Inquiry Into Immigrant Investor Program Needed : NDP

Inquiry into immigrant investor program needed: NDP

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | 2:54 PM AT

P.E.I.'s political parties should work together to get the ruling Liberal government to call a public inquiry into the provincial nominee program, says NDP Leader James Rodd.

'This, we believe, is the only way to do it, through a public inquiry.' NDP Leader James Rodd

The program, known as PNP, matched foreign investors who wanted to immigrate to Canada with P.E.I. companies they could invest in. In return for their investment, applicants would have their immigration application expedited. The program, which operated from 2001 to 2008, attracted controversy when it became public that 2,000 potential immigrants were pushed through the program in its final year. Companies owned by MLAs and senior civil servants received PNP money, and there were also questions about the quality of the companies approved for investment.

“The official Opposition has asked for answers, and they are not getting them,” Rodd said at a news conference Wednesday.

On several occasions last month, efforts by the Opposition Progressive Conservatives to reveal information about the program through the public accounts committee were blocked by government MLAs.

“It is incumbent, we believe, that the government finally say yes [to an inquiry],” Rodd said. “It is now an opportunity for the citizens of Prince Edward Island to get a handle on this, and this, we believe, is the only way to do it, through a public inquiry.”

Rodd is asking the Green Party and the Progressive Conservatives to join the NDP in calling for an inquiry. The Tories are the only one of the three parties to hold seats in the legislature. Rodd said the Green and Tory party leaders were given formal invitations to join the NDP effort on Wednesday.

Rodd said the Liberals should set up a three-person commission to look into the PNP, with the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives each nominating one member and the chief justice of the P.E.I. Supreme Court choosing the third.

Rodd urged Islanders to take time next Tuesday to send messages to the government by email or phone, letting their representatives know they support a PNP inquiry.