Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough and her bureaucrats at Public Services and Procurement Canada will often claim that the various purchases the department makes using your tax dollars are “fair, open and transparent.”
It’s the mantra at Public Services.
There are ongoing questions whether the procurements are actually fair. And the “open and transparent” part is open to question.
Take for instance my latest article where I report how taxpayers – like you – are on the hook for potentially tens of millions of dollars after federal bureaucrats bungled the purchase of trucks for the Canadian Forces.
Public Services and Procurement Canada now must make good on the lost profits for a U.S. firm who complained that the process was unfair and had its complaint backed up by a trade tribunal.
Public Services and Procurement Canada, which oversaw the flawed defence procurement, declined to provide details on just how much the penalties will cost the public.
Defence industry representatives, however, say the penalty being paid to the U.S. company, Oshkosh, could be as high as $60 million as it has to account for lost profit on the $834-million truck contract as well as other expenses the firm incurred.
My article published Sunday night noted that the department declined to provide details, claiming that the payout is confidential. It did not explain why the penalties that taxpayers must shoulder should be considered secret.
On Monday I asked Public Services and Procurement Canada the following: “I would like a detailed description on why taxpayers who paid the penalty to Oshkosh for the SMP truck deal are not allowed details about how much they had to pay?”
The answer? Public Services and Procurement Canada wouldn’t provide one.
Alan Williams, the former DND head of procurement who also worked for a time at Public Works, noted that the figure should be made available to taxpayers. “I believe that it has to appear in the Public Accounts,” he explained. “It may be combined with other such legal obligations making it harder to identify by itself.”