Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cheap Shot...

Pretty cheap shot here... if anybody would have checked they would have found that Brooke MacMillan is a tireless supporter of local businesses and people…. hundreds if not thousands of Islanders (including myself) have taken advantage of saving many thousands of dollars by buying cars in the US. In this case Mr. MacMillan went a step further and brokered it through a local company, which he should be commended for. It’s Mr. MacMillan's money not the taxpayers and he alone has every right to spend it as he seems fit particularly when the local dealer couldn't even come close to matching the price. In fact the local Toyota dealer in Charlottetown is currently constructing a new building using a Nova Scotia contractor which some small minded people may think amounts to the same thing but I don't see the PEI Automobile Dealers Association commenting on that. If there is any finger pointing here it should be squarely from the dealers pointing to their manufacturers to stop "screwing" the Canadian consumer and offer us competitive pricing. If Mr. Delong and the "anonymous" dealer looked around their own car lots they would see a lot of their cars are not manufactured here in Canada but I'm sure they would be willing to take your money for any that are built in the US and in spite of what they think that’s all there is to this story... Yes it great to buy locally and most of us try when we have the opportunity but is it really news or just a "cheap shot" at the Ghiz Government at the personal expense of someone else and by the way you roving reporters, since when is a car dealership "an Island industry"?
Deputy minister defends buying new USA truck though Island car lot
By Paul MacNeill
The Eastern Graphic
Brooke MacMillan, the provincial deputy minister charged with growing the Island’s economy, says he did nothing wrong by buying a new $43,000 truck that was shipped from the United States and formally purchased through a small used car lot that is not even listed in the Island telephone directory. That, however, is not how critics of the purchase see it. They believe the deputy minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning failed to support an Island industry that has struggled in the past year with reduced profit margins and increased costs. “It’s a kick in the teeth,” said one Island dealer who wished to remain anonymous. He accuses the deputy of a double standard. “He wants to invest in PEI, but says I’m going to take my business and go stateside.” It’s a contention Mr MacMillan says is wrong. “At the end of the day it’s bought locally.” A bill of sale for the purchase, dated February 7, 2008, shows Mr MacMillan paid Plus Autos Inc., of Charlottetown $42,455 plus $2,547 GST for a total purchase price of $45,003. The document, supplied to The Graphic by the deputy, lists Mr MacMillan and a personal company he is a shareholder in as the purchaser. As deputy minister Mr MacMillan receives a monthly $800 taxpayer supplied vehicle allowance. The Plus Autos website lists five vehicles for sale, none newer than 2003. A phone number for the company connects to the voice mail of Andy Lamb, a Charlottetown financial consultant. Mr Lamb could not be reached for comment. There is a question as to whether the 2008 Toyota Highlander should have been allowed across the border. Franchise agreements preclude dealers from selling a new car into another country, says Robert Delong, president of the PEI Automobile Dealers Association, which represents new car dealers on the Island. “He would have had to find a dealer willing to do it. Under their own franchise law (USA) they are not supposed to do it. A new vehicle through a used car dealer on PEI? There is more to this than I have got the story so far. It doesn’t sound right,” he said. “I’ve known Andy for years,” Mr MacMillan said in explaining his decision to purchase through Plus Autos. To his knowledge no rules were broken. For a short period of time, Canadians were able to save thousands of dollars by buying new cars in the United States. That benefit has evaporated in the last number of months as manufacturers drop prices and increase incentives. There are now numerous makes of vehicles that are cheaper in Canada. Mr MacMillan believes the issue is politically motivated. He points out he has supported local new car dealerships in the past including Toyota and Honda. “You see it, I saw it. It’s my bill of sale. It’s a small minded issue. When you go off the Island gosh I hope you don’t buy a coat. Everybody has choices,” he said. “You have to realize where others are coming from. I just think this is blown out of proportion. It’s really too bad that it has come to this crossroads. Most business people that I deal with on a day-to-day basis recognize my efforts.” Paul Trainor, president of PEI Directory which represents 880 small businesses on the Island, says the optics of the deal are troublesome. “The danger is the message that is being sent out; you can save a dollar here or a nickle there by bypassing the local people. The slogan for their (Liberal government) campaign last year was ‘Putting Islanders First.’ That is clearly not the perception here.” Erin Mitchell, director of Communications for Premier Robert Ghiz, says the Premier believes this was a private purchase and Mr MacMillan is free to spend his salary as he sees fit, as is the case with any government employee.


Anonymous said...

Im getting sick of the PEI political system....

This is just some bitter Tory looking to take a cheapshot at a Liberal. I see it too often.

Anonymous said...

I think that the crux of the issue is that Mr. MacMillan is, at the very least indirectly, involved in spurring economic development in PEI. One would have to be blind not to see that the 'optics' of this are not good. Support of a local dealership would have been in good judgement particularly considering his position.

Mr. Macmillan, it is reported, is in receipt of a monthly stipend of $800 car allowance, which is paid by the tax payers of PEI, in addition to, what i suspect is a healthy (although probably not entirely unfair) salary, so indeed it is a kick in the teeth. Not to mention the avoidance of PST.....

I dont think anybody really thinks he or others should pay more to buy locally, however one has to admit it was poor judgement on his part. By way of analogy, i would assume that he has issue with the availabilty of 'cheap' prescription medication available via the internet, versus supporting his local business interest. No?

As for Mr. Banks & other "big" local businessmen buying off island, do not think that it does not add to the little guys poor perception of them, when they expect, & reap from, the local support, then smugly defend spreading that wealth elsewhere.

I would have to think that a business on the Island, that employs people from the island, & serves local people, contributes to the local economy, supports local charities, hospitals, sports teams & venues, & yes, even political parties,...even by the thinnest of definitions is an Island business.

Indeed everyone is entitled to spend their money as they wish, but pleeeaaze Mr. Banks, do not insult our intelligence by suggesting that the benefits of everyone supporting each other here on PEI, far outweigh the alternative.
I assume you are familiar with the concept of scratching each others back.