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N.B. ignored warnings about Deh Cho Bridge contractor, says report

New Brunswick’s auditor general says the provincial government showed a 'troubling disregard for taxpayers’ money' when it gave the Atcon group of companies loan guarantees, which wound up costing taxpayers $70 million.

'Totally unnecessary' loan guarantees cost N.B. taxpayers millions in Deh Cho bridge repairs

New Brunswick’s auditor general says the province's government showed "a very troubling disregard for taxpayers’ money" when it gave the Atcon group of companies $64.4 million in loan guarantees in 2008 and 2009.

Those decisions cost the province's taxpayers more than $70 million following Atcon’s bankruptcy in 2010, including millions of dollars in repairs on the N.W.T.'s Deh Cho Bridge.

Atcon was the Deh Cho Bridge's general contractor until January 2010, when it was removed from the $182-million megaproject. In October 2010, the New Brunswick government agreed to pay up to $13.3 million to cover some of the repairs required by the company's work. 

In a devastating audit released today, Kim MacPherson called the loss to the province's taxpayers "totally unnecessary."

And she says as long as politicians can overrule civil servants’ advice on financial aid to industry, “I believe a similar situation could happen again.”

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