Feds keep $8 billion slush fund a ‘secret,’ delivered ‘limited results’

The Net Zero Accelerator program subsidized factory refits with the promise of lowering industrial greenhouse emissions. But outcomes were never tracked, and the subsidy delivered ‘limited results.’

Feds keep $8 billion slush fund a ‘secret,’ delivered ‘limited results’
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld and The Canadian Press / Justin Tang
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The Department of Industry refused to disclose billions in federal climate subsidies for industry, claiming the “highly sensitive confidential information” needs to be “safeguarded.”

“Departments have always acted to protect confidential business information obtained during the negotiation of contribution agreements,” Deputy Minister Simon Kennedy wrote the House of Commons Environment Committee. “Protecting confidential business information is important,” he added.

By unanimous vote, the Commons Environment Committee passed a motion on May 7 to table contribution agreements under the $8 billion Net Zero Accelerator program. However, Deputy Minister Kennedy refused to comply.

“If the government is spending $8 billion of taxpayers’ money, Canadians should be able to see the results,” said Conservative MP Dan Mazier, sponsor of the motion. He called it “nothing more than another slush fund.”

Deputy Kennedy in reply said terms must be concealed to protect corporations that received subsidies. “Disclosure of sensitive business information without prior consent of the third party including commitments found in contribution agreements would put the government in violation of its contractual obligations,” he wrote.

Bloc Québécois MP Denis Trudel earlier called the program’s secretiveness an embarrassment. 

“We are talking about $8 billion here,” said Trudel. “We represent taxpayers. There are taxpayers who want us to do our job and figure out how the government is spending their money.”

The 2021 federal program claims to lower industrial greenhouse emissions through factory refits, but outcomes were never tracked, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

Environment Commissioner Jerry DeMarco said subsidy costs were upwards of $523 per tonne of emission reduction, calling it an abject failure since he claimed that the subsidy delivered “limited results.”

https://twitter.com/mbdan7/status/178826579094220028

Liberal MP Adam van Koeverden, parliamentary secretary for the environment, defended the program. “It’s been a real success story,” he said, adding “I want to see success stories.”

That measurement appears unable to be ascertained, as several companies that successfully applied for subsidies provided no emission targets whatsoever, according to an April 30 report Net Zero Accelerator Initiative

“It’s simple enough to dole out money,” wrote Commissioner DeMarco, “but you need to do it in a way that creates value for money for taxpayers.”

“Usually when a government announces $8 billion in spending they brag about it for years and talk about the results,” added MP Mazier. “Now we know why they have been so quiet.”

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