Explain This Stiff

A public committee on Prince Edward Island would like to ask the province’s minister of the Department of Tourism a few questions regarding a failed concert last fall, if she could find time in her busy schedule.

Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty has reportedly been asked by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to discuss why her department lost $400,000 on an Alanis Morissette concert in September.

But according to committee chair Jim Bagnall, Docherty’s schedule is completely booked through March, the Guardian reported.

“She is too busy as a minister in January, February and not available until March 25,” Bagnall said. “I just know that when I was minister I had two departments and I would never be booked three months in advance, every single day, and I would always have time available that I could move.”

The tourism department apparently loaned the promoter of the show $400,000 to pay upfront costs for the concert without requiring any personal guarantees or going through the proper channels, the Guardian said.

When sales proved slow and the promoter backed out, the department carried on with the show, which was expected to draw 10,000, according to CBC News, but instead brought in roughly 3,000 concertgoers.

Bagnall told the Guardian he hopes the committee will uncover why the loan was granted without a personal guarantee from the promoter.

“To me, that’s unacceptable,” he said.

Following the concert mishap, the province instated a new concert policy limiting its investment in concerts to $200,000 per year for shows expected to draw at least 40 percent tourists, with targeted ticket sales of at least 10,000.