Another defence procurement cock-up

David Pugliese, writing in the National Post, reports thatTaxpayers are on the hook for potentially tens of millions of dollars after federal bureaucrats bungled the purchase of trucks for the Canadian Forces and now must make good on the lost profits for a U.S. firm … [but] … Public Services and Procurement Canada, which oversaw the flawed defence procurement, has declined to provide details on just how much the penalties will cost the public … [however] … 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 contract as well as other expenses the firm incurred.

1538979865The Canadian Armed Forces will take delivery of 1,500 new Mack trucks (one version of which is pictured on the right) which, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) says meets all the required standards. But another US truck maker, Oshkosh went to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) and said that the procurement process was flawed and the CITT agreed with Oshkosh. PSPC appealed the decision but dropped the appeal when it came to pass that the staff of  Public Services and Procurement Canada didn’t keep all the documents fmtv-2necessary to meet the challenge.  The Canadian International Trade Tribunal then ordered PSPC to pay Oshkosh (a sample of whose contending vehicle is pictured on the left) a sum equivalent to the lost profits which is guesstimated by Mr Pugliese’s sources as being as high as $60 Million!

That’s a hefty price to pay for some preventable errors: first the CITT ruled, on the evidence, one must assume, that Public Services and Procurement Canada didn’t follow its own rules for evaluating bids, and then PSPC threw away some valuable documents. I do not believe this is a case of corruption or even of favouritism … an wise friend always says cites Hanlon’s razor (sometimes Heinlein’s razor, but it may have originated in the 19th century as a quip by William James): “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” I’m afraid there is too much simple ineptitude in Canada’s defence procurement system, and it starts at very high levels.

One of the first tasks we need a new, competent Conservative government to undertake (hopefully in 2019) is to reform the complete defence procurement system, top to bottom, perhaps even by creating a whole new agency to manage major government procurement projects.

 

2 thoughts on “Another defence procurement cock-up”

  1. part of the problem is the Harper Government that tried to cut the civil servants with an axe instead a scalpel I personally wouldn’t trust conservatives or liberals until the system is working again in fact I get twitchy any time a new broom is mentioned.

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