The Liberal government has brought another ban on the media, this time affecting companies looking for a warship project that includes the largest single tax dollars amount in Canadian history.
In the new directive, companies interested in holding a Canadian $ 60 billion surface combat program were told they could not talk to reporters and, instead, have to address all questions to Canada's Public Services and Purchases.
At the same time, a public interest researcher looking for details of industrial benefits and jobs allegedly created by a surface combat project was informed by the government that it would take at least three and a half years to obtain such documents under the Right of Access to information.
On the surface combat program you will see 15 warships built in Irving Shipbuilding on the east coast.
The ban on the media imposed by Canada for the procurement of companies interested in maintaining that fleet is the fifth such goal in the last year, which involves the purchase of military equipment or ships, according to documents collected by Postmedia.
Industry representatives sent the news organization organization warning of a growing secret in Canada for procurement. The record includes banning firms that are talking to reporters about Canadian surface fighters, buying next-generation aircraft, lightweight glaciers, a satellite from the Department of Defense, and a military pilot training agreement. Industry leaders say the secrecy is not based on security concerns, but concerns that the media will be able to use the information to retain closed information about the military procurement system with problems.
Procurement Minister Carla Clarkoro and Canada's procurement officers often argue that the government's procurement process is "open and transparent". Neither the minister nor the department made any comments on the media intent.
In March, Canada procurement threatened to punish all firms that violated the warrant for the proposed purchase of lightweight icebergs. This caused an unnamed company to ask a question to the department about whether the ban on talking to journalists was even legal.
Others pointed to additional state obstacles to gather information about the combat program on the surface. Ken Rubin, an open government advocate, seized the right to access information to request background documents, briefings and innovation reports, science and economic development that will show the number of jobs created by the mega project. He focused specifically on material exchanged at high levels of government between 2015 and 2019. In response, Rubin's department said it would receive the material in three years and four months.
"We are talking about the biggest contract so far in our history and there is no evidence that I have seen the conceptualization of jobs in Canada that will be, or will have to be created," said Rubin. "You will think the Canadian government will boast about it and want to publish these documents."
In response, the letter from the department noted that you will need to search for a large number of records and consult with different organizations. This would prevent the department from responding to the request within a 30-day deadline determined by law, the department said.
Canada's procurement, the department behind orders, appears to be very sensitive to the media that ask questions about military procurement. In March, Postmedia sent questions to the department about potential welding problems of new Arctic sea passenger ships.
But the procurement Canada immediately warned Irving Shipbuilding, which constructs containers, that the news organization asked questions. The department officials also gave Irving personal information about a journalist who was interested in welds.
Purchases Canada never answered the questions, but shortly Irving Shipbuilding threatened a lawsuit against Postmedia if an article was published claiming there were significant problems with welded boats on ships.
The Department of National Defense later confirmed the information chain had problems with welded surfaces, but they were small.
In 2016, Canada's procurement also ruled out Irving's representative that Postmedia is asking questions about the Canadian Surface Fighting Program.