By now anyone who cares has gotten an opportunity to see the much discussed, debated and anticipated list of P.E.I. companies who received PNP funds. And what a list it is, totalling 1,354 companies of all shapes and sizes.
A logical question is: now what? Will the list’s publication sate the public curiosity about who got what and result in the issue slowly fading away? Or will it add fuel to the fire and lead to more whispering and finger-pointing.
The list is a who’s who of reputable, well-known and industrious P.E.I. businesses that employ people and contribute to the P.E.I. economy. And no fair-minded person should have a problem with such firms receiving funding, if the money was put to its intended use of improving, expanding or creating a business.
What gets people heated up is the suggestion that a number of individuals received more funding than they should have, and that some firms that received PNP funding are now dissolved, existing perhaps only long enough to qualify for the PNP funding.
The Provincial Nominee Program will most certainly be a topic of discussion when the P.E.I. legislature opens its fall sitting this week. PC Leader Olive Crane has long been a vocal opponent of the PNP and how it was administered.
In addition, database searches are underway that will help when it comes to connecting firms and names.
One thing is for certain: the list is now allowing people to make connections and assumptions, both founded and unfounded ones.
Time will tell when and how the PNP issue is finally put to bed. Some suggest the media should just leave the issue alone, that overall it was a solid program that brought prosperity to the province. They admit that while mistakes may have been made, nothing illegal happened, so it is time to move on as opposed to tarnishing everyone who was touched by the program.
The flip side is, the media has a duty and responsibility to the public to continue to look into the program. And, after all, if no one has anything to hide, we won’t find anything of significance.
Over the years, I have interviewed many people, but the other day grandson Jack turned the table on me and asked for an interview. He was involved in a class project and needed to do a biography on someone so he decided to interview “Pops” via the phone.
Sitting in one of my comfy rocking chairs, I dutifully answered the questions and listened to Jack spell out the words as he wrote down my answers.
“M-o-n-t-g-o-m-r-y” he repeated in writing down my favourite author.
“E-r-y,” I said.
“Oh, e-r-y, thanks,” he said.
Jack is now eight-and-a-half years old. Above my head was a picture of my interviewer when he was about nine months old. Time does fly by.
FINALLY THE NAME FITS
Richard Collins has finally lived up to his nickname. The affable Montague mayor bested long-time rival Pat McGowan by 315 votes in last week’s civic election. In the past he has jokingly referred to himself as “Landslide Collins” because of his close electoral battles with McGowan.
Last week’s race marked the fifth time the two have faced off. Collins won the mayor’s race by 31 votes in 1993, McGowan won by 46 in 1996, McGowan won again but just by four votes in 2000, before Collins earned a one-vote victory in November 2004.
Mayor Collins deserves praise for being willing to stand up and serve his town in an era when it can be difficult to find people willing to give up the time and energy. McGowan also deserves praise not only for her time in office, but in always ensuring Montague residents have a choice for mayor.
Gary MacDougall is managing editor of The Guardian. He can be reached by telephone at (902) 629-6029; by email at email@example.com; or on Twitter @GaryGuardian.