BDC Fact #1
According to an Act of Parliament passed in 1995, the Business Development Bank of Canada (“BDC”) is to provide financing that is “Complementary to commercial financial institutions” whereby “the loans, investments and guarantees are to fill out or complete services available from commercial financial institutions.”
BDC does not, however, believe that competing with the private sector on individual deals is at odds with the concept of playing a “complementary role”.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “complementary” is defined as:
• adjective 1 combining so as to form a complete whole or to enhance each other. 2 relating to complementary medicine.
No mention of “competing” being a subset of the “complementary” definition in Oxford .
When caught competing with the private sector, the BDC will take the view that they complement the private sector on a “global basis”, even if they compete on individual transactions. For some reason, they take the view that competing with the private sector doesn’t breach the Act passed by Parliament, as long as BDC complements it on a “global basis”.
The notion that one can operate within an Act of Parliament on a “global basis”, yet be in breach of it from time to time, seems no different than the excuse a speeder might give to a police officer:
“I usually drive within the speed limit and I intend to do so, therefore you can’t give me a ticket the one or two times a week I get caught speeding. I’m complying with the law on a ‘global basis’, even if you’ve caught me breaking it just now.”
Try that line the next time you’re pulled over, and let me know how it goes.