Jane’s Defence Weekly

 

 

February 6, 2014

 

Canada overhauls defence procurement

Changes to include increased support for domestic producers a new secretariat, third party reviews and an annual procurement guide

 

The Canadian government this week made good on promises in its 2013 Budget, by announcing defence procurement changes that favour domestic industry and local job creation. The moves will include the creation of a new defence secretariat that will be operate within the Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), a bid designed to smooth the bureaucratic overlap in the competing departments.

 

“The Harper Government is committed to giving our men and women in uniform the equipment they need at better value for taxpayers,” said Diane Findley, minister of PWGSC. “Now we will also leverage our investments to create high paying, highly skilled jobs here in Canada.”

 

Expert third party reviews will also be instituted to provide greater clarity in the process, on all large projects. This move appears designed to counter criticism that the government faced for awarding a sole-sourced fighter jet contract to Lockheed Martin, without fully evaluating competitor offerings.  That said, according to one expert close to the process, details regarding the Harper Government’s definition of “third party,” remain unclear at press time. 

 

Starting in June of this year, an annual guide will also be published, that will list all procurement projects expected to be developed over five, 10, 15 and 20 year timeframes. The publication, which is designed to help industry to quickly identify new opportunities, will include projects expected to run more than $100 million and smaller initiatives that have leveraging potential for Canadian industry.

 

Canadian defence industry stakeholders, which have been lobbying feverishly behind the scenes to protect their interests, had mixed reactions. “The principles of this new approach are fundamentally sound,” said Tim Page, president of the Canadian Defence and Security Industries, which represents more than 1,000 members and 109,000 employees. “Early, regularized and formalized engagement with industry is quite simply a paradigm shift aimed at delivering successful procurement outcomes that advantage Canada.” 

 

The Conference of Defence Associations Institute was more nuanced. In a paper released early last week, titled “Doing More with Less: Canadian Defence Transformation and Renewal,” David Perry, a CDA Institute analyst, was highly critical of the Harper Government’s lack of progress in increasing efficiency and effectiveness in defence matters.

 

However he partially lauded the latest initiatives. “They are moving in the right direction,” said Perry. “However these are only the first step. We’ll only know for sure how they play out, when the government makes clear its new priorities in an upcoming renewal of its Canada First defence strategy.”

 

peter@peterdiekmeyer.com

 

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