Mayor Valérie Plante tried to justify the city of Montreal’s increased spending on Amazon by claiming it was limited to a “very specific” period during the pandemic… which is false.
The city’s purchases on Amazon nearly doubled from 2020 to an average of more than $1,000 a day in 2023, our Bureau of Investigation revealed Tuesday morning.
Responding to our report at the Paul Arcand microphone at 98.5 FM, Mme Plante argues that purchases on Amazon are tied to a “very specific time period.”
“It was a very specific period. Seven computers were bought earlier […] Closed due to COVID. It really happened in 2021. It is a fast period in a few days,” she said.
However, Valerie Plante is wrong.
December 2021 was the month the city spent the most with the American giant. However, spending on Amazon has continued to rise since then. As our report clearly indicates, they are higher on average in 2023 than in 2021.
Recall that two years ago, the city spent an average of $899 per day on the American giant’s site, and in the first six months of this year, the average daily purchase was $1,008.
Called last week to respond to the data, the Plante administration declined our requests for interviews.
Mayor was surprised
Additionally, Mayor Plante said Tuesday morning on Radio-Canada that she was “surprised” to learn of the increase and that she was “not happy.”
“It’s against our direction. We investigate a bit more, but that’s a small part [des dépenses]. Going in the Amazon will never be the modus operandi of the city of Montreal,” she argued.
We have to rectify the situation, said the opposition
The official opposition at city hall, Ensemble Montréal, demanded that the Plante administration “rectify the situation.”
“We understand that the needs that require a one-time purchase on Amazon are seasonal, but using it on an ongoing basis I believe we are doing it in a way that harms local purchases,” underlined the mayor of the borough of Saint-Laurent, Alan D’Souza.
He reminded that in 2021, the city adopted a responsible procurement policy, which would favor small and medium-sized local businesses.
Mr D’Souza is also asking for a report on the application of contract management provisions.
“You need a balance sheet to see if the supply department is respecting the directions of the elected officials and policies like the local purchasing policy,” he said.