Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Crony Capitalism and Hamm

Here is a case of crony capitalism, State capitalism by any other name. Neo-liberal state capitalism Conservative style.

Senior bureaucrats say the final decision about a controversial $350,000 loan to a struggling amusement park was made at the cabinet table. Andy Hare, director of lending and special projects for the Office of Economic Development, sent briefing notes about the precarious business situation at Magic Valley to then premier John Hamm, then tourism minister Rodney MacDonald, and then economic development minister Ernie Fage. "Magic Valley was struggling. I wanted some kind of direction," Hare told an all-party committee investigating the loan Monday. The 30-year-old amusement park outside New Glasglow is owned by Bill MacNeil, who worked on Hamm's 1998 and 1999 campaigns. It has been losing visitors since Highway 104 was twinned and newer theme parks opened in Moncton and Upper Clements.

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