Industry Minister Clement has announced a $300 million investment in a research and development project by aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada. The investment is expected to “create more than 700 highly skilled jobs during the project work phase, and more than 2,000 jobs during the 15-year benefits phase.”
But wait a minute, this is a company that made $1.8 billion profit in 2009 and laid off 1500 workers, and we are giving them taxpayer dollars so that they can rehire less than half of them back?
The CBC has more this morning: The company is also getting an additional $178 million from public coffers in the form of federal and provincial tax credit, and it is only planning to hire about 200 new staff for a project that is expected to take about five years.
But this is only a loan, a “repayable investment”!
Not so fast. The same company got another $350 million in loans from Canadian taxpayers just four years ago, none of which has been repaid. Actually, government figures show Pratt & Whitney owed taxpayers a total of about $1.2 billion, most of it dating back more than 13 years. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released federal Access to Information details of 43 years of Pratt & Witney subsidies. The 79 subsidies began in 1967 and total in excess of $2.158 billion. “Industry Minister Clement is playing Santa to Pratt & Witney at great taxpayer expense”, said CTF federal director, Kevin Gaudet.
No problem, the government is planning to put an end to all that. We have a review going, and these are exactly the programs that our blue-ribbon panel is looking at:
• Tax incentive programs such as the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program.
• Programs that support business R&D through sector-specific support (e.g., Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative).
Oh! But Longueuil (qui aura la part du lion) and Mississauga voters cannot wait for the results of this review.
Neither could Suzanne Fortier! “Enough reports. We’ve seen enough, I know what we have to do.”