In The Media

'Streamlined' tender for army tents embroiled in lawsuit and trade complaint

by Murray Brewster (feat. Dave Perry)

CBC News
September 2, 2016

Two of the four bidders on a project to supply the Canadian military with mobile headquarters tents have filed complaints over how the $200-million procurement has been handled by the government.

HDT Expeditionary Systems, based in Fairfield, Va., and CAMEC Joint Venture of Ottawa submitted formal objections with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, a quasi-judicial body that deals with procurement disputes involving federal government contracts.

One complaint was filed last winter and the other was submitted in June, according to tribunal records.

The contract has yet to be awarded by the Liberal government, but both firms are upset with a myriad of issues ranging from the hundreds of technical requirements to concerns that their competitors may have had a slight political or information edge.

The trade tribunal recently rejected HDT's case but decided to conduct an inquiry into the allegations levelled by CAMEC, which claims Public Services and Procurement Canada used "undisclosed criteria when evaluating its bid."

HDT responded by launching a challenge in the Federal Court of Appeal last month.

The statement of claim, obtained by CBC News, says public works "unfairly imposed different evaluation criteria" on the company than what was set out in the request for proposals.

The companies have also complained that the 839 contract requirements are excessive, that mandated cold-weather testing by the National Research Council was unsuitable and that at least one of the bidders had a lot more information about the status of the procurement than they had.

Liberals lauded bid system

The controversy comes just months after Judy Foote, the minister of public services and procurement, lauded the relatively straightforward two-step tent procurement — among others — as a new, "win-win" model for how to do business with defence contractors.

The process, which allows bidders to tweak their proposals after they've been submitted to avoid disqualification on minor technical shortcomings, was meant to "streamline and simplify" defence procurement — something that was a constant political headache for the former Conservative government.

There are signs, however, the Liberals have come to realize there is nothing simple about competitive bidding in the world of military equipment. Last month, a special cabinet committee was created to oversee defence procurement, a troubled system beset by the politically charged debate over the failed Conservative bid to buy the F-35 fighter jet.

The tent contract proved divisive from its early days.

Questions were raised publicly over the hiring of the army's former director of land requirements by one of the bidders on the contract, DEW Engineering.

Retired lieutenant-colonel Greg Burton told The Canadian Press in January that his employment was cleared of any potential conflict of interest before he joined the firm and that throughout his time at National Defence headquarters, he did not have a hand in the development of specifications for the tent contract.

The fourth contract bidder is Weatherhaven, of Coquitlam, B.C.

Even the easy stuff is hard

Buying military tents — even a huge order — should be relatively easy, said defence analyst Dave Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

The controversy, he said, shines a light on an under-appreciated aspect of the dysfunctional defence procurement system: the cutthroat nature of corporate competition.

"Companies are well within their rights to complain," said Perry, and trade and court challenges are the "nature of business." But the effect on the system — especially when you're dealing with something as simple as tents — can be "crippling."

Already understaffed planners with Defence and Public Services spend an enormous amount of time making sure requirements and procedures are "bulletproof," he said.

"It makes governments more reluctant to move ahead."

Public Services and Procurement Canada responded Friday, saying the department is committed to fair, transparent and open competitions.

Pierre-Alain Bujold would not comment on the allegations, but indicated the tent contract is now on hold until the trade tribunal rules on the CAMEC complaint.


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
 
SEARCH
PODCAST

Canada's State of Trade: Getting Our Goods To Market

May 17, 2018


On today's Global Exchange Podcast, we continue our series on the state of Canadian trade in a world of growing populism and protectionism. Today's episode, recorded during our February 13th State of Trade conference in Ottawa, features Bruce Borrows, Jennifer Fox, and David Miller in conversation with the Wilson Center's Laura Dawson about getting Canadian goods to international markets.


IN THE MEDIA

Between Trump, Iran and North Korea, Canada’s G7 has a high potential for chaos

by Chris Hall (feat. James Trottier & Colin Robertson), CBC News, May 18, 2018

The struggle Trudeau could face if Kinder Morgan walks away from Trans Mountain

by Robert Tuttle & Michael Bellusci (feat. Dennis McConaghy), Bloomberg News, May 18, 2018

Canada 'a laughing stock': Experts react to Trans Mountain indemnity

by April Fong (feat. Dennis McConaghy), BNN Bloomberg, May 18, 2018

AUDIO: NAFTA update

with Danielle Smith (feat. Sarah Goldfeder), Global News Radio, May 18, 2018

VIDEO: NAFTA Deadline Day (@ 3:00)

with Don Martin (feat. John Weekes), CTV Power Play, May 17, 2018

VIDEO: Deal or no deal on NAFTA: Canada and U.S. send mixed messages

with Rosemary Barton (feat. Colin Robertson), CBC The National, May 17, 2018

Trump’s 'submission' strategy is not working so expect NAFTA talks to drag on

by Kevin Carmichael (Feat. Eric Miller), Financial Post, May 17, 2018

Backstop deal may be last hope for TransMountain pipeline, says former oil executive

by CBC News (feat. Dennis McConaghy), CBC News, May 17, 2018

Stuck with limited oil export options, Liberals may regret B.C. tanker ban

by John Ivison (feat. Dennis McConaghy), National Post, May 17, 2018

Feds OK early start to construction of navy’s new supply ships

by Lee Berthiaume (feat. Dave Perry), The Canadian Press, May 17, 2018


LATEST TWEETS

HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 421-7th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 4K9

 

OTTAWA OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6

 

Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: contact@cgai.ca
Web: cgai.ca

 

Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.

 

© 2002-2018 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001

 


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email