Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Accountability ... Harper Style - Part XVI

From Canada's Auditor General:

The price tag for two types of military helicopters has doubled to $11-billion because the Department of Defence low-balled estimates when seeking approval even when it knew that planned design changes would hike costs, Ms. Fraser’s office reported Tuesday.

She also faulted Defence and Public Works for sole-sourcing the Chinook helicopter without properly justifying a decision to skirt a normal competitive process. “What we found in the audit is troubling,” Ms. Fraser said in her report.

Why am I not surprised?

Those processes for competitive bids exist for good reasons - and it's not just about "getting the lowest price". Single source purchases typically mean a very cozy relationship between purchaser and vendor. In the case of government purchases, that also means that the public accountability is less than ideal.

That the HarperCon$ are so eager to jump into single source, non-competitive bid contracts with military suppliers means that not only are the costs going to be higher for Canadians, but we have very little reassurance that Canadian tax dollars are being used to maximize value in making these investments.

I would hope that no one is assessing that as low risk,” the Auditor-General said of the F-35 project as she answered questions on her fall report that sharply criticized Defence purchasing.

The whole business really makes me wonder just whose pockets are being lined by discrete envelopes of untraceable cash?

No comments: