Sunday, February 24, 2013

Elections Canada contracting guidelines broken in hiring of partisan robocalls investigatiors

Last week I revealed that many of the investigators hired by Elections Canada to investigate the robocalls case have made donations to the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois. These donations, anywhere from an individual donating $300 to an entire firm donating $12,660, demonstrate clear and decisive support for a political party - at the very time when neutrality and non-partisanship are essential to conducting a fair and balanced investigation.

And Elections Canada agrees.

Anyone conducting business or contracting with Elections Canada is subject to their Procurement and Contracting Guide (Version 1, September 1, 2011).

Included in that Guide is this section (emphasis added):

13.6 Political Partisanship

Due to its mandate, Elections Canada must conduct its activities in an impartial manner and must be seen to be politically neutral. In some cases, in order to achieve such political neutrality, it is necessary to restrict contractors who provide goods or services to Elections Canada from being engaged in politically partisan activities and from performing work for or on behalf of a political party, a candidate or a person, body, agency or institution with politically partisan purposes or objectives where the performance of such work raises a reasonable apprehension of political partisanship. In these cases, the solicitation document and the contract include an avoidance of political partisanship clause.

There you have it.  Elections Canada's own guidelines prohibit political partisanship where it is necessary "to achieve political neutrality."

I can't think of any circumstance where political neutrality is more essential than when Elections Canada is investigating another political party for supposed potential crimes which could carry significant fines and/or jail time.

Yet we have known Liberal and Bloc Quebecois donors being awarded a $214,700 contract - the largest contract I've come across to-date - to investigate the Conservative Party.  Does that sound "politically neutral" to you?