It is unjustifiable how the Harper government can use public taxes to cover for its inefficiencies in public spending. Indeed, the arrangement is tantamount to ‘having your cake and eating it too.’ The government has proved so inefficient in planning for its spending, yet it goes full-throttle to engage a highly paid consultant to ostensibly assist it to manage its books. This whole arrangement, in my view, is not only laughable but it also exposes one of the most predominant weaknesses of the conservative government – the inability to streamline the public sector to achieve maximum productivity and operational efficiency.
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Public sector productivity and efficiency
Let us evaluate this whole scenario from a different perspective. Canada is one of the few countries in the world that has managed to attain the ‘developed’ or ‘advanced’ status. Yet despite all this, the Harper government wants to insinuate that it is incapable of handling simple housecleaning chores such as balancing the books, improving productivity, and achieving operational efficiencies.
In this day and age, it is generally felt that Canada should not be a beneficiary of consultancy services aimed at advising its professionals on how to improve productivity or achieve operational efficiencies; rather, Canadians, through an efficient and proactive government, should be at the forefront in extending such consultancy services and assistance to needy countries, particularly in the third world.
For once, let’s assume that the Harper government may have reached a point where such consultancy is important. Let’s even offer our blessings to these Deloitte guys in their attempt to assist the government to trim approximately $4 billion from the massive $80 billion used in annual program spending. But then, what measures have the government put in place to ensure the projections are achievable? What formula was used to arrive at the $4 billion figure?
Will, the Harper government take political responsibility if these projections are unattainable? Again, these are germane issues that we the public demand answers to if we are to be certain that the $90,000 a day hiring is indeed aimed at assisting the country.
Lastly, it is worth noting that the Public Works Ministry flouted the pre-qualification process by inviting 20 “pre-qualified” companies instead of employing a fully open tendering process as demanded by the law. Equally, documents containing the task description were supplied directly to the invited bidders instead of posting them on the tendering website for all interested parties to see.
What is of interest here is the fact that the government is spending huge sums of taxpayers’ money to integrate productivity and efficiency into its systems, but the same government ends up using forbidden and inefficient tendering methodologies to progress its unproductive or counterproductive objectives at the expense of the very people that have put it in power. This is irresponsible of a government that is ostensibly leading a country as highly valued as Canada. The issue of flouting the tendering process is particularly serious, and relevant agencies, including the police and anti-corruption agencies, must move with speed to investigate why this process was floated in the first place.