Discover more from Resuming Debate
Cronyism in the Trudeau Liberal government
Plus Remembrance Week, and hot chocolate at Auburn Bay Parade of Lights in late November
Welcome back to Resuming Debate. As many of you know, I am not fond of how the Trudeau Liberals spend and how they steward the resources provided to them by Canada’s taxpayers. On numerous occasions, I’ve gone to war with the bureaucracy on behalf of constituents. Whether through tough questioning of witnesses at parliamentary committees or filing hundreds of access to information requests to find critical information that needed to be made public. I have been critical of Trudeau Liberal government spending, their discretionary powers, and the inefficiencies. In recent weeks, they have demonstrated exactly why accountability is important and tough critiquing and questioning is necessary. Take a look at recent headlines.
“Procurement department launches review of IT firms accused of contracting misconduct” (Globe and Mail)
“MPs grill federal green fund chair who took part in decision to grant her own firm $217,000” (CBC)
Federal chief technology officer lied about ArriveCan app, MPs hear (Globe and Mail)
“Ottawa paid nearly $670,000 for KPMG’s advice on cutting consultant costs” (Globe and Mail)
These headlines reveal a federal government in decline. But also hidden behind these headlines are the connections to the Liberal government, which has placed an emphasis on rewarding its friends and gifting them high value contracts, or a surprising level of ignorance as well as wilful disregard for perceptions of conflicts of interest. The Sustainable Development Technologies Canada (SDTC) is a $1 billion federal foundation that funds green technology companies for sustainable development. A recent probe revealed that it essentially acted like the Liberals’ green slush fund, giving grants to startups and accelerators with ties to their senior management, as well as making payments inconsistent with the requirements of their agreement with the federal government. A report into the SDTC said the conflict-of-interest policy was “inconsistently applied”. In recent testimony, the board chair of the organization, a friend of the Prime Minister, admitted that she participated in approving more than $200,000 in grants to her own company. Government officials confirmed that no action was taken after this gross mismanagement and obvious conflict of interest. Other glaring red flags included a probe of significant payouts, which include two one-time payments worth $37.7 million for pandemic-related funding, and suspect disclosure documents, which had gone missing or were filled out after the fact from when the probe requested these documents. Filling out documents after a probe begins is fraud and forgery. This behaviour is appalling. Every taxpayer should be concerned about what is happening at SDTC but also at other funds, agencies and commissions under this Trudeau Liberal government. Conservatives will continue to push for accountability and for answers for Canadians. Unfortunately, the Liberal-NDP coalition and their Bloc allies have voted against requiring all documents related to the Liberals green slush fund being released, but we will find other means to obtain the release of documents either through Parliament, access-to-information requests, and by encouraging whistleblowers to come forward.
The ArriveCan App developed by GC Strategies at the behest of the federal government continues to make headlines for enormous overspending, no quality control, illegal procurement processes, and deliberate lies told to MPs. The government operations parliamentary (OGGO) committee has been hard at work following news reports from months ago that explained how the cost of the app had ballooned to over $50 million. That is over 200 times what it took other competitors over a weekend to replicate the functions of the government procured app. The OGGO committee recently began investigating the connections between the federal government and GCStrategies, a firm that did no work on the app but received over $11 million in taxpayer cash. Recent testimony by senior members of the bureaucracy revealed that the top officials in charge of the app lied about it before the OGGO committee. A federal bureaucrat said he felt “incredibly threatened” by the Prime Minister’s Chief Technology Officer and that the managing director of GCStrategies also lied to the OGGO committee.
These are two examples of scandals boiling over the past several weeks on Parliament Hill that may not be catching your attention here in Calgary. While they are grabbing headlines, they may not be making it into your social media feeds or your inbox with the passage of the Liberal censorship Bill C-11 and the decision by Meta and other social platforms to block Canadian news. Every taxpayer in Canada is affected when gross negligence and flagrant examples of cronyism are found in the pubic service. The problems at SDTC and the on-going saga of the ArriveCan app procurement disaster, often referred to as ArriveScam, shows that laws are not enough. Citizens and taxpayers should ensure that ethical people are chosen to lead Canada to ensure they then hold the bureaucracy accountable when breaches like these two examples happen. There is more to each story to unfold in the coming weeks as more and more information is made public and new facts are revealed during committee testimony and cross-examination. This is what parliamentary accountability looks like and it’s an example of Parliament at work on behalf of Canadians.
Remembrance Week Memorial
I attended the first assembly post-pandemic at Dr. George Stanley school in Cranston for Remembrance Week. It was a fitting ceremony to attend and take part in on behalf of residents. It was an honour to pay my respects to the veterans who served our country in the past and those who continue to serve Canada in uniform today.
Auburn Bay Parade of Lights
As Christmas approaches, I welcome all constituents to take part in the Auburn Bay Parade Lights on Saturday, November 25. I will be happy to take questions and listen to your concerns at the hot chocolate stand I host there every year. Check out their Facebook page below.