Liberals give themselves a Christmas gift

January 6, 2014

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says the Liberal government has avoided a commitment to conduct an independent review of ERDT spending by posting a tender the week of Christmas and ignoring published best practices.

The tender to review “current practices and future potential for Nova Scotia sponsored by the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism” opened on Friday, December 20, at 2:00 pm and closed on Friday, December 27, at 2:00 pm which resulted in a total of 2.5 business days because of holiday closures. According to the government website, the best practice is to post tenders for a minimum of 15 days to allow sufficient time for companies to respond.

Predictably only one bid was placed for the tender but it failed to meet minimum requirements. As a result, the Liberal government has scraped the independent tender and will now hand select the consultant to conduct the review.

“The Liberals already broke their commitment to end corporate welfare and now they are looking for someone to tell the public they had no other choice,” said MacDonald. “By avoiding the tendering process the Liberals can now pick someone who they know will tell them what they want to hear.”

MacDonald says for this process to maintain any credibility the Liberals need to openly disclose who they are approaching to conduct the review. At least then “the public will be able to judge for themselves if this was done independently.”

MacDonald also found another abnormality with the Liberal government’s decision to post this tender over the Christmas Holidays.

“On Thursday, January 2, we were told the Liberals couldn’t properly publish information about a tender that was given to the Premier’s brother in early December because of the holidays,” said MacDonald. “Then on Friday, January 3, the Liberal government says it’s perfectly reasonable to post a tender for two days over the holidays and expect companies to have sufficient time to bid. When you put the stories together something just doesn’t add up.”