Government as entrepreneur

Saunders-45X64.JPGPosted by Alec Saunders
Blazoned across the front page of the local rag, the Ottawa Citizen, this morning’s headline read Billion-dollar business fund overlooks city tech firms. It seems the Ontario Government yesterday announced a $263-million grant to establish a Toronto-based studio for French video game giant Ubisoft. The funds are coming from the $1.15-billion Next Generation of Jobs fund, announced in March 2008, which has so far exclusively invested in the Southern Ontario cities of Toronto, Waterloo, and Windsor, overlooking the more than 1,800 companies in Ottawa’s tech sector.
Never mind that Ubisoft has more than $100-million in profits annually, or that the $263-million spent creates just 800 jobs over the next decade at a cost of $330,000 per job (after all, that’s cheap compared to the auto bailout), or that Dalton McGuinty’s government will run an $18-billion dollar deficit this year. No, what really galls is the statement in May by then economic development minister Michael Bryant that “This is government picking winners and losers, government as entrepreneur.”
There is no element of risk in spending the taxpayers money. Taxing struggling families to fund profitable multi-national corporations is closer to the centrally run economies of the Soviet Union than entrepreneurship.
Government as entrepreneur. It’s enough to make you weep. Click here to read more of Alec's post.

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