NEWS

Liberals won't release details of MaRS office tower deal

10/15/2014 09:22 EDT | Updated 12/15/2014 05:59 EST
The Ontario Liberal government is refusing to make public its justification for a taxpayer-funded loan of more than $200 million dollars that went toward a money-losing office tower in downtown Toronto.

CBC News asked to see the business case for the province's loan to the charity MaRS to build the office tower.

MaRS is a privately-run charity that helps medical research and high-tech firms get products to the marketplace.

Infrastructure Ontario loaned MaRS $224 million tax dollars back in 2011 to build the office tower on College Street. That loan is now in default, the tower is mostly empty and taxpayers are on the hook for monthly interest payments of $450,000.

Yesterday opposition members at Queen's Park pushed to have financial details about the deal made public. They were rebuffed by the governing Liberals. Infrastructure Ontario officials denied CBC's request for more information about the deal, saying the information would compromise the integrity of the loan process.

"Infrastructure Ontario has a very rigorous process in terms of their work and the due diligence that they do before they extend these loans," said Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid. "I'll continue to do my best to share information with you as best I can," he said.  

Progressive Conservative MPP Randy Hillier said the Liberals owe it to taxpayers to release details about the deal.

"They believe in openness and transparency .... at the right time," he said.

The PCs also asked to see the business case for the loan during a committee hearing yesterday, but the Liberals used their majority to vote no.

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