Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, Mr. Vincent.
As I mentioned in our previous discussion, I looked at your biography, which dates from 2009. It says that your organization provides financing under commercial conditions to start or expand businesses that are under majority aboriginal control. I imagine that is still the case today.
I studied commercial law in law school. So I can decipher and read a share-capital document. But it does require some special training, which is why most of my constituents are not able to look at the breakdown for any given company.
In my constituency, one of the key aspects of my mandate for the past four years has been the requirement to deal with white-collar crime. We have to call it for what it is. Because of the Plan Nord and the economic boom, a number of companies have been started in my riding in the last four years. The truth is that they are fraudulent; they are shell companies. They use aboriginal people for tax purposes, for income tax. You are aware of the specific rules that apply to an entity that claims aboriginal status.
Some turnkey companies have appeared in the Manicouagan region. They work mostly in natural resource extraction and construction. I am thinking about the La Romaine project, for example. A number of corporate entities popped up overnight. You just have to glance at their share-capital to realize that the leadership, the steering wheel, is not really in the hands of First Nations communities or individuals.
Another situation was brought to my attention by the economic development officers in Manicouagan. In their view, First Nations' participation is often limited to being given tokens—I am not familiar with the concept—that allows them to attend board of directors meetings and even Montreal Canadiens' games, if you can imagine. That is where their participation ends. When these shell companies no longer need their token Indians, if you will excuse the expression, they simply cast them aside. Then it's game over for the company that claimed to be aboriginal when it started.
Mr. Vincent, what protections does your organization have in place in order to keep that kind of embezzlement, those kinds of shell companies, out of your activities?