Friday, June 22, 2007

Conservative contracting practices worse than Liberals

According to a story published today in the Ottawa Citizen, it looks like the actions of Canada’s Now Slightly Used Government are again at odds with Harper’s campaign promises.

Remember all the Conservative bluster and furious rhetoric about the Liberal’s spending habits on public-opinion contracts? It was even a campaign promise. "We will stop all partisan polling with taxpayer dollars," Harper vowed. "We will ensure open, competitive bidding for all public-opinion research."

Well, guess what? It turns out that, in the all too familiar pattern of this government, this is yet another broken campaign promise. Since the Conservatives were sworn in, they have spent approximately $40 million on polls and focus groups, compared to $43 million for the Liberals during a similar time period – hardly what one would consider to be “stopping all partisan polling”. Not only that, but of that $40 million worth of public-opinion contracts, only 12 per cent were subject to a competitive bidding process, versus 27 per cent under the Liberals. That’s right – a 55% REDUCTION in competitive bidding for public-opinion contracts.

And it gets worse. About 26% of Conservative government contracts overall were non-competitive, compared to about 14% under the so-despised Liberal contract handlers. And at National Defence, 32% of Conservative contracts were non-competitive versus 16% under the Liberals.

So, netting it all out, these guys are, on average, twice as bad as the Liberals ever were when it comes to playing fast and loose with taxpayer money. I can’t wait for the boys in blue to come down from their exhaust fume-induced NASCAR highs to explain this one. But you can be sure they will find some bizarre spin that will make it all Stéphane Dion’s fault.

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