Saint John — After the federal government wrote off the remainder of two multimillion-dollar loans given to Irving-owned Atlantic Wallboard, other subsidiaries of the billionaire family are asking for more handouts — but just until they can get back on their feet.
Irving spokesperson Mary Keith said that when other Irving-owned enterprises got wind of the taxpayer-funded philanthropy, they understandably wanted in too.
“The Circle K stores aren’t doing as well as you might think — beef jerky and Ruffles sales are down, and we’ve had to resort to scrounging for bruised bananas out of the dumpsters at Superstore…we’re not sure how to recoup the losses except by another ACOA loan that we’ll definitely pay back this time,” she said. “How does, I don’t know…$5 million sound?
“You know we’re totally good for it. You kind of owe us this, if you think about it. If you guys were in a bind we’d help you out, too. No questions asked.”
Saint John man Arnie Hines said he recently witnessed some Irving employees “hooking” outside the oil refinery late at night. “I think that’s what they were doing, anyway,” he told us. “Mighta been just on a smoke break but to me it looked like solicitation. Either way I think they’re harder up than they let on. It wouldn’t kill us to lend a hand and a dollar.”
JDI, Limited is asking for a measly $10 million loan to, in Keith’s words, “help pay for glyphosate spraying — that shit’s more expensive than you’d think.”
“We might not pay you back in full, or in money per se, but maybe like, in-kind favours when we get around to it. What if we gave you a few thousand baby softwood trees to plant? Not right away of course, but sometime? Or we can just buy you a beer next month?”
ACOA is meant to fund entrepreneurs in the Maritimes.
“What are we if not entrepreneurs?” asked Keith. “Without us there would be no New Brunswick. It would just be a vast landscape of old-growth forests and clean rivers and tight-knit communities standing in the way of economic prosperity.
“But speaking of prosperity, you guys look like you’re doing pretty well to me,” Keith said, referring to New Brunswick. “Surely, like…$8 million or so wouldn’t set you back too much?”
ACOA, for its part, said that they just feel guilty when it comes to the Irvings.
“One time Jamie Irving helped me move,” said loan officer Greg Gibbons. “It was a really nice weekend and he didn’t have to do it. And when my useless nephew needed a job they hired him as a reporter at the Telegraph-Journal, no interview or anything. So yeah, I think forgiving a loan or two is just the right thing to do — sue me.”