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Former Minister Defends Hog Plant Grants

by 5m Editor
1 October 2009, at 8:12am

CANADA - PEI's agriculture minister under the Pat Binns administration was called before a legislative committee to explain why that government gave $2 million in grants to the provincial hog plant.

When the Liberal Ghiz government came to power in 2007, it stopped financial support for the Quebec-based owners of NOFG, and put it into receivership.

Cbcnews.ca reports that it shut down permanently a few weeks later. The total loss to government was $4 million. Many hog farmers have since left the business.

The public accounts committee called former minister Jim Bagnall Tuesday to explain why so much money was provided to the plant.

"We support the agricultural industry in the province, and we support the hog producers and the industry," Mr Bagnall testified.

"[We] were going to suffer because there was a lot of people that worked in that sector. And a lot of other businesses across PEI would be in jeopardy, with loss of business, if the industry did not survive."

Mr Bagnall was questioned for 15 minutes. After that, Liberal members of the public accounts committee passed a motion not to call two other former ministers of the Binns government, Mitch Murphy and Mike Currie, to account for the spending.