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QUESTION PERIOD — Public Services and Procurement

Procurement Process

February 13, 2024

Leader, I will quote from the Auditor General’s report:

Those responsible for managing the program broke the government’s own rules in the way they selected communications agencies and awarded contracts to them.

That is an excerpt from the Auditor General’s November 2003 report on what later became known as the sponsorship scandal. Some 21 years later, another Auditor General said, and I quote:

We found that the agency had little documentation to support how and why GC Strategies was awarded the initial ArriveCAN contract through a non-competitive process.

Leader, given these similarities, are we dealing with another sponsorship scandal, version 2.0?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, first, contracts with GC Strategies have been suspended.

Second, in November 2023, Public Services and Procurement Canada suspended the goods and services purchasing authorities of 87 client departments, including the CBSA, so they can no longer purchase anything, in any capacity, without the support and oversight of Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Measures have been put in place to ensure that the serious issues raised by the Auditor General do not happen again.

I’m quoting the Auditor General’s 2003 report:

Documentation was very poor and there was little evidence of analysis to support the expenditure of more than $250 million.

Here, I’m quoting the Auditor General’s 2024 report:

The Canada Border Services Agency’s documentation, financial records, and controls were so poor that we were unable to determine the precise cost of the ArriveCAN application.

There again, another similarity. Will Minister Blair be fired, or will he be appointed ambassador, in the Liberal tradition, like Mr. Gagliano?

Senator Gold [ - ]

Once again, I’m here to answer questions and, apparently, to repeat the answers ad nauseam. I’m not in a position to provide information on the future of any particular minister.

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