Osborne:

Thank you to the member for the question. Of course, these matters are taken incredibly seriously. This is about the use of public funds. There are concerns and allegations that have come forward around two programs under the go electric commercial vehicles program, and that’s why, with the information that we’ve received at the time that we’ve received it, we’ve come to this House and had the consent of everybody here to send this to the Auditor General. Because the Auditor General, again, is the right place to do….

As I noted earlier, should the Auditor General decide to expand the scope of that review, it is his purview to do so. But right now, this House has made it clear to the Office of the Auditor General what we expect. We are going to continue that process. We are going to support that process. We are going to participate in that process fully.

The Speaker: House Leader Third Party, supplemental.

A. Olsen:

I’m not sure why the Minister of Energy stood to answer a question that was not implicating in any way a conversation that’s been happening previously. This is about a government that administers public money through grants. There are a number of ministries that do this. Sure, the minister feels implicated because, perhaps, there’s good reason for that.

However, the question was very clearly to a Premier asking whether or not the Premier is going to require other ministers, who do other grant programs, to review those grant programs to ensure that they’re meeting some basic ethical standards.

My question is, again, to the Premier — not specific to any of the conversations that’s been happening, but more generally to the ministers that grant other grant programs — will the Premier require those ministers to review those programs to make sure that they’re meeting basic ethical standards?

And will the Premier require those ministers to report back to this House before we adjourn?

Hon. D. Eby:

We are counting on the Auditor General to do a thorough investigation. If there is any other information about any other program, the member should bring it to the Auditor General. The Auditor General will follow that information where it leads.

The Speaker: Shhh.
Hon. D. Eby: Oh, please. The opposition, when they were in government, ran a grant program….

The Speaker: Members. Members. Members, please. Wait for your turn. Members will wait for their turn. Premier will continue.

Hon. D. Eby: Let’s just say they ran grant programs seeking quick wins.

[2:30 p.m.]

Our grant programs are about supporting British Columbia businesses in innovation, in clean technology, and the process has to not just be fair, it has to be seen to be fair, especially by those groups that don’t get a grant. You have to know the process was fair.

That’s what we’re asking the Auditor General to look at, and that’s what the Auditor General is going to report back to this House.


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