Government policy not followed in tender awarded to Premier’s brother

January 2, 2014

(Halifax, N.S.) NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald said the government broke its own procurement policy by failing to publicly disclose a tender awarded to the Premier McNeil’s brother.

As of June 1, 2012 the government of Nova Scotia is “obligated” to post all successful bidders for tenders on-line (https://www.novascotia.ca/tenders/media/32732/posting%20awards%20qrfinal.pdf). This morning, the Chronicle Herald reported the Liberal government failed to disclose a TIR tender that had been awarded to Seventeen Consulting Services owned by Christopher McNeil, the Premier’s brother. Coincidentally, Seventeen Consulting Services was only registered on November 1, two days after the tender closed.

“The fact that the procurement policy isn’t being followed for any contract is a cause for concern,” said MacDonald. “But when you factor in that the contract in question was awarded to the Premier’s brother it raises serious questions, which need to be answered.”

MacDonald went on to say that the questions that need to be answered include: On what basis was the Premier’s brother the successful bidder? Did the Minister of TIR, the Premier or members of his staff have any knowledge that the Premier’s brother had bid on this contract, and if so when were they made aware? When was the final contract issued and signed? Were any changes to the tender made after it was first posted on October 12, and if so what were they? Why wasn’t the provincial procurement policy followed and the name of the successful bidder placed on-line until after the Chronicle Herald made a query? Why wasn’t this file sent to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner for review until after the media became aware, and who made the request?

“Just last month we found out the Premier had turned a civil service job into a patronage position so he could award his friend and former Communications Director,” said MacDonald. “Now we find out the Liberal government awarded a tender to the Premier’s brother and forgot to tell the public about it.

“The Premier promised during the election that a Liberal government would be open and transparent in all its dealings. If the Premier is serious about this commitment he will disclose all details of this tender. Otherwise the public will have the right to question why this contract was kept secret for so long.”