P.E.I.'s PNP a "serious failure," says Kenney

Teresa Wright
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Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was in Charlottetown May 22.

Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had some harsh words about the Ghiz government’s management of the Provincial Nominee Program Tuesday, calling it a ‘serious failure.’

Kenney was in Charlottetown Tuesday to hold roundtable meetings with businesses to discuss economic development and immigration issues, but sat down with The Guardian to discuss the controversial PNP.

He pulled no punches in his censure of the Island’s nominee program.

He said he fears P.E.I.’s mismanagement of the PNP may have compromised Canada’s reputation overseas when it comes to future immigration prospects for the country.

“This was a serious failure that was not just about the Island, it affected the integrity of our Canadian immigration system,” Kenney said in an interview with The Guardian.

“We haven’t seen anything that bad in any other part of the country, at least to my knowledge. And I hope it hasn’t caused any reputational damage for Canada or for the Island overseas for prospective immigrants.”

P.E.I.’s Provincial Nominee Program has been shrouded in controversy since the fall of 2008. The program offered permanent Canadian residency to immigrants who invested between $105,000 and $200,000 on P.E.I., some of which went into an Island company. It was established to encourage immigration to the province by attracting foreign nationals interested in taking an active role in local businesses.

Problems arose when the Ghiz government ramped the program up in the summer of 2008 and pushed through as many immigrant nominations as it could after the federal government announced it was changing its rules to disallow the way P.E.I. was investing immigrant monies.

The federal government required nominated immigrants to take an active, day-to-day role in the companies they invested in. P.E.I.’s program did not offer an active role to PNP investors.

Kenney said P.E.I.’s speedy nomination process in the summer of 2008 still leaves a bad taste in his mouth.

“Most of these (immigrants) weren’t even planning to come here, most of them didn’t stay here. This was being promoted by crooked immigration consultants overseas as a fast and easy way to get into Canada and that affected the integrity of our national program. So to suggest that we should ignore that, I think that would be peculiar,” Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney

“To this day, that irks me. I think that was an expression of bad faith,” he said.

The PNP eventually made national headlines during the provincial election last fall, when Citizenship and Immigration called in the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency to probe allegations of bribery and fraud it received regarding the P.E.I. PNP from three former public servants.

At that time, Premier Robert Ghiz accused the federal department of political interference during an election.

Kenney brought this up Tuesday, taking issue with Ghiz’s accusations and calling them ‘completely false.’ He said he wasn’t even made aware of the allegations until after department officials had forwarded them on to the Mounties.

“Our job as the government of Canada is to defend the integrity of the Canadian immigration system. We don’t play politics in this. We put the country’s interests first,” Kenney said.

“Most of these (immigrants) weren’t even planning to come here, most of them didn’t stay here. This was being promoted by crooked immigration consultants overseas as a fast and easy way to get into Canada and that affected the integrity of our national program. So to suggest that we should ignore that, I think that would be peculiar.”

Nonetheless, Kenney said he wants to put all these past issues behind him and try to ‘work positively’ with the P.E.I. government toward improving immigration and retention rates in the province.

“The province has decided to work with us in reframing a more credible program and we’re committed to making that work,” Kenney said.

“There’s no benefit in dwelling on mistakes that were made in the past. That’s a provincial issue and it’s for Islanders to decide how to consider that and respond to that.”






Organizations: RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, Islanders

Geographic location: Iceland, Canada, Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Turtle Watcher
    May 24, 2012 - 09:44

    Wow another 24 hours pass and still no slick retorts from Ghiz. No big mouthy come back at Kenney. I mean wow Kenney just buried all of Ghiz's past lies and b.s. on PNP and Ghiz says nothing. Like really if this is all just ' political' why is the Premier not out there defending PEI? Kenney said some really strong things about PEI and our leader says nothing??????? This is not the sharp rhetorician we are used to. In fact I do not see him in the media at all. Where is he? I can only conclude that there is much more PNP action behind the scenes then we are being told. Jason Kenney had the air of a guy who had lots in his back pocket as he mopped the streets of Charlottetown with Ghiz over PNP. There is much, much more to come. Even the current tax bill sweep up by CRA cannot explain this. I think we will see the three women from last fall and the others who fought for justice on PNP be vindicated rather than villified as Ghiz had done so ruthlessly to them all. He used to have so much good to say about how he handled PNP an dhe was always willing to discredit anybody who dared peep out a criticisn or too. . And now Jason kenney just knocks him over with a feather. Somehting has changed. Amazing!

