According to Wikipedia, corporate welfare is a term used to describe a government’s bestowal of money grants, tax breaks, or other special favourable treatment on corporations or selected corporations, and implies that corporations are much less needy of such treatment than the poor.
It was announced on Thursday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto that the Ontario government was giving Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment a grant of $500,000 in connection to the 2016 NBA All-Star Game that will be hosted in Toronto. Tourism and Sports Minister Michael Chan has indicated that this event will showcase Toronto as the game will be seen in more than 215 countries by more than 200 million viewers. It all sounds good.
The $500,000 check will be written out to a financially successful company that was recently sold for $2.2 billion to telecommunication giants Rogers and Bell. The irony is that most people in Ontario also write checks every month to these same companies.
So the questions we have this morning are:
1) Did the National Basketball League indicate that they would not hold the all-star game in Toronto if the Ontario government did not direct tax payer money to MLSE?
2) What value are taxpayers receiving for this “Celebrate Ontario” grant? How many more tourists will be coming to Toronto because of this grant?
3) How many sports and cultural activities in towns across the province will not receive funding because of this announcement?
The bigger question is whether or not there is a better use of this money in education, health care or even paying down the debt. Corporate welfare for well financed and profitable companies should be stopped. The reality is that the $500,000 will go into MLSE’s bank account as they do not need our money. The grant will have zero impact on the all-star weekend.
This is an outrageous waste of taxpayer’s money and the Ontario Liberals deserve a technical foul.