Myers seeking PNP details

Teresa Wright
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Opposition leader wants to hear from Allan Rankin on premier’s involvement in PNP

P.E.I. Opposition Leader Steven Myers

Opposition Leader Steven Myers wants to call a former clerk of Executive Council to public accounts to answer questions about Premier Robert Ghiz’s role in P.E.I.’s controversial immigrant investor program.

Myers sent a letter to the provincial public accounts committee this week, requesting the committee call Allan Rankin to testify.

Rankin served as clerk of the Executive Council under Robert Ghiz from 2007 to 2009. Before that, he was a heavyweight in the Liberal administrations of both Joe Ghiz and Catherine Callbeck and also worked in Ottawa as a parliamentary assistant.

He has recently begun writing an opinion column for The Eastern Graphic newspaper. It is one of these columns that caught the eye of the Opposition leader.

In December, Rankin wrote about Ghiz’s surprise resignation announcement, offering criticism of Ghiz’s time in office, zeroing in on the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Calling the program a “debacle,” Rankin alleges Ghiz had a direct role in managing this program.

“It is always dangerous for a premier to manage any file within his own office, especially one that is potentially controversial and involves the disbursement of money,” Rankin wrote in his column.

“Premier Ghiz could not resist a direct role in administering and disbursing PNP units, and as a consequence he became ensnared in the irregularities and outrageous behaviour that surrounded that program.”

Ghiz has never acknowledged any direct role in the handling of this program, which has been mired in scandal for more than seven years.

Over 1,300 Island companies received money from immigrant investors through the PNP, which allowed these immigrants to effectively buy their way into Canada. Concerns were raised about how the immigrant monies were distributed to P.E.I. businesses, which prompted an auditor general investigation in 2009. That probe found numerous instances where program officials broke rules and policies, which in turn financially benefitted certain P.E.I. companies and their owners.

Myers points out Rankin was clerk of Executive Council the top public service job in the province at the very time many of the irregularities in this program occurred.

His comments about Ghiz’s involvement shed new light on the controversy surrounding the PNP, Myers says.

“This is the first time that a senior member of government from that time discloses that the premier’s office was directly involved in the handling of the (PNP) file,” Myers said.

“The purpose of the public accounts committee is to review government programs and operation and try to learn from past mistakes so they won’t be repeated. This seems like a situation where… it would be a good opportunity for (Rankin) to come in and explain.”

Rankin was surprised to learn Myers had sent the letter about him to public accounts.

He says he swore an oath of confidentiality when he began working in the Executive Council office, which would preclude him from sharing certain information. But he conceded he was unclear about how long that oath extends after one leaves government and whether the committee’s legislative authority to compel evidence and information would trump this oath.

Regardless, Rankin said he would indeed appear at committee, if called.

When asked if he would be comfortable answering pointed questions about this particular issue, Rankin said no.

“But if you’re sworn to give evidence before a house committee, I would certainly answer whatever questions were addressed to me, with the one constraint that I wouldn’t be able to provide detailed information that came from Executive Council because of the oath I’ve taken,” he said.

“I could speak generally and respond as best I could, but there would be some constraints on that.”

The committee has not yet responded to Myer’s request.

Organizations: Executive Council

Geographic location: P.E.I., Ottawa, Iceland Canada

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Recent comments

  • Hard worker
    January 21, 2015 - 13:23

    This has to stop now all this lost money and all the familys here on this island trying to survive . It's time for us all to stand up and start doing something ! Sick off the waste of money and see familys trying to get by . The year long party spent millions on and i want to know how much pei got out of it ? All the waste of billions thay could of given every islander some of it .Something got to be done and now ! And for the rcmp to look into it who pays the cops ! Gov pay them ! Time to get a private Investigator in there .I would give a few bucks for one anyone else ? Think it would be worth it in the long run for us Islanders. Time to stand up Islanders !

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    January 18, 2015 - 13:33

    WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT , we must not let the PNP debacle, scandal, or whatever you want to call it fade from our memories. Islanders are starting to wake up and realize that governments are just people, subject to what I call Sin. They do wrong things, sometimes illegal things, and must be accountable. We need whistle blower protection for everyone, especially government workers. My heart goes out to those 3 poor women. They will be forgotten but the crimes they alluded to, and many more similar crimes, will go on until we hold those responsible accountable.

  • Tory backroom
    January 18, 2015 - 13:07

    Myers will back off when he starts getting calls for Tory lawyers, accountants and business owners. The backroom "elite" in downtown Charlottetown will not stand for this! They have their boy Lantz who won't go near this. Look what happened to Olive. Politicians in PEI actually have no say, it is the backroom and senior bureaucrats and they will tell Myers to keep quiet and he will or he is out - Their man Lantz will keep the status quo for the backroom boys

  • Stay tuned
    January 18, 2015 - 11:45

    Keep hearing there is much more to come, just in time for the election

  • Squirrel
    January 18, 2015 - 09:48

    What a mess ??? The truth has to come out, the lying on both side. This mess even supercedes the Dunadave hand out . The AG found irregularies - Why wasn't it stopped there. The Fed Gov't stops programs due to irregularies - Why wasn't investigated then The lies & cash in envelopes just amazing & the RCMP couldn't find anything Better Question did they really look .

