Elvis Posted October 5, 2005 Report Share Posted October 5, 2005 MPs blast `closed-door' plan to buy military hardware BRUCE CAMPION-SMITH OTTAWA BUREAU OTTAWA—Canada's military is set to buy new Chinook helicopters and Hercules transport aircraft without seeking competitive bids, a move that has opposition MPs crying foul. Defence Minister Bill Graham has been engaged in high-level lobbying in recent days to win the support of senior decision-makers, including Prime Minister Paul Martin, sources say. In those discussions, military brass are pitching a plan to issue "sole source" contracts for the new fleets of aircraft — purchases worth hundreds of millions of dollars — to avoid a drawn-out tendering process. And they're pushing ahead with the plan even though commanders have yet to finish their so-called capabilities paper, a document outlining what equipment the military needs to fulfil missions around the globe. That research won't be released until sometime around Christmas. Conservative MP Gordon O'Connor (Carleton-Mississippi Mills) accused Graham of planning big-ticket military purchases "behind closed doors." "Who will benefit financially as the government skirts the checks and balances of competition?" O'Connor asked in the House of Commons yesterday. Military officials have refused to comment on the proposed purchase. NDP MP Bill Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona) called on Graham to appear before the Commons' defence committee to explain his purchase plans. "If there's any truth to this, Graham should be straightforward about it...he should `fess up, come before the committee and say this is why we're doing it," Blaikie said. With Canada set to send an additional 1,300 extra troops to Afghanistan in February, the defence department has its eyes set on the newer version of the Hercules, the C-130J, which can fly faster, further and haul more cargo. In a separate plan, the military has gone to Treasury Board seeking approval to buy equipment for Canada's mission in Afghanistan, including armoured vehicles. That too raised hackles on Parliament Hill, with MPs suggesting the troops already in Afghanistan were sent without adequate gear. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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