Justin Trudeau Liberals keep proving they are amateurs: Opinion | Financial Post

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Diane Francis: Justin Trudeau Liberals keep proving they are amateurs

Trudeau and his cabinet are headed for the scrap heap because of years of incompetent governance

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In recent days, eye-popping reports about Canada’s unusable tanks and about its over reliance on outside contractors came to light, underscoring the incompetence of the Justin Trudeau Liberal regime in Ottawa. 

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First, Ukraine is asking countries with German-made Leopard 2 tanks to donate them so it can mount a critically important counter-offensive this spring to drive the Russians out of their country. Kyiv needs 300 of these battle tanks, and nations are stepping up, but Canada, with 82 tanks, has not responded yet. Reports by the Canadian Forces College in 2018 and 2022 say the tanks have been neglected and are useless. 

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“The maintenance and repair needs of these tanks far exceed Canada’s current capacity and, consequently, most of the tanks are inoperable and cannot be deployed. Given a shortage of specialized components, some tanks have even been ‘cannibalized’ for parts, making them totally useless,” Post columnist Adam Zivo writes, summarizing one of the reports.

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In 2007, Canada acquired 100 slightly used Leopard II tanks from the Dutch army for $650 million and paid another $650 million for a 20-year service contract or until 2027. They were deployed in Afghanistan until Canada’s mission there ended in 2014 and now it appears there are only 82 left and they are warehoused across the country in Montreal, Fredericton, and Edmonton. 

When asked, Trudeau said he had “nothing to announce.” Germany is supposed to approve re-export of its tanks and has said it won’t refuse if Poland, or others, wish to give them to Ukraine but Canada’s tanks are likely inoperable, due to Ottawa’s neglect. As for Ukraine, Canada has provided more than $1 billion in aid to Ukraine since last year’s invasion. 

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Last week, another eye popping report surfaced from Carleton University, which said Ottawa spent at least $22.2 billion in 2021-22 on outsourcing contracts across all departments. It added the true total was unknown because the numbers that were obtained came only from departments that proactively disclose their contract spending. “It remains however difficult to have a clear portrait of the federal government’s reliance on outsourced contracts, since as noted in Carleton University’s researchers’ methodology, not all departments amend the value of the contracts to indicate what they actually cost in the end,” the National Post’s Catherine Lévesque reported.  

The lack of transparency is disturbing enough, and the amounts are quite shocking. The government spent a combined total of $141 million on contracts with the “Big 4” consulting firms Deloitte, Ernst Young, KPMG, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which rose to $354 million last year. Accenture, a technology consultant, made $94 million in 2021-22, nearly triple the fees paid of $31 million in 2018-19.

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Federal contracts awarded to McKinsey, a firm built by Trudeau confidante Dominic Barton who he appointed as Ambassador to China for a couple of years, jumped from $4 million in 2019-20 to $17 million in 2021-22. A grand total of $101.4 million has been awarded since 2015, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada

Revelations about the state of Canadian tanks and the extent of the government’s consulting expenses confirm what most have observed which is that Canada is run by amateurs who hire more amateurs because they don’t know what they are doing. In May 2021, I wrote about the unprecedented scale of this consultancy gravy train, alongside a civil service ballooning in size and cost.  

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Nearly eight years since Trudeau became prime minister, Ottawa has hired an additional 79,000 employees, expanding the federal workforce by almost 31 percent. “And head counts have increased in 79 of the 84 government departments and agencies that have been in continuous operation over that period,” according to the CBC. “The public service data doesn’t include members of the Canadian military, or civilian or uniformed employees of the RCMP. According to the latest available figures, the Department of National Defence had 93,252 employees in fiscal 2019, while the RCMP employed 31,119.”

Trudeau and his cabinet, like Canada’s Leopard II tanks, are headed for the scrap heap because of years of incompetent governance. 

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