July 20, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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When Ottawa's cute ads go down

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You have to give it to him, Guillaume Carle didn't skimp on his looks. And yet, despite his fringed jacket, his ponytail and the large bone necklace around his neck, the Gatineau resident is no local for five cents. It was all a show, condemned for years from all sides.

That hasn't stopped the federal government from awarding dozens of contracts to its defunct firm Knight Hawk Technologies under the Aboriginal Business Procurement Strategy (ABPS). This same program is at the center of scandal today can be reached

Photo by OLIVIER PONTBRIAND, LA Press Archives

William Carley

In 2019 I researched the federal contracts of Guillaume Carle, a pseudo-indigenous man from Gatineau. Let Ottawa make it happen. He has been spouting this kind of nonsense for ages. We believe he is interested, deep down, in making great announcements, not in checking whether his programs are working. Not particularly.

It was necessary for the matter can be reached It blows up in his face for the government to admit that SAEA is doing badly, very badly – ​​painfully. In fact, if he doesn't rectify the situation soon, scandals are likely to pile up at his doorstep.

In 2021, Ottawa did what it loves above all else: the big announcement. The goals are ambitious: Starting in 2025, all federal departments and agencies must award at least 5% of their contracts to indigenous businesses.

The government did not listen to First Nations representatives who pointed out the flaws in the SAEA – a program that dates back to the days of Jean Chrétien in a more modest form. As early as 2007, he ignored a federal report that pointed out the lack of an adequate mechanism to verify whether the work was carried out by genuine Aboriginal people.

Justin Trudeau's government closed its eyes and closed its ears and rushed forward with its righteous declaration.

As a result, the number of registrations in the domestic business directory increased by 40%. Globe and Mail. The value of contracts awarded under PSAB will reach $862 million in 2022-23.

If the program is robust and truly serves to improve the socio-economic conditions of Canada's Indigenous communities, this staggering growth is not only a problem, but also excellent news.

Unfortunately, as we well know, hell is paved with good intentions…

the case can be reached The focus is on a move we suspect is far more widespread: small indigenous businesses with two or three employees acting as fronts to get their hands on contracts reserved for indigenous entrepreneurs.

These microenterprises play an intermediary role. They win contracts, only to transfer them to non-domestic companies. In the process, they thank the heavens (and the taxpayers) for their good fortune and receive a large commission.

David Yeo, the entrepreneur at the heart of the scandal can be reached Acting as an intermediary for non-native colleagues, He qualified for the program as the great-grandson of a Grand Chief from Alderville First Nation in Ontario.

Photo from a video

Dalian founder David Yeo testified before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts last March

Although he has no status and was brought up as a reserve, David Yeo meets the criteria in Ottawa's eyes. The program also allowed partnering with a non-indigenous firm.

In short, he ticked the right boxes. Very good. But…how did awarding this contract help the community that sought it?

SAEA requires a third of the work to be done by indigenous workers, but the government almost never checks that its own rules are being respected. Only four audits have been conducted since 2016 Globe and Mail.

In other words, Ottawa does not provide itself with the means to verify whether its liberal program is benefiting the people it is supposed to help. How are these entrepreneurs giving back to their communities? Are they really a part of it too?

On Friday, my colleagues Joel-Denis Bellavance and Mylene Crete revealed that another company was caught in the breach: Advanced Chippewa Technologies Inc., its four employees and its private residence headquartered in Ottawa won $134 million in federal contracts from 2004…

Basically, the company resells computer hardware and software to government departments on behalf of major players like Apple, IBM and Microsoft.

Again: How does this help locals across the country?

Aren't we missing out on opportunities for a few entrepreneurs by allowing them to pocket millions of dollars meant for them?

Many are convinced of this. Last year, more than 50 indigenous financial institutions warned Ottawa that the SAEA was encouraging the use of “shell companies” to secure contracts, harming legitimate indigenous businesses.

Add to this the fact that the government allows almost anyone to register in its Indigenous business directory (for example Guillaume Carle) and thus have access to contracts intended for Inuit, Métis and First Nations in this country…

Canada's Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu, announced a major review of the PSAB. It's not too soon. It's high time to plug the cracks in this benevolent, but notoriously flawed strategy.

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