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February 15, 2006
For immediate release

Minister Currie Says Opposition Leader Irresponsible to Link Gomery Recommendations to Island Business Files

Development and Technology

Hon. Mike Currie, Minister of Development and Technology, said comments by Opposition Leader Robert Ghiz suggesting a link between the Sponsorship Scandal in Ottawa and the Polar Foods file in Prince Edward Island are irresponsible.

Minister Currie said Justice John Gomery presided over what he termed “an elaborate kick back scheme,” which saw taxpayer’s money funnelled into the hands of federal Liberal party supporters and organizers. While Polar Foods did not succeed, Minister Currie said it was an effort of the government and processing industry to provide jobs and opportunities for Islanders in rural Prince Edward Island. At peak times, over 1,000 Islanders were employed and most workers remain in the sector today.

“I believe it is fundamentally wrong to suggest the two issues are in any way linked,” said the Minister. “The Sponsorship Scandal was blatant abuse of taxpayer’s money which saw bags of cash make their way into the hands of Liberal Party organizers. Polar did not work out the way we had anticipated, but it certainly is in no way similar to what we have seen in Ottawa with the Sponsorship Scandal.”

Minister Currie said all public reports that make recommendations to ensure public accountability of taxpayers money are important. He said that is why all of the recommendations of the Auditor General and forensic auditor (KPMG), in respect to the Polar file, have been or will be implemented.

“From the outset of this, our Premier and this government have taken unprecedented steps to ensure the full accountability of public expenditures,” said the Minister. “That is why the Premier asked the Auditor General to fully analyse the Polar file and provided the forensic auditor with the necessary resources to provide a thorough investigation. And we will fully comply with the findings of both of those thorough reports.”

Media Contact: Dennis King
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