Government Corruption Beyond the Pale

A CBC News investigation called "The Big Spend" has found billions of dollars in federal pandemic aid going to corporations making what CBC calls "healthy profits." Many of the corporations receiving portions of the $240 billion pandemic aid are at the same time doling out dividends to shareholders, giving stock options to executives and continuing to expropriate added-value from the new value their workers are producing. This blatant pay-the-rich corruption is now considered "normal" and a "right" of doing business in Canada.

One item in the series examines the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program (CEWS). Up to December CEWS has handed $50 billion to around 356,000 companies to pay the wages of their employees. The program has been extended into next year with the total payments expected to exceed $100 billion. According to the government, the money was to assist small retail and other businesses to keep their workers employed. Smaller retailers in particular are in danger of going bankrupt as the enforced COVID-19 lockdowns have hit them hard. Many of the most powerful global cartels, however, use it as a pay-the-rich scheme, leaving a scam of tremendous proportions in their wake.

The majority of the companies receiving wage subsidies are not traded publicly on the stock market and according to private property right do not have to reveal their business accounts. CBC says almost no information is publicly available "about which companies received money, how much they received or what they did with it. Only publicly traded companies have to disclose their financial statements."

Of the thousands receiving subsidies CBC News was able to identify 213 corporations only because they are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Those companies indicated receiving CEWS payments in their public filings.

"Even with their financial statements, it is impossible for outside accountants to determine how many workers the subsidies have helped," CBC writes while also saying the Trudeau government has been completely uncooperative in supplying detailed information.

According to the government's official figures, which do not identify the companies, a total of 380 companies received more than $5 million each in CEWS assistance, while close to 3,500 businesses have received between $1 million and $5 million. The largest CEWS beneficiary of those publicly reporting their finances is Air Canada, which reported $492 million in wage subsidies so far. Imperial Oil is second on the list at $120 million. Global auto parts maker Linamar was third at $108.06 million. The top 20 publicly traded recipients of CEWS money identified by CBC News have so far received a total of $1.693 billion in government assistance. Of the company recipients identified, 32 received more than $20 million each.

Fifty-three corporations received more than $10 million each from the CEWS program. Those 53 companies at the same time, "collectively dished out nearly $2 billion to shareholders between April and September." At least seven of those companies during the summer also bought back stock shares to boost their share price while others handed out stock options to executives.

Thirteen of the identified companies receiving subsidies increased their year-to-date net income during the pandemic when compared to 2019. Those 13 include Leon's, which received $32 million from the CEWS program and Extendicare, which pocketed $82.2 million. Extendicare is one of the largest private for-profit long-term and home care operators in Canada with over 23,000 workers. Extendicare Inc. along with another private long-term care company, Sienna Senior Living Inc., has received more than $157 million in federal and provincial COVID-19 pay-the-rich money. During the same time they received this public handout, they transferred a combined total of $74 million in dividends to their shareholders. "Meanwhile," CBC reports, "more than 480 residents and staff have died of COVID-19 at the companies' care homes in Ontario."

Another corporation given $29.4 million in CEWS money is janitorial company GDI with over 20,000 workers throughout Canada and the United States. The company reportedly is "thriving amid increased demand for cleaning services," CBC reports. The company's gross income has risen over 10 per cent during the pandemic with a "record income quarter" during July, August and September of 2020. GDI reported a net income up more than 300 per cent compared to last year and a stock price "hitting an all-time high." Despite all this "good news" the government gave it almost $30 million "to help pay its employees' wages."

Billions of dollars from the government's pandemic aid package is going to corporations whose profits are up, despite the overall economic downturn and collapse of thousands of small companies and massive unemployment and social problems. The CEWS program will pay out over $100 billion by the time it wraps up next year. The government says it is meant to help businesses struggling to keep employees on their payroll but refuses to give details as to the specific companies and the number of workers involved. CBC says the Canada Revenue Agency, which administers CEWS, will still not release the names of program recipients or any other details, and that Federal Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier and Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland refuse to respond to questions about the program.

Under the guise of helping working people keep their jobs and preventing small businesses from going under, the government has rolled out billions of dollars in pay-the-rich schemes while keeping the details secret. The corruption of the governments in Canada is beyond the pale; they engage in these practices despite broad demands to provide for the people. The global oligarchs and their private interests command the show and governments do their bidding. The monopoly media ensures the people do not hear of the resistance, but only the infighting of the rich over who controls the state institutions and how the spoils are divvied up.

Only the working people mobilized politically can put a stop to this corruption before it destroys Canada and the entire world in unending crises and war.

(CBC News. Photos: TML, Edmonton Climate Justice)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 49 - December 19, 2020

Article Link:
Government Corruption Beyond the Pale


Website:   Email: