Liberals Silently Altered Rules to Loan MaRS $224-M

It has been confirmed that the Liberal government unnoticeably changed the rules in 2010 in order to lend $224 million to MaRS for building an ill-fated downtown office tower. The confirmation was given by Infrastructure Minister, Brad Duguid, on Wednesday as he said that the move was necessary to allow Infrastructure Ontario to lend the money in 2011 to the not-for-profit MaRS (Medical and Related Sciences).

Addressing reporters, Duguid explained that “that was a conscious decision we made because the alternative would have been to see phase two collapse,” adding that the commercial lenders would have not wanted to get involved in a project until it was 70 per cent occupied. Whereas, the office tower kitty-corner to Queen’s Park is just under 70 per cent unoccupied and MaRS earlier this year defaulted on the loan, leaving taxpayers holding the bag for the $224 million and another $65 million to buy out the U.S. developer.

The regulation changes were first highlighted during a debate at the legislature estimate committee, when Duguid’s deputy minister, Giles Gherson, unveiled that “it allowed MaRS to become an eligible corporation.” It was added that “there is no question this was a unique circumstance.” Since then the little-known loan has proved embarrassing for the Liberal government, which consistently brags it is open and transparent. NDP MPP Percy Hatfield (Windsor-Tecumseh) mentioned in his remarks that “they want to keep it all private and they don’t want to release any information. And even simple questions they want to stonewall.”

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