Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s immigration scandal

Another of many balls we can roll with to make Rodney look bad. Not that he needs our help…

In case you haven’t heard about it, linked is today’s story from the Chronicle-Herald.

The province established the economic stream in 2002, when it signed an untendered contract with Cornwallis Financial Corp. to administer it.

Immigrants paid $130,500 in fees to be fast-tracked into Canada. The biggest chunk of the fee, $100,000, was for a six-month mentorship in a middle-management position at a Nova Scotia business. The immigrant was to receive at least $20,000.

Mr. Lapointe found those mentorships were rife with problems.

First, he found a third of nominee application approvals he looked at — 17 of 51 — didn’t meet the program criteria, such as the ability to speak basic English.

The report also said 24 of 41 businesses tested shouldn’t have been approved as mentors or receive money.

The report said there were examples of immigrants not working at all for the mentor companies, but the companies getting paid, anyway.

In one case, a man who owned two companies — and arranged for nominee to work at both — received payments, though neither nominee worked for him. Mr. Lapointe referred that file to the RCMP.

Just who is Cornwallis? I leave the investigation to Brian Flinn

Cornwallis Financial Corp. and its president, Stephen Lockyer were among the largest donors to Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservative party in the years it ran the province’s immigration program. From 2001 to 2006, Lockyer and his company donated a total of $15,057.49 to the governing party, which handed it an exclusive, untendered contract to administer the key file.

The contributions started with a trickle in 2001, when Lockyer gave the party $100. Donations picked up the next year. In 2002, combined contributions from Cornwallis and Lockyer totalled $1,100.78. The province hired Cornwallis in December of that year. In 2003, donations from Cornwallis and its president reached $3,866.62. The cheques climbed to $4,782.82 in 2004.

Contributions to the Tories peaked at $5,207.27 in 2005. That year, the Cornwallis contract became public in a Daily News investigation, and the province initiated an independent review of immigration fees.

I’m very curious about the political affiliations of the 24 businesses that shouldn’t have been approved as mentors, but were. What a boondoggle.

Phase 2 of the Auditor General’s Report. Well worth a read. Cornwallis made out like bandits. Or perhaps like road contractors, in the days before John Savage tried to clean province house.


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