  • Resident
    January 18, 2015 - 08:47

    People keep digging in the wrong direction... Leave the small businesses alone. The 25-45% of PNP money went to 5 legal and 5 accounting companies. That's $100s of millions of dollars. That's where the main players are, family connections, and all the gravy. These are the people who designed and executed the PNP scam.

    • Bill Kays
      Bill Kays
      January 18, 2015 - 13:38

      I agree to leave the small businesses alone, they included them because they needed them so that the program would pass some low level scrutiny in order to make the fraudulent thefts more credible. Ghiz is scared, as he should be. We need whistle blower legislation in order to block further frauds, wrong doings, etc., made by our elected and supposedly trusted servants.

  • Shaking Head
    January 18, 2015 - 06:40

    Why do all you people keep voting blue and red? Seriously, both parties have proven over and over again that they are crooks but YOU keep voting them in. For gawd sake grow a set and at least have a look at some other colours. Can't be any worse and at least they wouldn't all be in the pocket of industry. They'd be under a microscope which wouldn't be a bad thing around here.

  • Angus
    January 17, 2015 - 20:28

    Love it! All these 'insiders' in both parties just keep proving what we knew all along. Olive Crane is the only honest politician on PEI And both parties hate her for just that reason.

    • Dm
      January 18, 2015 - 10:55

      Not only that she has more experience and is a better politican then any current mla by far.

  • Imagine that
    January 17, 2015 - 18:07

    Another whistle blower/ and just in time for another election!! He's had this info tucked away for how long? Methinks I smell a rat.

    January 17, 2015 - 18:00

    This clown will get nowhere with this . Only Dear Leader Harper has the fangs to tackle this file of PNP debauchery . Make sure you begin with Binns regime of hatchetmen when little or nothing was known about this gravy train . We all know how misguided Binns Government was , they were elected on a promise of looking after their own and little else .At least the Liberals broke the silence on this secret scam . Make all involved illegally pay the money back including the generous lawyer and accountant fees . Those who received it legally (ie existing business) pay the appropriate taxes !

    • Art
      January 17, 2015 - 22:07

      Remember 2000 given visas within 6 weeks, no wonder Feds shut the program down. Ghiz, Brown and Macmillan should be run off the Island. Ghiz and his 1 billion legacy will go down in history as worst Premier this Province has ever had.

  • The King
    January 17, 2015 - 13:23

    This "oath of confidentiality" that Alan Rankin is stuttering about. I'm quite certain that if criminal acts have been committed by members of the Premier's office - Rankin's oath no longer applies. Legal protection for politicians must end.

  • How about that
    January 17, 2015 - 11:25

    Interesting to see this revelation on the heels of the excellent article in the Guardian by Mac Gregor earlier this week. He sited the Confederation PNP involvement. |Would the elevation of the Confederation Centre CEO to deputy minister of Tourism have something to do with his agility regarding the PNP. This PNP is a stinky mess, and one wonders just how deep the RCMP dug. This PNP is a stinky mess on all levels.

  • howatt
    January 17, 2015 - 11:19

    @Stan Hope- this is not a dead horse, Meyers did not bring this on, Alan Rankin did. Meyers responded appropriately for a Leader of the Opposition. Must be the truth hurt---

  • Yolanda
    January 17, 2015 - 11:17

    I sure hope this gets circulated far and wide, so when Ghiz goes job searching his dishonesty e.g. denying having had anything to do with the PNP 'file', will be well know.

  • Me
    January 17, 2015 - 11:15

    Who keeps putting. Battery's in Myers ?? Worse than one of those singing santas. Yas should have kept crane and booted Myers. Might have actually got a few votes. Deeper and deeper

    • Bert
      January 17, 2015 - 16:09

      @me. It is obvious from your comments that no Tory would ever get your vote. You should have an open mind for the best for the Province.

    • @ Bert
      January 17, 2015 - 18:15

      @ Bert : I'm sorry you are wrong in your post . (And the post isn't mine)The PC's have got all my votes in the last 40+ years but will not be getting any more provincially . Just can't vote for clone party that back stab's their own . Liberals don't even sink down that far . Best for the Province , do you even know what that might be , certaintly not what is being offered at present !

  • Kevin
    January 17, 2015 - 11:14

    @stan hope - why do you blame Meyers for this revelation. --- He is certainly right, if this civil servant has something to share, let it be for the record.--- I just wonder why Mr. Rankin chose this moment to lament such irregularities and denials as the Premier has put forth about his involvement in this ugly affair? If he had knowledge of improper things, he should have come out at the time and revealed it, when something could have been done about. Remaining silent until this time, he is as guilty of improper public service as Ghiz is.

