Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why the Green Infrastructure Fund?

A brief follow-up on an item in the Jaffer story from yesterday.

In the Chronicle Herald report of yesterday afternoon, Jaffer's business partner Patrick Glemaud is quoted as saying this about Conservative parliamentary secretary Brian Jean (secretary to John Baird), the person with whom Jaffer and Glemaud met regarding the Green Infrastructure Fund:
"Brian doesn’t have any power whatsoever to get any grant whatsoever to get anything on this file. If that was the case we would have got something. We didn’t get anything."
Glemaud isn't crystal clear in explaining his understanding of the process, but that's the upshot of it, Jean didn't have the power to decide, that bureaucrats were involved, etc. Which seems kind of unbelievable that Glemaud would have that understanding. (Not to mention that the above is not exactly how you'd want a fair government granting process to be run in any event, to say the least.)

Because in both the Chronicle Herald report and a Star report from last night, Brian Jean clearly affirms that he did have the authority to make the funding decisions, stating flat out that he rejected the proposals from Jaffer and Glemaud that were in front of him. For example (Star link):
Jean said he rejected them.

“I simply felt that they were not of any significant public benefit and most likely ineligible as well, but none of them received any funding,” Jean said.
You can also consider this, an anonymous reader who applied for Green Infrastructure Funds who sent along an email last night affirming the same point: "The bureaucrat made it 100% clear to me that the ministers made the decisions on eligible projects." The emailer states that he spoke with the bureaucrat 5-6 times, who was pretty clear about the ministers (Baird and Jean) having the "power to approve or reject the application without bureaucratic influence."

This federal ministerial discretion may be why the Green Infrastructure Fund in particular might have been sought out by anyone who thought they had influence at the federal level.

And then of course, there's the big question looming in the background here...what about the Lobbying Act? That is a problem.

Well, one of many problems, anyway...