Both Liberals and Tories made exceptions under PNP
Exceptions were made to the rules by both Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments to allow companies access to immigrant investor money.
In his annual report, Auditor General Colin Younker, while looking at a sample of only five per cent of transactions, found the Liberal government approved five ineligible companies for immigrant investor money. He also discovered similar decisions were made when the Tories were in power.
Only certain kinds of businesses were eligible for money under the provincial nominee program. While both parties expanded the criteria after the program started in 2001, both also approved companies even though they didn't meet the criteria set out on government's website.
Companies approved by the Liberals included two non-profit groups and a physiotherapy clinic.
Innovation Minister Allan Campbell told CBC News Wednesday the deputy minister at the time, Brooke MacMillan, made those exceptions. Campbell said he's looked into all of the transactions and believes each decision had a good rationale.
"I guess that's the nature of subjective decision making. And it's the nature of programs too, is that sometimes changes are made," he said.
"Unfortunately, I guess, when changes happen, or with any program irregardless of changes, you have winners and losers basically, and that's unfortunate."
The auditor general found exceptions for seven companies made under the Tories, despite concerns raised by staff and the deputy minister of the time about eligibility. Younker would only say a "senior government official" made the call on those files.
MLA Mike Currie was the minister of the department at the time. He said he doesn't remember who that was.
"I can't remember all the files that were done. There were over a thousand done over seven years, so certainly I can't remember," he said.
Currie said he would talk the auditor general and get back to CBC News with the answer.