ArriveCan, shadows on contracts. “Trudeau Government’s abuse of taxpayer dollars”
OTTAWA – A shocking internal report on the ArriveCan app – used during the pandemic to manage arrivals and departures from Canada – finds the existence of… non-existent contractors: in particular, 76% of the app’s contractors “did not do any work”, says the audit just released by the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman and published by the National Post.
ArriveCan was a relatively simple government smartphone app: in fact, it only served to register users arriving or departing from Canada, to check their Covid vaccination status. An extremely simple system for any app-savvy computer scientist to build, yet it cost the federal government $54 million.
Even in the context of feverish public spending due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this is a figure well beyond any limits of rationality.
The initially estimated cost for the app was in fact only $80,000. And from the report of the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman, as written by the National Post, it emerges that 76% of ArriveCan’s subcontractors “did not carry out any work.”
A real scandal, in short, which however is only at the beginning: in February, the auditor general Karen Hogan will release a more complete analysis of the tender process underlying the app.
Just two months ago, in a commission testimony, a former director of the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) spoke about an apparent cover-up of ArriveCan: Cameron Macdonald, this is his name, told MPs that a senior bureaucrat had “lied” about key details of how ArriveCan contracts were awarded. “It was a lie that was told to this commission. Everyone knows it,” he said.
Then, there are other aspects highlighted by the Procurement Ombudsman, Alexander Jeglic, such as that relating to the transparency of contracts. According to Jeglic, in fact, approximately 41% of ArriveCan contracts were not adequately publicized before being awarded. And of the 41 total contracts, 17 were never even posted on the Open Government website, as required. And even the offers published online were not complete, but contained inaccuracies in the information. Deliberately?
According to Conservative MPs Kelly Block and Pierre Paul-Hus, the ArriveCan scandal is just the tip of the iceberg and they announce that they “will turn over every document and consulting contract to get to the bottom of the Trudeau Government’s abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
Photo from www.travelinsurance.ca