Radio-Canada refuses to make public the documents showing the sale of his vast terrain of the boulevard René-Lévesque to a promoter, which is preparing to collect a significant profit.
In 2017, the Group Mach, Vincent Chiara, has bought the round brown of the federal corporation, the large studios that surround it and the parking lot located to the south-west of the site for$ 42 Million.
If he is ready today to sell the quarter for$ 114 Million, as was revealed in our investigation Office on Wednesday.
Under the Law on access to information, we have requested documents that the public broadcaster has on the transaction and ” the evaluation of the land Radio-Canada “.
However, the federal corporation has failed to transmit a document commissioned to the firm Brookfield Financial, which would be$ 10 Million cost of the clean-up on the field.
The public relations director of Radio-Canada, Marc Pichette, revealed however the existence of this report in an e-mail to our Bureau of investigation last January.
In may, the public broadcaster has sent it to our Bureau of investigation documents so heavily censored that they do not give any indication on why he chose the offer of Mach for his site, in addition to the price.
They have been produced by the firms in Brookfield and Avison Young (AY) at the request of Radio-Canada.
In we passing, the federal company has hidden the name of all bidders, except the winner Mach. It has also obliterated any other information on the bids received.
For example, a document Brookfield seems to submit comments on the various proposals. Erased.
It is therefore Impossible to know the strong points and the weak points of other developers and to know what played in favour of Mach, in addition to the price.
In addition, the copy of the document is a definition so low that several pages are illegible, even in the rare passages that Radio-Canada has not hidden.
Information “confidential” ?
To justify the redaction of the documents, the public broadcaster relies on a section of the act that allows it to withhold information if disclosure would risk undermining the “economic interests of Canada” or disclose ” trade secrets of a third party “.
These arguments go bump in the experts in media law consulted.
“Is this what it is in the interest of the public to see these documents to determine if, yes or not, they have sold at a fair price ? Yes, I think so ! ” said Mark Banteay, the firm Gowling WLG.
The attitude of Radio-Canada is not surprising, said Pierre Trudel, a professor of information law at the University of Montreal.
“It is very classic, we see it frequently, he says. It reflects the very restrictive Law on access to federal information. “
According to him, Radio-Canada would have any interest to build on the transparency.
“In appearance, a refusal to make public these documents then suggest that the land has been sold at too low a price relative to the market, given what happened afterwards,” said Pierre Trudel.
He noted that the federal company relies on its economic interest to withhold the information, even if the transaction on the ground has taken place it has been three years.
No comments in Ottawa
The government had nothing to say about it.
“CBC/Radio-Canada is an independent Crown corporation and is responsible for operations of internal and external management, and that is why we are not commenting on their move, or processes related to the sale of the land,” writes the press attaché to the minister for Heritage Steven Guilbeault, Camille Gagné-Raynauld.
WHAT RADIO-CANADA REFUSES TO SHOW
We have circled in red the passages that are completely heavily censored in white.
► A detailed analysis of the four bids considered to be the most interesting, as well as the price offered by the bidders.
► The ratings assigned to the four best proposals.
► The arguments that argued the Group Mach to win the tender. The content of the 12 pages that detail the winning proposal is fully caviardé in white.
– Sarah Daoust-Braun and Guillaume St-Pierre
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