Corporate Welfare for Toyota A Cruel Joke on Taxpayers
OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) reacted to the federal-provincial announcement to provide Toyota Canada with $100 million in taxpayer dollars calling it a “cruel joke on taxpayers.”
“Toyota is one of the world’s most successful corporations, with a global profit of more than US$18 billion last year,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “Why on earth are our governments handing them a hundred million dollars from the public purse? Will any of them say with a straight face that Toyota ‘needs’ this money?”
The free money that Toyota will receive will be in the form of a $42 million “grant” – also known as a giveaway – from the province of Ontario, and a $58 million “repayable loan” – the repayment of which may never be confirmed, due to secretive access-to-information laws – from the Government of Canada. The money is expected to stimulate significant political spinoff effects that will benefit ribbon-cutting politicians across Canada and Ontario. These benefits will come at the expense of the actual programs, services and tax relief that citizens normally expect from their governments.
“We appreciate the federal government took special care to note its contribution would be in the form of a ‘repayable’ loan, eliminating any confusion about whether it would be the non-repayable kind of loan,” added Wudrick.
Toyota Canada employs approximately 8,000 people in Ontario at its Cambridge and Woodstock plants, none of whose jobs were obviously in jeopardy prior to the decision of benevolent governments in Ottawa and Queen’s Park to hold a press conference to brag about giving millions of dollars to the highly profitable corporation. However, it was unclear whether their votes might be in jeopardy come election time.
“Toyota Canada had already committed to investing heavily in its Ontario operations; what is the purpose of this extra bonus money from the public purse?” added CTF Ontario Director Christine Van Geyn. “Then again, Ontario is merely struggling with an $10.9 billion deficit and rising public debt, so we suppose any reasonable person would agree that handing over scarce resources to a thriving corporate entity to create 25 jobs at a cost of $1.7 million per job is the top priority.”