Albas misses the point

MP Dan Albas' recent column “Jobs go up in smoke” is totally misleading. 

He is concerned that according to an information request $1.05 billion from the Strategic Innovation Fund has been approved, yet only 6,613 jobs have been created. 

Note that the fund was only established in July 2017 to support innovation activity. The first projects were approved in January 2018, and projects continued to be approved through 2018 and 2019.

The key word used by Mr. Albas is “approved,” which does not mean that the projects were necessarily built and fully operational immediately. This just does not happen. This is the rather basic flaw in his analysis and displays a worrying lack of understanding of project management. 

The Government of Canada website is quite clear that numbers claimed for jobs to be created is based on the lifetime of the project, and does not claim that jobs are created the moment a project funding request is approved.  

A number of the projects have a long timeline, and so it is far too soon to reach any conclusions about whether they have achieved the stated objectives. To say that the jobs have gone up in smoke is totally misleading.

Albas appears surprised that advances to some of the projects do not have defined repayment terms. In fact, there are certain types of projects where the fund description specifically says that projects may not require specific repayment.   

For some projects it is not reasonable to expect the private sector or banks to bear the risk. In such cases, it is not unusual for governments to bear this risk either directly or indirectly.  

As with his piece on the Infrastructure Bank earlier this year, Albas has demonstrated a serious lack of understanding.

John Bailey, Kelowna

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