(Ottawa) Federal spending on multi-billion dollar military contracts has been mired in complaints of improper conduct as the government embarks on its $17 billion build-up of aircraft, helicopters, warships and vehicles.
A study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives called “No Bang for the Buck: Military contracting and public accountability” supports the frequently heard charges of unfair competitions. It found that the government itself has classified more than 40 percent of the nearly 20,000 National Defence contracts awarded in FY2006-07 as “non-competitive.”
Even more, the percentage of public dollars spent on “non-competitive” military contracts has doubled in the last two years, according to the study which examined thousands of federal contracts reported in the Business Access Canada’s publicly available Contract History database.
“This report raises the alarm on the use of public dollars, and the need for greater transparency and federal accountability in military contracting,” said Bruce Campbell, Executive Director of the CCPA.
The report has four main conclusions:
- The government should not sign any new major military contracts pending reports by the Auditor General and the Commons Standing Committee on National Defence, expected by the end of the year.
- Ministers involved in defence procurement, especially the Defence Minister, should have at least a five-year separation from the employ of any government contractors.
- The Defence Minister should be given clear responsibility for defence procurement.
- A new parliamentary standing committee should be established with responsibility for defence procurement and monitoring programs.
“This study shows that when fair competition and Parliamentary oversight are exercised, soldiers get better, more effective equipment, sooner and cheaper,” said Steven Staples, the author of the report and Director of the Rideau Institute on International Affairs.
Bruce Campbell, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives t. (613) 563-1341 x302
Steven Staples, report author and Director of the Rideau Institute on International Affairs, t. (613) 565-9449 c. (613) 290-2695