B.C. tasks auditor general, comptroller general with CleanBC grant review after questions arise

B.C. tasks auditor general, comptroller general with CleanBC grant review after questions arise
The B.C. Legislature is shown in Feb. 23, 2023 file photo.

The B.C. government has asked the auditor general and comptroller general to review the CleanBC grant process after questions arose about the company that administers the grants.

Late last week, a company alleged that MNP, which administers two CleanBC grants, was giving preference to organizations who paid MNP to help craft their grant application.

Edison Motors, based in Merritt B.C., posted a TikTok video where the founder and CEO said the company had applied for a number of grants from the B.C. government but had never received any.

After the company had applied for, and was denied, a Commercial Vehicle Innovation Challenge grant, Edison Motors was invited to a meeting with MNP to discuss why.

“Of course we reached out,” Chace Barber, the founder and CEO said in the TikTok.

“Doug, the guy on our team reached out to say yes, we would like to talk about it. And then Catrina (the person from the grant who offered the meeting) reached back, but this is where it got interesting. The Commercial Vehicle Innovation Challenge was care of MNP, and where the email had been @arc.bc.ca, now the email had been @mnp.”

“This was suspicious to us because we remembered that MNP was the company that reached out to us before to ask to write grants for us. And I remember telling them, ‘No, sorry, we can’t afford you. You’re way too expensive, that’s not even close to within our budget to be able to apply for these grants.'”

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@_edison.motors Statment to the corruption scanal #edisonmotors #bc #ev #electricsemi #bc #ndp #goverment #carbontax #truckers #politics ♬ original sound – Edison Motors

BC United, BC Green and BC Conservative MLAs asked the B.C. government last week to conduct a probe into this issue, a motion which was defeated by the BC NDP MLAs.

This week, Josie Osborne, minister of energy, mines, and low carbon innovation, says she received new information over the weekend which resulted in the choice to ask the auditor general to conduct the review of the CleanBC grant process. Osborne declined to share what the new information was.

MNP shared a statement says the allegations are “false and misleading.”

“MNP’s policies and procedures prohibit team members from providing grant writing services for the programs we administer. Our program administration work on behalf of CleanBC is no different,” the statement says.

“MNP is committed to full transparency and accountability for every public program we administer, and we welcome a government-initiated program review.”

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Osborne says while the review is underway, MNP will be suspended from administering government grants.

“Grant programs have to be fair for all applicants and they have to give the public confidence that the interests of people are being met,” Osborne said.

“This weekend, we received new information that’s raised further questions and as a result, we are asking the Auditor General to undertake a review of MNPs involvement in commercial vehicle grants. I’m also directing the Comptroller General to undertake a review to ensure fairness for everyone.”

The auditor general is an independent organization that conducts audits into government activity, including performance audits to ensure organizations are completing objectives effectively, economically and efficiently.

The comptroller general ensures the overall quality and integrity of the government’s financial management and control systems.

READ PREVIOUS FROM 2018: B.C.’s long-term climate plan includes tax breaks for home retrofitting and zero-emission vehicles

-With files from CHEK’s Rob Shaw

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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