    May 24, 2012 - 01:25

    All of the crooked overseas consultants? Only consultants and lawyers approved by the PEI Gov't were allowed to process applications. Everyone please contact Mr. Kenney and let him know the crooked consultants were islanders.

  • Wayne MacKinnon
    May 23, 2012 - 17:38

    Why don't Islanders read the independent,objective investigative report researched by the journalist students at King's College and learn what really took place with the PNP Program here on PEI? This will allow everyone to make an informed opinion themselves whether the Ghiz government was corrupt in the management of this Program. Here is the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/09/pei-immigrant-provincial-nominee-program_n_1499502.html?ref=canada Decide for yourself if it passes your personal smell test.

    • Wiggins
      May 23, 2012 - 19:39

      Wayne, there is no way on this God's green earth that the Islanders posting on this site about the PNP will take your advice. The very last thing they want are real and true facts to get in the way of their fantasy and paranoid illusions that the PNP is another Watergate. Every story makes them salivate and they drool all over their keyboards as they post their inane and ill informed PNP comments.

    • crazyTAlk
      May 23, 2012 - 22:35

      Personally I'd like to see what the RCMP had to say. I want to see and hear the facts and so should everyone else before making a decision.

    • voter
      May 24, 2012 - 07:56

      and this is your final story ??????and you are sticking to it ????????????

  • This is just starting
    May 23, 2012 - 15:27

    CrazyTALK..this is just getting started..have patience ....all Ghiz will say is we wished to take advantage of a federal govt program..a program he is fighting to keep secret by challenging the press in court..he then had his close Liberal allies/insiders in Law ,Accounting and Immigration firms come aboard and the pillage started.We now have a tainted immigration reputation because of this feeding frenzy of political patronage that is estimated to have generated about 500 miilion dollars,and this was distributed to the noted firms ......now Revenue Canada is questioning these payments and requesting they be claimed as income....putting all the payments under scrutiny....all because the LIberals abused it...........Harper had nothing to do with it .....but his Govt now is...

  • Pius from BC
    May 23, 2012 - 12:16

    We'll see the names of the recipients when hell freezes over.

  • Checker
    May 23, 2012 - 11:47

    The Minister has characterized the Ghiz governments handling of the PNP as a "serious failure'. That is just the beginning. It was arrogant of Ghiz and his ministers to think they didn't have to play by the federal governments rules on immigration in the first place. It was a disgraceful display of a conflict of interest that saw the liberal Ministers line up for their share of the PNP units. It was blatant political patronage and deceit that saw all of the liberal government supporters quietly being called and offered PNP units whether they wanted them or not. Some smelled a rat and refused. Why others received excessive amounts of PNP units one doesn't really know but it smells a lot like kickbacks and corruption. Why our public watchdogs like the AG, the Access to Information Commissioner and the Chartered Accountants Association would say there is nothing untoward here in baffling,to say the least. I don't suppose their enhanced financial well being had anything to do with it. The names of those who received PNP units have been published by Huffington Post http://immigrate.kingsjournalism.com refers. The names and companys are listed there. You might notice the "estate" of prominent Islanders are listed as sponsors as well. Imagine..how can an estate sponsor an immigrant to this country? No..this is not over and it will not be until there is full public disclosure. The public trust has been severely undermined by this government and nothing less than full disclosure will suffice.

  • three
    May 23, 2012 - 11:22

    Looks like the three brave women who were called crazy by Premier Ghiz were just telling it as it is.It may take an election,but the truth will come out in time.

  • SG
    May 23, 2012 - 10:38

    (Nonetheless, Kenney said he wants to put all these past issues behind him and try to ‘work positively’ with the P.E.I. government toward improving immigration and retention rates in the province. “The province has decided to work with us in reframing a more credible program and we’re committed to making that work,” Kenney said. There’s no benefit in dwelling on mistakes that were made in the past. That’s a provincial issue and it’s for Islanders to decide how to consider that and respond to that.”) How Truly Disappointing!

  • perry
    May 23, 2012 - 10:15

    Talk about ( ORGANIZED CRIME ).They have the name of the little self serving scoundrel that was the head of it and all the names of the scum that took part in it ! So why is there not charges being laid?

