BY WAYNE CARVER
The provincial government’s development plan got off to a sour start in January 2018 when the City of Charlottetown snapped up the severed lot adjacent to Founders’ Hall. Sometimes, the best back room deals do fall apart.
With one partisan plan scuttled, there is always more to come. In February, it was announced that cabinet approved a loan of $600,000 for the Murphy Group and the Inn at Great George as well as another $2,140.000 for the P.E.I. Brewing Company. Very few in Charlottetown have received more money from this government than this group.
Between PNP units, provincial loans, acquisition of taxpayers’ property at bargain basement prices and ACOA funding, who knows how much they have received in total.
Additionally, on Feb. 23, 2018, cabinet approved a $4 million loan to #102163 P.E.I. Inc., apparently registered to Paul William Murphy.
Tucked away on page B-7 of the Saturday Guardian (March 23) is a good news story, “In time for the burgers.” It is about the staff at the Mill River Resort welcoming guests and diners in the near future. Just in time for the tourist season. It is surprising what can be accomplished when funding is available, especially public money.
At the outset, our provincial government contributed $1.8 million towards the Mill River purchase price. Additional monies to upgrade the resort were supposed to be dispersed through a government-approved $6 million capital grant plan over a period of six years but, surprise, surprise, the work has progressed so well that all but $500.000 was quietly paid out over the past several months. Now the developer seems to qualify for another $1.6 million for operating expenses over the next six years.
Meanwhile, government has also budgeted another $42 million in capital improvements to roads and bridges for the 2018-2019 construction season. That is in addition to the $120 million the government has spent on roads and bridges since 2015. Yet the auditor general’s report of March 2018 asserts those persons in need in this province, are under-funded.
The basic social assistance rates in most cases have not changed in 10 years. Shelter rates have not changed since 2013. The maximum monthly shelter allowance for a single person as of March 31 was $539. and $854 for a couple with two children; and we have all heard the horror stories about health care. There is little doubt some of this money could have been earmarked for social programs.
That we have an elitist class system in this province is hard to dispute. If the measure of a society’s success is how we care for our less fortunate then we should hang our heads in shame.
One has to think that with so much public money being shuffled around to the party faithful, this government could find some funding to assist those in need.
Wayne Carver of Long Creek is a supporter of electoral reform and comments frequently on social and political issues