Originally posted on National Post | News:
Every year, roughly 60 numbered companies are registered on Prince Edward Island. In 2008 that number suddenly quadrupled, to more than 240, as the provincial government rushed to approve a flood of applications for an immigration program that partnered local businesspeople with foreign investors in exchange for visas, and which was about to be shut down by the federal government.
By the time the island immigrant investor program had ended, more than $500-million had flowed into local businesses, immigration consultants, lawyers and government coffers, the province’s auditor-general later found, a huge sum in a province whose annual operating budget is $1.5-billion.
“If there were that many new businesses on P.E.I., where are they all and why isn’t the economy stronger?” asked Cora Plourd, one of three former employees of island’s immigration program who went public during the October provincial election with allegations of fraud and mismanagement, including what one ex-employee said were envelopes of cash trading hands between bureaucrats and immigrants seeking to move their applications to the front of the line. “If that much money came into P.E.I., why aren’t we in better shape?”