A P.E.I. company that used Premier Wade MacLauchlan’s voice in a commercial advertisement has been approved for a $540,000 provincial loan.
In late December, cabinet approved the loan to Trout River Industries from Island Investment Development Inc.
Economic Development Minister Heath MacDonald says the province wants to see Island companies like this one grow and prosper, and is happy to help with its lending agency.
“We’re committed to the success of Island companies and entrepreneurs and especially Trout River. It’s in rural P.E.I., it employs up to 80 people and it’s in a very important sector for us.”
MacDonald noted P.E.I. has led the country in exports and had strong manufacturing sales figures.
He says this is due in part to support from government’s loan portfolio.
“I think it’s very important to the economy of P.E.I. and it’s important that we continue to do it,” he said.
Trout River Industries made headlines last fall after Premier Wade MacLauchlan voiced an advertisement for the company.
Opposition MLA Steven Myers raised concern about a possible conflict of interest with the premier actively promoting companies that receive government money.
Trout River Industries has been the beneficiary of other government assistance in the past.
But MacDonald says the decision to approve this loan was based on Trout River Industries’ business plan and prospects.
“Anytime you have a premier lend his voice to a company, I think wow, he’s trying to promote P.E.I. as a whole. He’d likely do it for anybody, for that matter,” MacDonald added.
A spokeswoman for the premier’s office says the loan went first through treasury board and then to cabinet, where it was approved by consensus.
The loan is a five-year term loan, amortized over five years at four per cent interest.
The money will be used for equipment purchases.
Trout River Industries owner Harvey Stewart oversees the manufacturing of trailers in his company’s production area in Carleton ion western P.E.I. Those live-bottom trailers are destined for road-building work in western Canada.