Well, Alberta. We have our own little Solyndra right here in the capital city!
Solyndra is the now defunct American solar panel company that received $535 million in taxpayer funds from the Obama administration before going bankrupt. But Solyndra style failures are not exclusive to the United States.
The City of Edmonton, under former mayor Stephen Mandel, invested over $9 million in Grey's Recycling. Grey's uses an exclusive, albeit clearly unprofitable, technology to turn post-consumer waste into paper.
The City of Edmonton owns the assets of Grey's Recycling. After a summer, a fall and now a winter of losing money and then filing for protection from creditors, Grey's Recycling is bankrupt. Subsequently, the City of Edmonton is stuck with a building and equipment for a technology no-one knows how to use. In fact, one wonders if Grey's Recycling even knew how to use the equipment. The main complaint is that their paper is just a bad product. Imagine that.
Just who exactly is running the show at Grey's? In part, it is former Mayor Stephen Mandel; the man who okayed the initial investment in Grey's. Mandel became chairman of Grey's Corporation. It is the American arm of the city subsidized company looking to sell technology developed here in Edmonton into the US market. The former mayor’s future employer received a $9 million investment with someone else's money. It must be nice to have such a soft place to land when you fail at provincial politics. Mandel lost his seat as a PC MLA in the last Alberta election.
There is an easy solution to all of this. Governments, as Ralph Klein said, need to get out of the business of being in business.