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Ford Government hands out $130 million from Jobs and Prosperity Fund, despite pledge to scrap it

April 01, 2019
Ford Government hands out $130 million from Jobs and Prosperity Fund, despite pledge to scrap it

TORONTO, ON: Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation through a freedom of information request show that the Liberal-era Jobs and Prosperity Fund handed out $130,709,882 in 2018 after Premier Doug Ford was elected, despite his pledge to scrap what he described as a “corrupt” form of “corporate welfare”.

“The premier called this fund ‘corrupt’ in his platform and during the campaign repeatedly referred to it as ‘corporate welfare,’ so why is it continuing to waste money?” said CTF Ontario Director Christine Van Geyn. “How much is left in the fund and why hasn’t it already been cut to deal with the deficit?

“The premier needs end this fund immediately.”

CTF has called on the government to immediately stop spending from this fund it had promised to cancel. The documents show that as of Dec. 1, the total amount remaining in the fund was $70 million. The CTF is calling on the government to disclose how much more has been spent and how much is now left in the fund.

The Jobs and Prosperity Fund was sharply criticised by the auditor general and the financial accountability officer for failing to measure whether the funding actually had an impact on outcomes, for lacking transparency, and distributing the money on an invitation-only basis.

Notably, on Nov. 7, President of the Treasury Board Peter Bethlenfalvy gave a speech at the Empire Club where he called the Jobs and Prosperity Fund “pork barrel politics at its worst.” Two days later, on Nov. 9, his government handed out a $896,000 grant from that very fund.

“Is this government serious about balancing the budget?” said Van Geyn. “If so, the premier should have kept his promise to end this corporate welfare slush fund that hands out taxpayer money on an invite-only basis. And if the government want us to believe it’s different from the last guys, it will tell us how much money is left in that fund today and cut these handouts to corporate cronies immediately.”

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