Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office initially reacted with sarcasm to an article about how the federal government alerted Irving Shipbuilding that Postmedia was investigating problems with the country’s new Arctic patrol ships.
But federal bureaucrats quickly changed their tune after members of the public and opposition MPs took to social media to question the cozy relationship between the Liberals and Irving and denounce the company’s threat to sue Postmedia even before an article had been published, according to documents obtained under the Access to Information law.
Procurement Canada and the Department of National Defence alerted Irving on March 6 that Postmedia was asking questions about alleged weld problems on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships being built by the firm for the Canadian Forces. Federal officials also provided to Irving personal information about the journalist asking questions.
Shortly after, Irving threatened Postmedia with a lawsuit if any defamatory article was published, even though no article about weld issues had originally been planned.
Instead Postmedia published an article about DND and Procurement Canada officials alerting Irving about the potential article while also confirming the departments had launched investigations into whether they had violated the privacy law.
Shortly after the article was published online on March 14, bureaucrats emailed Qualtrough’s communications director Ashley Michnowski the link to the story.
“Yurp,” Michnowski responded. “Saw that…wish I could send an eye roll emoji via blackberry.”
The next day attitudes shifted after Procurement Canada bureaucrats started becoming concerned that opposition members of Parliament were commenting on the issue, along with other media outlets.
The department’s public affairs official, Michele Larose, pointed out there were a growing number of tweets about the issue. “They just keep coming and they are not positive!”
The department’s parliamentary affairs branch was mobilized to write Qualtrough some responses to recite in the Commons if she was asked about the issue.
If asked about the violation of privacy laws in providing Irving with information about a Postmedia journalist, Qualtrough was told to respond that, “We take all privacy concerns very seriously.”
Asked to comment about the “eyeball roll” reference, Michnowski apologized Wednesday for the comment. “As the department has noted since March when the situation occurred, PSPC has reviewed their media protocols to ensure that we provide accurate information regarding ongoing projects with industry partners, while respecting journalist’s private information,” she noted in an email.
The documents provide an inside view on how Procurement Canada reacted to the initial questions about problems with welds.
Just 17 minutes after Postmedia submitted its questions to Procurement Canada’s media officials, 38 bureaucrats were given a “media heads up” the news chain was asking about problems with welds on the ships.
The documents, however, do not indicate who in Qualtrough’s office or the department alerted the Irvings.
While Procurement Canada didn’t respond to Postmedia’s questions, the DND did confirm there were minor issues with welds on the new ships.
Irving Shipbuilding President Kevin McCoy later told the Senate Finance Committee that federal officials had called the firm about Postmedia “making very wild accusations” about workmanship and other issues on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships.
The news organization was threatened with legal action because “we were concerned about our reputation and the (government’s) shipbuilding strategy’s reputation,” McCoy told the senators.
But documents obtained from DND and Procurement Canada do not support McCoy’s claims. The internal records indicate that officials pointed out Postmedia was simply asking questions and trying to verify if there had indeed been weld problems. ………...Much more in the link
Well so far he's spent money like a drunken sailor while cutting back social services just enough to hurt people - but not not enough to pay down any debt or even stop it from rising.
The debt thing is something liberals will look after later on.
That's what happens in Canada.
Ottawa could buy two converted civilian vessels from a Quebec shipyard to serve as support ships for the Royal Canadian Navy for a fraction of the cost of building brand new ones, according to Parliament’s budget watchdog.
In a new report released Tuesday, parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux estimates that the price of buying the two converted container ships from Chantier Davie would be around $1.4 billion.
That compares to around $4.1 billion to build two brand-new joint support ships, the first of which is already under construction in Vancouver and slated for delivery in 2023.
The findings follow years of heavy lobbying from Davie, which has been leasing one of the two converted civilian vessels to the Navy since 2018 and wants Ottawa to move ahead with the second. The first is known as MV Asterix and the second as MV Obelix..........More