Imagine a player who is refused the gold medal, even though he won the race by following all the rules of the game.
Imagine an athlete who is knocked out of play by the referee for no good reason, allowing his rival to win the race by default.
In the stands, the crowd would cry foul, wouldn’t they?
In the same way, we must loudly denounce two recent decisions by the federal government – one on the monument to Afghanistan veterans, the other on the replacement of military planes – which are detrimental to Quebec.
In the case of the national memorial to Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, Ottawa refused to award the contract to a Quebec firm which had nevertheless won the design competition following a rigorous process launched in 2019 by the federal.
The Daoust team’s project (composed of the Daoust firm Lestage Lizotte Stecker, Luca Fortin and Louise Arbour) was selected by a jury made up of experts from the arts, architecture, history and diplomacy, as well as representatives of Afghanistan veterans and military families.
His concept consisted of stone mesh walls which, seen up close, recalled the pattern of a burqa half-opened by the axis of democracy and, seen from a distance, brought out the profile of the Afghan mountains where the Canadians played a leading role.
But strangely, Ottawa excluded this winning project from the podium, as revealed The Press1. The $3 million contract was awarded to another company, under the pretext that its project was more popular with veterans.
In short, Ottawa tore up the rules of the game after the end of the match, rules that it itself had written, it must be noted.
All of this is confusing, like the disorganized withdrawal of American and NATO troops who left Afghanistan in 2021, leaving behind the interpreters, diplomats, drivers and security guards who had lent them a hand on the field for two decades.
Now let’s talk about military aircraft. A $9 billion deal.
Here, no call for tenders at all. Ottawa wants to award a private contract to the American company Boeing for the renewal of our maritime patrol aircraft, the CP-140 Aurora.
The military have made their bed: they want the Boeing aircraft, the only one currently offered that meets their needs. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be others. And indeed, Bombardier is ready to take up the challenge by adapting its Global 6500 private jet.
Such a contract would allow a local company to develop a new military device which could then be sold around the world. This would provide work for 40 suppliers in the Quebec aeronautical ecosystem.
We cannot turn our noses up at such fallout, at home, but also in Ontario where the Global 6500 is assembled. This is why Prime Ministers François Legault and Doug Ford made a joint outing at the beginning of November , to ask Ottawa to consider Bombardier.
But mysteriously, Ottawa turns a deaf ear.
The federal government has already taken steps to purchase 16 P-8 Poseidon aircraft from Boeing. Why so much haste? Why bypass the call for tenders?
If it was urgent, we could understand. But on the contrary, Ottawa is obliged to bring forward its schedule which did not provide for the replacement of the aircraft before 2032-2033 to satisfy Boeing. In fact, the company “informed” Ottawa that it would stop producing the Poseidon if it did not receive new orders.
Canada does not have to give in to this high-pressure sales tactic worthy of a furniture store. He must take the time to evaluate Bombardier’s solution which has advantages.
The Global 6500 is more modern, faster and allows longer flights, which is nothing to sneeze at covering a country as large as Canada.
And Bombardier can count on its partner General Dynamics Mission Systems – Canada to equip the device with the necessary electronic equipment as well as torpedo launchers.
Let’s be clear: Bombardier has its proofs to prove. But we are not asking the government to favor the solution to the detriment of competition. We just want the company to have a chance.
Yes, this means that there will have to be a tender process. But the time we take to do things well is not wasted time.
We cannot remove a serious competitor from the competition, any more than we can prevent the person who won the race from obtaining the gold medal.
It’s not fair play.
The position of The Press
We are not asking Ottawa to favor Quebec companies, just to give them equal opportunities to prove themselves and to award them the contract when they are the best.
Gn world Fr