OTTAWA, ON – The Trudeau government says it will not release the terms of its loan to Bombardier until 2019, according to a response to Conservative Member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre.
In February 2017, the Trudeau government loaned Bombardier $372 million. The following month, Bombardier’s executives were caught giving themselves bonuses and raises up to 50%. Intense scrutiny in Question Period revealed that the Liberal government would not say whether the loan’s terms prohibited the use of taxpayers’ money to go towards executive bonuses. Poilievre filed an access to information request to find out.
Poilievre asked for: “All documents, including but not limited to correspondence, briefing notes, emails, and analysis, regarding the government’s $372 million loan to Bombardier in February 2017. Please include any requests for funds from Bombardier, any counter-proposals from the government or Bombardier, and the terms of the loan.”
The answers won’t be known until 2019, since the government divided the request into four parts and says it will take 300 and 600 days to answer them – meaning April 2018 or early 2019.
Included in these documents would have been the loan’s terms, such as the interest rate, the repayment terms, whether using the money for bonuses was prohibited, what benefits the $372 million would bring to the Quebec and Canadian economies, and so forth.
Poilievre filed a complaint with the information commissioner, saying the length of time requested is unreasonable.
“The government faced dozens of questions within a very short time period over the terms of the Bombardier loan,” Poilievre said. “Now, we ask for the actual loan and departmental documents and we’re told it will take 300 or 600 days to get them? It’s ridiculous.”
“While I understand perhaps a need for a small extension for a large amount of records, 300 and 600 days is excessive,” says Poilievre. “Items like the terms of the loan and any correspondence between Bombardier and the government should be able to be disclosed almost immediately. Other items, such as briefing notes, emails, and departmental analyses about whether the loan would improve the economy and what benefits would flow from the loan may take some time to process, but certainly should not take such a long time.”