Friday, December 3

Québec solidaire calls for further investigation into Fitzgibbon approved business loans

The request comes a day after the auditor general determined that at least 10 Quebec companies benefited from government loans of $ 68 million in total, even though they were ineligible for funding.

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Québec solidaire asked the provincial auditor general on Thursday to deepen a series of discretionary loans granted to 10 companies by Quebec’s economy minister, Pierre Fitzgibbon, accusing him of favoritism.

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The written request to Auditor General Guylaine Leclerc came a day after he presented his annual report, which showed that at least 10 Quebec companies benefited from government loans of $ 68 million in total, although they did not meet the required criteria. for the funds to be issued. .

In the letter to Leclerc, the Québec solidarity MNA Ruba Ghazal maintains that “clearly there was unequal treatment and a lack of uniformity (in the issuance of loans), and that is unacceptable.”

A study by the auditor general’s office of 22 loans granted as part of the Program d’action concertée temporaire pour les entreprises (PACTE) found that almost half of them contained irregularities. Québec solidaire wants a broader sample of loans to be examined.

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At the beginning of the pandemic, the Legault government created a $ 3 billion fund to finance two programs aimed at helping companies maintain their liquidity during the crisis: PACTE and the Program Aide d’urgence aux petites et moyennes entreprises ( PAUPME).

However, the management of those programs, created and overseen by Fitzgibbon, was inadequate and lacked transparency, Leclerc concluded.

A clause in the PACTE management guide allowed Fitzgibbon to adjust the criteria necessary for a company to receive a loan based on “the needs of the file”, which basically allows companies that do not qualify for a loan under the program benefit from funding nonetheless. .

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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