Casey calls for investigation into submarine retrofit

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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OTTAWA - Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Bill Casey is calling on the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates to investigate Ottawa's $1.5-billion submarine retrofit and maintenance contract.
Casey appeared before the committee Thursday asking Public Works Minister Senator Michael Fortier why only four per cent of the contract has been tendered.
"Mr. Fortier said it was his understanding that the tender was for the entire amount, but then a member of the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada Lillian Saint-Pierre, explained that this isn't so. As I understand it, the tender amount is only for minor maintenance. After that only the winning company will be asked to submit cost estimates for work required in the future," Casey said.
This defies treasury board rules and common sense, said Casey, and it hides the true cost of the retrofit and maintenance work on the submarines and the next phase of work is not open to public tender.
"They are doing everything they can to hide that this is a major capital project. It appears that they are misrepresenting the tender to get under the $100 million threshold to avoid the Senior Project Advisory Committee," Casey said.
Casey was made aware by the minister that public works is not responsible to determine if the project is a major capital project, but it is in fact, the Department of National Defence's responsibility as it is their project and Public Works only does the procurement.
On a motion that was related to the tendering process for a contract similar to that of the submarines, Casey called on the committee to hear witnesses.
"If you call witnesses and the sub story was heard, I think you would come to the conclusion that there is something wrong with the system," Casey said.
Casey has the support of Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who said the contract for repairs for the Atlantic-based subs was awarded to a British Columbia company, seemingly in violation of Treasury Board rules.
"It is incomprehensible that the minister of defence appears to have bent Treasury Board guidelines to transfer work on the submarines to the other side of the country," she said. "We encourage the committee to get to the bottom of this issue and applaud Mr. Casey's efforts."

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Standing Committee on Government, Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada Lillian Saint-Pierre, Treasury Board Senior Project Advisory Committee Department of National Defence Green Party

Geographic location: OTTAWA, British Columbia

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