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It's hard for any government to stand up and say they support fledgling industries and upstart businesses when doling out multi-million dollar loans to large corporations and leaving the rest to fend for the scraps.
In Nova Scotia the case of Michelin Tires has sent critics of the Rodney MacDonald and Stephen Harpers governments into a frenzy after documents obtained under the Access to Information Act revealed the tire manufacturers are paying off a $10 million research loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency $85,000 at a time for the next 29 years before a final payment of $7.5 million. As it stands, $85,000 works out to less than a per cent per annum.
Arguably, small upstart businesses are less apt to receive such a lenient payment plan.
There are two schools of thought behind business when it comes to large forgivable loans or loans doled out below prime The first being such financers are securing a sustainable economy and generating jobs for the people. The other school of thought is that without them there is no economy.
The expense of such financing is undoubtedly tied into the tax base of both a nation and a province. The money has to come from somewhere.
In a day when our province is calling on reforms to health care in rural areas, when we are heavily criticized for our aging infrastructure and when education is complimented with annual fundraisers just to provide its stewards with the resources they need it's a tough pill for the common person to swallow when large corporations are seemingly awarded for their sheer magnitude with less than equitable responsibility to taxpayers and the money they've borrowed from them. It should also be the responsibility of government to be at the front of the line asking for their taxpayers' money back, at a reasonable interest rate to boot. Ultimately the goal of any government that collects dollars of the backs of its citizens is to use that money to stimulate the quality of life for its people. The more bang they get for their buck the better. Awarding large sums of money at bargain prices may stimulate one economy for the short term but it does nothing for the remaining regions of the province unless there is some sort of return.

Organizations: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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