Friday, January 11, 2008

Ontario Cash to Quebec Firm - Competing with Ottawa Business

Thanks to a CBC Radio reporter's call and interview with a heads-up, here is an article in the Ottawa Business Journal about a $2 million subsidy from the Ontario government for a Quebec firm to build a water park in the Ottawa area. The Quebec company will end up competing with an existing business in Ottawa using money from all levels of government with a questionable business plan.

Mr. Guy Drouin, the company's CEO, says the park will generate 12,000 visitors per day. Hmmmmm.....a quick check of the IAAPA site (Intenational Assocations of Amusement Parks and Attractions) shows that the average site generates just over 1,000 visits per day and the larger facilities at 1,700 per day. This makes 12,000 a day seem exaggerated.

Thanks to The Gazette we learn that the feds have been approached to pony up a few million as well. Of course, this is on top of the amount of subsidy being provided by the City of Ottawa to provide access services to the location on top of the cut-rate value of the property the city sold.

It appears that all levels of government are working together here to use taxpayer money to subsidize a business to compete with a successful incumbent in the area. This is corporate welfare of the worst kind.

When will governments learn it is not their job to pick winners and losers in industry? That is the job of the consumer.

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