Meanwhile, at the Defence Department

by Aaron Wherry

The Citizen discovers why a military truck procurement was halted at the last minute.

The Defence Department had received government approval in 2009 to move forward with the $430 million purchase of 1,500 off-the-shelf medium-sized trucks. But in subsequent years department and military officials began adding more capabilities to what they wanted in the vehicles, bumping the estimated cost to between $730 million and $800 million. And in an unprecedented move DND officials continued on with the acquisition without going back to Treasury Board for approval to cover the extra $300 million to $370 million in costs, according to industry, military and government representatives. 

When Treasury Board and Conservative government officials discovered what was happening they intervened, shutting down the project last week just minutes before bidding was to close. The decision to take such action was aimed at avoiding another publicly embarrassing military procurement for the Conservatives.




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Meanwhile, at the Defence Department

  1. “The decision to take such action was aimed at avoiding another publicly embarrassing military procurement for the Conservatives.”

    Why would this be a Con procurement scandal when it is bureaucrats trying to make end run around their bosses? I would be more interested in msm writing articles about our curious bureaucracy that tries to spend hundreds of millions of $$$ without informing the people in charge. Canadian bureaucracy is fortunate that our msm is full of obsequious liberals who rarely question authority.

    • The news article says, “No one seems to know why Public Works waited until the last minute to cancel the contract.” If you disagree with Wherry’s interpretation, what is the “unbiased” interpretation?

      Maybe the Conservatives killed the procurement without giving any reason lest they’d be criticized for breaking their promise “to ensure our Canadian Forces (CF) personnel have the best tools and equipment to do their jobs safely.”

      • I’m with you. We’ve had a government that, for years now, has made political hay out of the fact that the “lurv” the military and will do anything, anything, anything to keep them fat and happy. And now folks are surprised that DND is feeling a little entitled? I’d be surprised if they weren’t.

        Also, why was the Minister of Defence not on top of his department right from the start? (The obvious answer is just the name: Peter McKay) . A competent manager does not have to hit the emergency eject button mere moments before crashing his entire department into yet another brick wall. Anyone care to speculate about how many millions of dollars have been wasted on this project up until this point?

        What an abysmally poor government we’ve inflicted upon ourselves.

        • I don’t think we inflicted upon ourselves a Harper majority. A super-majority of voters were clearly opposed to it. The outcome was the very negation of democracy. Almost all developed countries have governments that represent a majority of voters. Canada and the UK are the only holdouts to an antiquated system that often doles out absolute power to a minority.

          (A quick fix to modernize our existing Westminster-style is Instant Runoff Voting that simply requires that MPs earn their seats with a majority of the local vote. Like fixed election dates, this can and should be legislated on a party platform. There’s no reason why a majority of voters should get saddled with politicians and parties against their will.)

    • This is Peter Mackay’s responsibility, not that of some bureaucrat. Any major procurement changes should need the minister’s signature. If changes don’t require Ministerial approval, there’s a huge accountability problem that needs to be fixed.

    • Is it really better to argue that this government’s oversight is so lax that billion dollar procurements are not monitored by political operatives?

      Your defense is arguing incompetence on the part of the government.

  2. This happens at the DND all the time. Always has. We can’t afford 20 different kinds of planes, 15 different types of ships, and 7 different kinds of trucks……so DND orders one ‘off-the-shelf’ model of each, and then wants to ‘add’ things to it. Within short order it goes back to the drawing board because the original plane/ship/truck was never meant to be all things in one vehicle…..and the cost skyrockets. The end result…..if we ever get one….doesn’t perform that well anyway…..being a sort of juryrigged mess from the start.

    It’s why we need to sit down and figure out what we want from our military, and restrict it’s roles to something doable and useful…..instead of this ad hoc way of running it.

  3. Where’s the icebreaker Conservatives have promised since the mid-1980s?

  4. The reason the Defence Department behaves this way is that the Conservatives have simiplistically annointed everyone in the military including bureaucrats who wear uniforms, as “our brave men and women.”

    As long as you stay loyal to the team it’s like being a small town junior hockey player. You can skate on a whole bunch of minor or perhaps even major transgressions. The Conservatives are just like the small town mayor who drops the puck at the beginning of the season and visits the dressing room after the games to hang with the players and talk to the coach.

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