I promised a long time ago that I’d eventually publish an article on Neil Stewart, the “fixer” and “cleaner” for the infamous Insider Club perpetuating coverups and corruption for years within the PEI Government. Unfortunately there are more pressing research needs so that is not likely to be finished and published until after Christmas.
As you can imagine, I was gobsmacked that Premier King kept Neil Stewart onboard after the election. I wrote about how the Premier had replaced Neil Stewart as Deputy Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture with Erin McGrath-Gaudet, and also removed Stewart’s name from the PEI employee database, creating the strong impression that he was “gone, gone, gone” (as Chilliwack would say…or sing). Meanwhile, King secretly installed him as the head of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation.
A section of that article [Episode #4 in the series “All the King’s Horses…“] published last February 29, 2020, was “predictive” in nature. Given Green MLA Hannah Bell’s contribution to Question Period today asking about Neil Stewart and CADC, it appears those concerns I expressed last February may have merit. I’m reposting it here, then the video clip of Bell’s question and Minister Natalie Jameson’s non-response, then the document she tabled from the FOIPP request the Green Party submitted, and that’s it – no “mini-book,” so relax and carry on:
Why Appoint Neil Stewart to a Powerful New Senior Position?
Nothing says, “I’m not really running government” more than appointing Neil Stewart to one of the most powerful senior positions in government. And somewhat sneakily – he was replaced as deputy minister of finance after the King Government came into power with no mention of a new job; then we hear of him working on the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation (CADC) but under Hon. James Aylward, the Health Minister.
Then with no public announcement, Stewart’s name suddenly shows up in the PEI Government Employee Database as the Senior Director responsible for the CADC under Hon. Matthew Mackay’s Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture, Neil’s old stomping grounds.
Neil Stewart was the name repeatedly mentioned in the Legislative Assembly by the PCs as someone who should not be allowed to – as MacEwen stated in the above video clip [ you can view it here] – “show up for work the next day.”
I’m a firm believer that we all make mistakes, and we all should be given the benefit of the doubt, and whenever possible, given a second chance. That’s not what’s going on here, so stop thinking anyone made any “mistakes”.
Neil Stewart has been the “fixer” controlling the money levers within the PEI Government for many years. He keeps doing exactly the same things he’s been doing for a very long time, and despite countless – and I do mean COUNTLESS incidents of illegal actions, unauthorized decision-making, and constant maneuvering to avoid the scrutiny of his supervisors, certain political authorities, the public, etc. – there has always been a powerful, supportive, but relatively small network of businesspeople, PEI Government bureaucrats, lawyers, accountants, long-time PC and Liberal Party core members, and politicians who have all benefitted massively from Neil Stewart’s “mistakes”.
That’s why with every new scandalous slew of secret, unauthorized actions by Neil Stewart behind shady and illegal deals he has succeeded in making happen without consequence there are beneficiaries – one of whom is Neil Stewart.
My next article will also examine some of the “protections” Stewart has received to coverup his instrumental involvement in those shady deals, as much as possible, all to protect those privileged beneficiaries and avoid scrutiny in the ensuing public scandals.
Both the Conservative (Binns) and Liberal (Ghiz, MacLauchlan) Governments protected Stewart by: (1) refusing to allow Stewart to appear before public accounts for questioning about his actions by defeating PC Motions calling him as a witness; and (2) affirming his credibility and rewarding Stewart with career promotions, giving even more access and power to him to manage even larger pools of taxpayer funds.
No, we are not talking about a few “mistakes”. We looking at the entrails of a very corrupt strategy that has borne nothing but benefits for both Neil Stewart and his network of behind-the-scenes “bosses”: there have been no ill consequences for Neil Stewart whatsoever that I’m aware of at least.
With no deterrent for Stewart to stop doing what he’s been doing quite successfully for 20 years – especially now that Premier King has acquiesced to the “network” and has given Stewart back a position with power, access to funds, and the ability to orchestrate and direct more “big deals” – it’s just more of the same for him and the network, picking up on the files from the MacLauchlan days. I expect it’s only a matter of time before the next big PEI scandal happens with Stewart’s fingerprints all over the launch button.
Stewart’s long, consistent history of continuous, illegal and very serious violations are documentable, will be outlined in my next article, and all betray the same illicit purposes:
(1) to keep secret what should not be kept secret;
(2) to make major decisions that circumvent legal requirements in various provincial laws, regulations, directions, and policies, including the Financial Administration Act, and
(3) to make major decisions without first obtaining the required “authorization” to do so, decisions likely to cost taxpayers, but bring windfalls to a select few to whom Neil Stewart – who had the duty to protect the public interest as a public servant, and the obligation to act ethically as a Chartered Professional Accountant – should never have loaned our money.
With the recent appointment of Neil Stewart to the CADC, you can be sure the deals are continuing to be brewed up by the same movers and shakers wringing hands and filing legal documents, incorporating new numbered companies (but through a lawyer federally, so the shareholders can still be hidden) all secretly behind closed doors while at one and the same time planting new business scheme seeds in Stewart’s brain directing him on what he should do when he gets to work the next day.
Here is the clip of Hannah Bell’s question in the House today:
Here’s the document Bell tabled in the Legislative Assembly today (November 18, 2020):
What are those CADC projects? Who approved them? Who benefited from them? Who never heard about them or had a chance to participate and/or bid on them?
Will Minister Natalie Jameson really bring back answers and insightful information as promised? Will Neil Stewart ever be asked to leave government or answer for all the laws he has broken over and over again through the years with multiple scandals? (Ocean Choice; PNP; E-gaming)? So many questions!
I’m looking forward to the answers.