    • SlyFox
      January 17, 2015 - 15:37

      If Mr.Rankin had spoke up during his time in government what would his fate have been? Remember what happened to Mr.Brown.A better example might be the three ladies who raised concerns publicly,they were labeled Crazy .Even one lady had a article in this newspaper this week about her fate from coming forth.

  • james
    January 17, 2015 - 11:08

    Thank you Paul McNeil for giving this 'bird' a perch to sing from.

  • Stan Hope
    January 17, 2015 - 09:44

    Talk about beating the proverbial dead horse. Is this the best Myers & the rest of the Party can come up with ... for the love of God move on !

    • SlyFox
      January 17, 2015 - 10:39

      What if there was misdeeds done? Would you not want to see people held accountable? This is not chump change we are talking about,it is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.Maybe some would love to see it swept under the rug because their pockets are full.

    • Where there is smoke there is FIRE
      January 17, 2015 - 11:04

      OMG and Stan Hope you guys must be have the Liberals connections where you received some PNP funds and now are worried that those monies may have to be returned.When a SENIOR Liberal insider writes an article criticizing a premier he worked for, and makes critical remarks on a controversial program that some prominent Islanders have also written about because of the horrific greed and staggering amount of money involved,don't you think that ordinary islanders should find all the people who ran this program accountable. They changed rules mid-game,if they were changed legally and within policy we can live with it ..if there were breaches of ethics,patronage,and indications of the point the premier ordered one his friends to return a substantial amount(we still do not know if he did),a sitting minister lost his position and has been unusually silent(Richard BROWN)...this matter must be looked at a little closer.This Govt is going out of its way to distance itself from it, throwing up road blocks, and remaining just a little to silent.Allan RANKIN is no fool, like all of us he has political leanings but when it comes down to the crunch YOU MUST BE ETHICAL...and I commend him for his honesty.This program has seen people victimized with the loss of jobs,a disgruntled Liberal start a caustic BLOG that people are starting to look at closer, and nothing but silence from the powers that be.This issue is FAR from over, ordinary Islanders deserve better from those who ran this program and the sitting GOVT.

    • George
      January 17, 2015 - 11:43

      What are you scare of the truth.Do you work in Premiers Office and were rewharded with PNP units?

    • don
      January 17, 2015 - 12:43

      Stan Hope. we need to know the truth we are tired of the lies. but it sounds like you might have gotten a few bucks from the PNP and does not want anyone to know how you became rich??

  • Bert
    January 17, 2015 - 09:42

    Alan Rankin was a sincere senior public servant over a number of Liberal Premiers and always worked in the best interest of the Province. He must have been really upset with how Premier Ghiz, Mr. Richard Brown, and Mr. Brooke Macmillan used the PNP for thier personal program to provide monies to family , friends and themselves. I guess the three whistleblowers are not to far wrong, and it appears Alan is joining the ranks.

    • david
      January 17, 2015 - 15:53

      Funny how someone so sincere does nothing when he was in position to do something about something he may consider improper but does NOTHING because of his pay cheque. All this so called sincere bureaucrat has done is show he was neither sincere or loyal but yet another retired trough feeder who now wants to tell the rest of the world how things should be done; however he to spineless to do when he was there. Funny how retired trough feeding public servants always have all the answers after they retire but never do when they are still in positions to the RIGHT thing. Sincerity is hardly a trait that would describe this guy. Sincere people stand up against his wrongs and not be swayed because he collects a pay cheque. Yet another retired employee who says how bad everyone else is now that he is gone.

  • Rossa
    January 17, 2015 - 08:27

    So what advise did this highly paid civil servant give the Premier about that? I guess he did not resign over such disgusting behavior. I remember an other gov. employee who saw these irregularities and spoke out about it. Why did you not back him up instead of having him send back to ACOA. This little article you wrote in the Graphic is telling as much about you as the Premier. Thanks just the same for telling it, it just reinforced the sad state of integrity all the way around in the Ghiz "world"..

  • enough already
    January 17, 2015 - 08:24

    Keep digging boys ,there has to be a bottom to this pit.

  • Jim
    January 17, 2015 - 08:20

    Hey, why don't you sing a song about that, Allan?

  • Ira
    January 17, 2015 - 08:15

    Talking about biting the hand that fed you--- He has consistently been "looked after" by the Liberals, living the lifestyle of an "upper civil servant" all these years. Leaving the Premier's office he was tucked into IRAC. So why is his nose out of joint now?? Did Ghiz praise Rory Beck to the sky in his parting interview, and not mention Rankin, is that what is bugging him? In any event, Mr. Rakin, tell it all now that you have open Pandora`s box, maybe the RCMP can reopen the case.

  • OMG
    January 17, 2015 - 07:58

    could we please have a "de-election" where we could vote a party member out? Then Steve Myers may see some check marks by his name. So tired of hearing PNP

    • Lloyd
      January 17, 2015 - 09:46

      Why forget PNP? There is still about $400 million unaccounted for. Did you get your share?

  • Observer
    January 17, 2015 - 06:56

    Perhaps; the reasons for Ghiz's quick resignation are beginning to emerge????