Canada has had its eye on building temporary facilities to house the Haitian government since days after the massive earthquake that destroyed much of Port-au-Prince and Stephen Harper finally announced Ottawa would go ahead with the project during a visit to Haiti last month. Turns out the $12 million contract was handed to a subsidiary of Calgary-based ATCO Ltd. without a public bidding process, even though procurement guidelines usually require government contracts worth more than $25,000 to be submitted to one. Ottawa also opted not to post an advance contract award notice, which would have allowed rival potential bidders to submit to submit counter-proposals. According to the CBC, ATCO Ltd. has “significant political connections,” with three of its directors having donated to the Conservative Party. The Public Works Department, meanwhile, says “the urgency of the situation in Haiti and the tight timelines” precluded a drawn-out bidding process.
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