Tory MP given federal contracts months before, after failed 2008 election bid

Interesting story. In contrast to multiculturalism and  historical recognition grants and contributions (G&Cs), not delegated to officials, integration programming, largely language training, was delegated. When Minister Kenney became Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, officials had to explain why the sheer volume of G&Cs made Ministerial review impractical.

Minister Kenney had bad experience with the multiculturalism G&Cs as officials remained in denial mode, continuing to favour traditional organizations and approaches, leading the Minister to reject most proposals. Ministerial staffers would routinely Google organizations, to check for consistency between departmental descriptions of individual projects and the overall approach of the organization. It sometimes led to uncomfortable discussions, but his office was applying due diligence, more so than some of the officials (I eventually also would Google before approval).

Given the Minister’s concerns about delegation, a system was put in place to provide a heads-up on planned project approvals, an early detection system to avoid surprises and reduce the likelihood of project approval contrary to the Minister’s wishes. This was partially prompted by the Canadian Arab Federation case (Jason Kenney’s decision to cut funding to the Canadian Arab Federation):

When asked whether Diane Finley, who was the CIC minister at the time, was aware of the contract, spokesman Marcel Poulin said only that “officials award contracts, not ministers.”

That fall, Ms. Young ran in Vancouver South for the Conservatives, losing by just 20 votes to Liberal incumbent Ujjal Dosanjh.

The questions about the first contract didn’t deter Ms. Young’s consulting firm – her office declined to say how many employees the firm had beyond Ms. Young – from seeking a second one just over a year after the election. The November, 2009, pact totalled $452,900 for planning the same conference, this time in early 2010. It included $337,000 for “program delivery” and $115,900 for “administrative” functions. Again, the specific costs are redacted.

A spokeswoman for Jason Kenney, who had succeeded Ms. Finley as CIC minister when the second contract was awarded, said he had “no knowledge of or involvement” with the contracts.

A statement from the department echoed that. “Both contracts were assessed and approved by the appropriate delegated departmental official,” spokeswoman Sonia Lesage said.

Tory MP given federal contracts months before, after failed 2008 election bid – The Globe and Mail.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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