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Liberals Hide Behind Their ArriveCAN Scandal

In this edition of ‘In Your Service,’ I will highlight how the Liberals facilitated the ArriveCAN scandal, the Conservatives new plan to tackle car thefts, and the events I attended in Edmonton West.

Since the 44th session of Parliament resumed this year, the political landscape of Canada has continued to shift in a promising new direction. The Conservative Party, led by Pierre Poilievre, is offering common sense solutions to fix the problems afflicting Canadians, resulting in a double-digit polling lead over the other parties. At the same time, the ongoing ArriveCAN scandal further reveals the utter incompetence and corruption of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the NDP/Liberal coalition government.

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In this edition of In Your Service, I want to highlight how Conservatives have been at the forefront in exposing Trudeau’s corruption in Parliamentary committees, our party’s solution to stop Canada’s surging rate of car thefts, and some of the important work I have been recently doing in Edmonton West. 

Exposing the Liberal’s ArriveCAN Scandal

Since the end of 2022, I have been involved in the parliamentary investigation studying how and why Trudeau’s ArriveCAN app ballooned to such a ridiculous cost, with another major bombshell having dropped in February.

According to an Auditor General Report released last month, the ArriveCAN app probably cost taxpayers nearly $60 million. I say “probably” because even the Auditor General could not determine the exact cost of government ineptness – including allegations of deleted emails and paperwork. This was an app originally budgeted for $80,000. This waste of taxpayer dollars comes at a time when Canadians are struggling to afford necessities such as food, heating and housing.

Why did the Liberal/NDP coalition allow the cost of ArriveCAN to skyrocket?

Part of the reason is that the government was giving out sole-sourced contracts to outside management consulting firms, such as GC Strategies, that do no actual IT work. In total, GC Strategies received almost $20 million to act as an IT middleman for other subcontractors to work on the app. GC Strategies also has multiple other contracts worth tens of millions of dollars with the government, although the exact figure is unknown. In a nutshell, GC Strategies wins bids from the Liberal/NDP coalition government, takes a cut up to 30% and then simply contracts the actual work to someone else, like IBM.

The two owners of GC Strategies, Kristian Firth and Darren Anthony, had refused multiple requests from Parliament to appear in committee and testify about their role in the Liberal’s botched app. After refusing to appear following our most recent summons, I tabled a motion in the House of Commons, which received unanimous consent from all parties, that would force Firth and Anthony to attend committee and testify within 21 days or be taken into custody by the Sergeant of Arms of the House of Commons. Firth and Anthony finally appeared in committee this past week due to our summons.

The rot of the ArriveCAN contracts with the rot of Liberal procurement.

In 76 percent of ArriveCAN contracts, some or all the contractors’ proposed resources, such as subcontractors or employees, did not do any work on the app itself, according to a procurement watchdog. The Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA), the department responsible for developing ArriveCAN, even admitted that $12.2 million of contracts could be unrelated to the app.

Why would the Liberal government not use its own IT resources to develop the app, considering they have expanded the public sector by 40 percent since they took power in 2015?

Furthermore, the Office of the Information Commissioner, the federal information watchdog, has started investigating the allegations that ten of thousands of emails and records related to ArriveCAN were intentionally deleted by senior bureaucrats.

Trudeau and his NDP coalition partners need to come clean to Canadians and reveal the true cost of the app and how many contracts their government has awarded GC Strategies since 2015. Instead, they have refused to be honest with Canadians and admit responsibility for allowing the cost of the app to reach nearly $60 million.

Remember: The Liberal/NDP coalition voted to fund the ArriveCAN costs, while the Conservative MPs voted against allocating funding for the broken ArriveCAN.

Car Theft

Conservatives, led by our Leader Pierre Poilievre, tabled recently in Parliament legislation that would immediately address the growing crisis of car thefts across the country.

Car thefts have increased by more than a third nationally under the Liberal/NDP coalition, and much of this trend can be linked to the Trudeau/Singh soft-on-crime legislation. The Liberal/NDP government introduced “catch and release” provisions under Bill C-75, permitting criminals to not face bail after being arrested, releasing them immediately back into the public and re-offending while awaiting trial. Criminals do not fear being caught anymore.  They steal vehicles from law-abiding Canadians, driving up insurance costs and hurting the pocketbooks of all Canadians, and if they are caught, they know they’ll be released the same day.

The Trudeau/Singh coalition  have stripped our border agents at federal ports of adequate resources, allowing our major ports to become parking lots for stolen cars. For example, there are only five border agents at the Port of Montreal, one of Canada’s busiest ports, and they only operate one outdated X-ray scanner – that is when it is not broken down as is often the case. While our federal ports remained understaffed, the Liberal/NDP coalition has allowed the CBSA to waste $15 million on useless outside management consultants while also spending nearly $60 million on the ArriveCAN app.

This irresponsible governance has been felt across the country, including in Edmonton. The Edmonton Police Service says there has been a 26 percent increase in stolen vehicles over the past three years.

There has also been a huge increase in car thefts in Alberta as a whole since 2022, making Alberta the second worst province for this crime, according to StatsCAN. Auto theft is up by 300 percent in Toronto and 100 percent in Ottawa and Montreal.

It is not just victims of car theft that are affected by this. Car theft costs the insurance industry more than $1 billion in 2022, meaning all vehicle-owning Canadians bear the brunt of that cost each month.

As Justin Trudeau has been slow to address this growing problem (offering only to convene a meeting of “experts”), Conservatives have been stepped up to propose solutions to fix it.

A Conservative government will repeal catch-and-release provisions under Bill C-75 so that criminals will stay in jail and not re-offend, remove the ability for house-arrest if convicted of car theft, increase the mandatory minimum penalty from six months to a year for a third offence of car theft, and create a new aggravating factor in sentencing for motor vehicle thefts for the purposes of organized crime. Conservatives also promise to fund border agents with proper resources and equipment instead of wasting taxpayers’ dollars on useless management consultants.

Everyone has the right to feel safe in their home and know their property is secure. Conservatives understand this and will work tirelessly in government to ensure Canadians can feel safe on the streets once again.