  • Turtle Watcher
    May 23, 2012 - 09:30

    @CRAZTYALK yes I agree the Premier is uncharacteristically quiet esp. in view of these very strong comments by the federal Minister. Not a peep! Not a squeak! No snappy come back lines at all. Fascinating really. In fact both Ghiz and Roach were missing in action yesterday leaving Webster, Sheridan and Vessey to stumble embarrassingly through Opposition questions on Holman Grand and the waterlogged Convention Centre. I can only conclude that Ghiz and Roach were dealing with some very nasty PNP realities that go way beyond the gentle chiding delivered by Kenney. Ghiz might be tempted to fire off slick remarks you know ....storm into the Legislature and bash the Opposition MLAs for not being as entitled and aristocratic as himself. But just nothing. Wow. The time for smart remarks from Ghiz on PNP and several of his boondoggles has come and gone. All of the problems are his fault now not somebody else's. I truly dislike the right wing Harperites esp. Kenney because he so skilled and vengeful BUT you cannot give these guys a loaded gun ( PNP disaster) and then expect a back massage. Not from these guys. Ghiz exposed PEI and Canada to international embarrasment with his PNP decisions and now it is taking it on the chin time.

    May 23, 2012 - 09:15


  • Move to Somewhere Else Land, Ghiz
    May 23, 2012 - 08:59

    ..........it's time you left Dodge, Robbie - jump on that white stallion your imagination has you on. Not only have you disgraced our beautiful Island with this PNP fiasco, you have done this in the face of Islanders who need new schools, better health care, jobs, increased care for our elders (the list does go on...) - what will it take to convince you the Island doesn't want your double speak anymore - your arrogance - you....... please do us all a favor and move to Somewhere Else Land and leave us alone!!

  • mej
    May 23, 2012 - 08:17

    And lets not forget the reason the Feds were changing the rules was because they had problems with it waay back in 2005. Who was premier at that time??? Oh yea the Bean Farmer!! Again, no taxpayers money, so why do taxpayers feel the need to know who got what??

  • witness to corruption
    May 23, 2012 - 07:58

    People should consider that much of the PNP money was wasted on personal spending and toys for the business owners and did not lead to hiring or helping the economy. But it did leave many businesses in tax trouble for not claiming personal use of the funds.It was an inside deal only for greedy grabbers on the inside.

  • Bill McEwen
    May 23, 2012 - 07:58

    Nice work Teresa! Glad the issue is getting national attention - it deserves it.

  • johnthames
    May 23, 2012 - 07:34

    Where's the 100 million Ghiz?

  • Really
    May 23, 2012 - 07:16

    And just HOW does one 'put these issues in the past' and "not dwell on mistakes made in the past"....when every day you read the headlines and there is yet another (same info) article on this program. It's interesting that Kenney felt it was necessary to give his 'take' on this subject but to throw it back to islanders as 'a provincial issue'. Really, in my opinion, his whole 'visit' here is a bit peculiar.

  • OTIS
    May 23, 2012 - 07:06

    I no the conservatives introduced the PNP but the Liberal government abused the face off it why don't you ask your wonderful premier Mr Ghiz where the money is they should all be questioned and investigated.

  • you asked for it
    May 23, 2012 - 06:58

    all the money the gov't of pei takes in, spends or gives is the property of pei tax payers. we have a right to know where every penny goes. this should also include pnp money. remember you asked for it.

  • voter
    May 23, 2012 - 06:47

    the federal government has left ISLANDERS high and dry on the PNP thievery - they will do nothing-- Kenney knows the politicians and their friends on PEI are ABOVE THE LAW-----OR more precisely the LAW ON PEI IS BELOW POLITICS

  • corrupt
    May 23, 2012 - 06:27

    Well then it's peculiar. Nothing has been done, and nothing will be done.

  • HardWorkingIslander
    May 23, 2012 - 06:18

    and we still await justice...the politicians, lawyers, accountants...all whom involved should see jail time in my view in addition to forfeiting up all that money. I was approached to get PNP money and it was obvious to me how scandalous it was and I do not throw away my sense of responsibility at the sight of money....I have invested almost $500,000 of my own money in this province over the past 4 years....not one penny from the government or foreign investment...all my own hard earned money...all those whom wanted on the band wagon for a free politically motivated money train....need to hold their heads in shame and hide in the shadows, we know who you are...the corrupt businesses will never get a penny from me...time to publish names of all invovled.....The shame will never go away...oh yes, that would be political suicide...Ghiz deserves it...I sleep well at night....

