Pork spending in a pandemic response means that more surveillance should have been incorporated into Bill C-13
The COVID-19 Emergency Response Act was created to enable governments to respond quickly to the growing crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bill C-13 was submitted to Parliament on March 24, 2020, with the consent of the King the next day. Opposition and government members worked together in an unusual way to show unity to put the bill into effect. The process, which normally takes months, was completed in days.
However, as documents showing highly suspicious government spending disguised as a pandemic response are emerging, opposition parties should have pressured to strengthen legislative oversight before promptly approving the bill. is.
It is understandable why the liberal government sought the authority and ability to expedite spending measures to respond to a pandemic. We were in the early stages of unprecedented emergency deployment. There was no time to extend parliamentary debate on all government actions that might be needed as the matter progressed. We didn’t know how long the outbreak would last, how serious the impact would be on businesses and healthcare facilities, or how much government action would be needed to deal with the situation.
It’s clear why the opposition didn’t want to appear to be blocking the government’s efforts to provide pandemic bailouts. The country was terrified as the pandemic swept the world invisibly for generations. Citizens would not have responded favorably if the opposition played political games and appeared to be blocking the means of helping people and businesses during this crisis. Opposition leaders are in a difficult position and are virtually Choosed to pass bill C-13 without scrutiny. In retrospect, this may have been an inappropriate choice for them.
When there is a crisis, opportunists jump out of the woodworking shop hoping to take advantage of it. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be no exception to this rule. In October last year, Parliamentarians issued a House order requesting the release of more than one million records related to pandemic spending. To date, only less than 1% (8,000) of these records have been disclosed, and these records provide evidence of rampant improper management and suspicious lobbying efforts. Imagine what’s hidden in the remaining 992,000 documents.
Lobbying for a contract with the government was enthusiastic, as the government executed more than $ 600 billion in borrowings and payments with little oversight, thanks to the emergency powers granted.
According to a BlackRock reporterThere were countless single source contracts that were prepaid, breaking the story. A former Liberal Party member was part of a consortium of companies that signed a $ 237 million contract for ventilators that wasn’t approved at the time, and ultimately from the original US model on which it was based. Also increased by about $ 10,000. The lobbyist won a $ 118 million contract with a client after boasting of “getting it done.” A Liberal Party-related lobbyist has contacted the Cabinet for a son’s contract. There are many examples and it is annoying.
Just because you need to respond quickly to the government does not mean that you need to monitor it. Indeed, some of the large contracts issued may have been subjected to a rough investigation by a party-wide committee prior to issuance. Opposition lawmakers have shown their willingness and ability to cooperate with the government in the light of emergencies. The Oversight Committee could have done so, just as it did when it empowered the government to spend.
During times of crisis, it is crucial that the government take responsibility, not take responsibility for its actions. Opposition has abandoned its role in providing constructive criticism to the government because it chose to give the government a path to spending rather than risking losing political points with voters. Sometimes making the right choice is more important than making the best political choice, which is more true than ever in an emergency.
Currently, toothpaste cannot be returned to the tube. All the opposition can do is continue to pressure the government to publish spending records and make the government accountable after the fact. Given the few things we’ve seen so far, it’s a fairly safe bet that some bombs are still waiting, out of the hundreds of thousands of records withheld by the Privy Council Office.
What we can do is learn from here. This pandemic seems to be converging, but one day the world will face another major crisis. Emergency planning should not only be developed with a quick response to the crisis in mind, but it should also incorporate accountability measures.
We also need to ensure that all costs are directed to the actual crisis, rather than being in the pockets of non-principle contractors and lobbyists. This is a mistake that should never be repeated.
Cory Morgan is a Calgary-based columnist and business owner.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.