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Trudeau’s Billion-Dollar Green Scandal: Whistleblowers Expose Rampant Corruption at Liberal Slush Fund

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Now in their third term, more revelations of corruption and fraud threaten to become the Liberal government’s biggest controversy yet.

Citing reports from consulting firms and secret recordings and documents from whistleblowers, several MPs have called out the government for reports of corruption, fraud, and gross mismanagement at the federal green fund.

At this point, we all know Ottawa has more shady deals than a back alley black market, but it seems that Justin Trudeau has some serious explaining to do, after the release of this damning evidence of corruption. 

Whistleblowers leaked a new audio recording that caught a civil servant slamming the government’s green fund for mismanagement. Doug McConnachie, who was not aware he was being recorded, provided his unfiltered take on the Liberal government’s handling of Sustainable Development Technology Canada, or the SDTC, a green foundation currently in the middle of a five-year agreement with the government worth $1 billion. According to the agreement, the SDTC was supposed to distribute the $1 billion to small and medium businesses in the clean tech sector, but now its handling of these public funds has been called into question. 

McConnachie, the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, bared it all in the recording. He began by commenting on a recent report regarding the SDTC he had received back in August, saying:

In the same leaked recording, McConnachie also anticipated that François-Philippe Champagne, his head Minister, would “flip out” once he got the briefing on the damning report. He figured Champagne was sure to explode with anger over what the findings revealed.

While McConnachie seemed confident that the executive team at SDTC would be ousted as soon as possible, the SDTC management team and board of directors still remain in place, over two months later. Looks like justice moves slowly under this Liberal government. 

However, this whole debacle did not happen overnight. Like many of the Liberal government’s scandals, it’s been building in the shadows for months, or even years, before the whistleblower brought it to the public.

In fact, this latest scandal dates back to February, when a bunch of past and present SDTC workers got together and made an official complaint concerning the inner workings of the foundation. The group first approached the Office of the Auditor General as early as November of 2022. When told to submit an official complaint to the Privy Council Office, they submitted a 300-page document detailing an alleged series of conflicts of interest and a number of potential cases of mismanagement of public funds.

Besides just allegations of mismanaging public funds, the report gives many examples of conflicts of interest between executives and board members, adding that there were clear cases of favoritism and of employees losing their jobs unfairly. 

In response to the allegations, the ISED Department of Government hired an external firm, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton or RCGT, to conduct an investigation. 

Needless to say, the report drew some shocking conclusions about the Liberals’ $1 billion green fund, which has been suspended since October 3rd. 

The report raised questions about SDTC’s decision to give around $38 million to companies which they already had financial agreements with. These transactions mainly occurred during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 and were described as “relief payments,” although it’s unclear what sort of relief these payments were really providing. 

The report found that these contributions did not appear to be consistent with the requirements of SDTC’s contribution agreement with the government since “the payments do not require project cost eligibility or monitoring and reporting.” Aside from this, one of the funding recipients “appeared to be ineligible” for other reasons, but received $280,000 despite that. 

The government told SDTC to clean up their act and introduced a series of reforms, but did not propose any real consequences for their actions. So basically, the Liberal government put all the same people in charge of fixing the very problems they caused and were exposed for. 

The very people responsible for this whole mess are now running the investigation into themselves. I’m sure that’ll work out great and they’ll really learn their lesson. And that’s pretty much Liberal logic in a nutshell.

So taking matters into their own hands, the whistleblowers gave Radio-Canada/CBC hours of recorded conversations with top bosses to pressure the government into public action.

At that point, the whistleblowers probably believed the government lied to them and only wanted to hide what happened, but it seems their “damage-control” approach was barely working this time.

Regarding the issue and the government’s response, or lack thereof, Conservative MP Gérard Deltell has said the government messed up by leaving all the same managers in charge at SDTC instead of changing things up, that is if they genuinely cared about properly handling reports of literal corruption in their government.

The conservative MP highlighted the fact that if people in a position of power were able to misuse it, it probably isn’t the best idea to put the same people in charge of providing recommendations and reform policies to their own misconduct, which seems like the common sense approach right ? Wrong apparently.

So amidst all of these damning findings, the Office of the Auditor-General decided to finally launch an audit into the allegations raised by the whistleblowers.

In a recent hearing, Conservative MP Michael Cooper decided to confront Deputy Auditor-General Andrew Hayes regarding the topic. After Hayes said that the “findings in that report are equivocal,” referring to the independent report issued by RCGT, Cooper decided to reply saying, 

With $38 million in tax money going out the door for who-knows-what, the whole debacle is very clearly an instance of fraud and corruption, yet the Liberal government has been on standby ever since.

According to the RCGT’s independent report, as highlighted by Cooper, a liberal industry minister appointed a personal friend of Justin Trudeau as chair of SDTC, which may have something to do with the slap on the wrist the SDTC received for their alleged misconduct. 

Up till now, the SDTC had generally enjoyed a quiet public profile, and now we know why: they apparently have tons of skeletons in their closet they don’t want people seeing. Their one job is funneling cash to small and mid-sized green companies, which certainly aligns with Trudeau’s famous green plan and commitment to climate action. 

But this latest scandal definitely raises serious questions about fraud and corruption at the highest levels of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government. The SDTC was supposed to help advance green technology, yet whistleblowers allege millions of dollars were instead funneled to Liberal-connected groups and cronies. While many Canadians cannot afford to own a home, it seems that the government would instead blow tens of millions on their own personal and political endeavors instead.

As more details emerge, Canadians will rightly demand accountability and transparency. But at this rate, they might even decide never to vote Liberal again.

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