  • Please clarify
    May 23, 2012 - 06:11

    That is a pretty one sided story. If it irked you so much why did the federal government approve and continue to approve the nominees?

  • Guardian sinks to bias yellow journalism here
    May 23, 2012 - 05:57

    The PNP was out of control for sure. The Ghiz government took liberties with this federal program. The federal government did nothing to stop this situation at the time and approved every single new immigrant via this program. It was and is a rotten program allowing people with lot's of money to jump the line up and come directly into Canada. Why is the guardian publishing this Federal Minister taking pot shots at our provincial government and calling it journalism. The guardian editorial staff should be ashamed as this is not journalism.

  • youserious
    May 23, 2012 - 01:00

    You suggesting Mr Kenny that the people who pulled this deal of walk free. No accountablility. Where is the ministerial and treasury board responsilility in administering the Financial Administration act of the federal goverment. If monies are not spent from the general revenue fund in the spirit of the direction of parliment somebody needs to be held accountable. Otherwise the federal coffers are just a community financial well (economically) to those who weild the power. Where is the federal AG on this matter?

  • Gerry
    May 22, 2012 - 23:41

    The handling of PNP by the Liberals is far from being deemd a "mistake." So what if the provincial Convservatives implemented the program, the Liberals abused it to no end. Now, the whole Island is renowned (within/outside of Canada) for the actions of self-serving, greedy, and unbelievably arrogant family and friends of the "right" connection(s).

  • just the facts
    May 22, 2012 - 22:20

    crazytalk, you confirm your ignorance by not knowing the facts, PNP started in 2001-02 under the federal Liberal government, it was in 2007 when our PEI program went off the rails, I think that was when our current provincial Liberal government came to power.

  • waldorf
    May 22, 2012 - 21:44

    robert ghiz the feds are coming after you and the pnp mafia THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE..............

  • just an opinion
    May 22, 2012 - 21:39

    “The province has decided to work with us in reframing a more credible program and we’re committed to making that work,” Kenney said. You think? good luck with that. And all that said, what taxpayers really want is WHO GOT THE PNP MONEY and as taxpayers we deserve the RESPECT of an answer. We the TAXPAYERS are about to be over taxed even more than we have been over taxed and we've seen so so so so many wasteful spending on projects that have been unnecessary. IT IS TIME FOR THIS GOVERNMENT TO STEP UP THE PLATE AND BE HONEST. WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY GOT PNP MONEY. And we will NOT lie down and let the government roll us over on this one. Not when so manyh islanders are living barely on the poverty line and with out jobs and having jobs cut.

  • CrazyTalk
    May 22, 2012 - 21:34

    And what pray tell was the result of the RCMP investigation? Where is the balance to the reporting here? Where are the Premier's comments? There might have been a mention of the fact that is was a Reform ... oops PC ... no that's not it ... Conservative Federal government that brought it to our Tory Provincial Government who originally implemented it. Ya love it when these Little Harpers visit the Island.

    • Townie
      May 23, 2012 - 07:22

      @crazytalk there is nothing wrong with the PNP program, there is nothing wrong with legitimate businesses getting money from PNP. There is something wrong with the way the Liberals pushed people through it in 2008 and pocketed a bunch of the money for themselves in numbered businesses and the accounting companies, which have strong liberal ties got a big chunk of the monies instead of legitimate business.

    • Brian from Stratford
      May 23, 2012 - 07:45

      @CRAZYTALK Seriously? Yes, the Tories created the program but it was the Liberals who abused it. That somehow makes it the Tories' fault? Twisted logic there. You make Ghiz's spin doctors proud.

    • reality check
      May 23, 2012 - 13:10

      Actually Townie & Crazytalk..... there is something morally wrong with taking immigrant's money for yourself. They are not a free bank loan that you never have to pay back. My great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents came to PEI from Scotland in the 1800s. They had to pay their passage across the Atlantic and they had to buy some land (they went to one of the ''free'' lots) and that was it. The system that Canada has allowed to develop in the last few decades is shameful. Provincial governments should have nothing to do with immigration, nor immigrant investment schemes. Period.