SUPPORT US

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
 
UPCOMING EVENTS


No events are scheduled at this time.


SEARCH
EXPERTS IN THE MEDIA

Global Times: BRICS summit displays the potential of a new future

by Editorial Staff (feat. Swaran Singh), WSFA 12, June 24, 2022

Oil's Dive Won't Bring Any Immediate Relief on Inflation

by Alex Longley, Elizabeth low, and Barbara Powell (feat. Amrita Sen), BNNBloomberg, June 24, 2022

China To Tout Its Governance Model At BRICS Summit

by Liam Gibson (feat. Stephen Nagy), The Asean Post, June 23, 2022

Soutien aux victimes d’inconduites sexuelles dans l’armée

by Rude Dejardins (feat. Charlotte Duval-Lantoine), ICI Radio Canada, June 23, 2022

Defence: $4.9 billion for radars against Russian bombs

by Editorial Staff (feat. Rob Huebert), Archynews, June 23, 2022

The Hans Island “Peace” Agreement between Canada, Denmark, and Greenland

by Elin Hofverberg (feat. Natalie Loukavecha), Library of Congress, June 22, 2022

What the future holds for western Canadian oil producers

by Gabriel Friedman (feat. Kevin Birn), Beaumont News, June 22, 2022

At BRICS summit, China sets stage to tout its governance model

by Liam Gibson (feat. Stephen Nagy), Aljazeera, June 22, 2022

Crude oil price: there are no changes to the fundamentals

by Faith Maina (feat. Amrita Sen), Invezz, June 22, 2022

Few details as Liberals promise billions to upgrade North American defences

by Lee Berthiaume (feat. Andrea Charron), National Newswatch, June 20, 2022

Defence Minister Anita Anand to make announcement on continental defence

by Steven Chase (feat. Rob Huebert), The Globe and Mail, June 19, 2022

Table pancanadienne des politiques

by Alain Gravel (feat. Jean-Christophe Boucher), ICI Radio Canada, June 18, 2022

Russia Ukraine conflict

by Gloria Macarenko (feat. Colin Robertson), CBC Radio One, June 17, 2022

New privacy Bill to introduce rules for personal data, AI use

by Shaye Ganam (feat. Tom Keenan), 680 CHED, June 17, 2022


LATEST TWEETS

HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 150–9th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3H9

 

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

 

Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: [email protected]
Web: cgai.ca

 

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

 

© 2002-2022 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001

 


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