The Air-Rail Link:
Instead of contracting local Ontarian industry to build diesel rail cars, the McGuinty Liberals simply shrug and claim “these cars aren’t built in Canada” and outsource the work via untendered contract to California!
Do they think Ontarians are so stupid that we cannot build diesel cars here? Or that we really don’t need the work? This represents millions of dollars to the manufacturing sector which has been decimated under McGuinty’s watch, to the tune of 300,000+ jobs lost. It would have been fantastic to have given Siemens a chance to quote on the contract and actually support unsubsidized jobs here in Hamilton.
From the February 23, 2011 Hansard:
Mr. Frank Klees: To the Minister of Transportation: This government, through Metrolinx, is poised to sign a multi-million dollar contract with a foreign manufacturer for the purchase of diesel rail cars for use on the airport rail link. A request for information was issued but there was never a formal tendering process, no competitive bidding for this contract. Apparently Metrolinx and the Ministry of Transportation are content to rely on a tender process issued by the state of California. How does the minister justify yet another multi-million dollar untendered contract?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I know that the member opposite knows that our procurement rules are very tight and that we follow them. The reality is that these cars are built nowhere in Canada. We had to look elsewhere to get these cars, and we followed the procurement process.
The point is that we need to have the highest and cleanest diesel engines possible for this line. They have to be convertible to electric; that is our plan. Our government is making a multi-billion dollar investment in public transit. We have done more than $12 billion of investment in transit since we’ve been in office. That is our commitment, and we will continue to invest in public transit for the GTAA and for the province.
Mr. Frank Klees: In the wake of the eHealth scandal, the Premier repeatedly assured this House that there would be no more sole-sourced contracts entered into by this government. How can this government possibly justify signing yet one more multi-million dollar contract with a foreign company while knowing that at least five other manufacturers, including Siemens of Canada, a large employer here in Ontario, have the ability to meet the very same specifications? Will the minister agree to put a stop to this backroom, untendered deal and direct Metrolinx to issue immediately an open public tender for this contract?
As you have probably guessed; the liberal reply was the usual denial: “The procurement process has been followed on every single one of our deals”. This is patently not true. The procurement process is NOT supposed to be untendered and sole-source. Incredibly the liberals also claim this contract “has gotten the best deal for the people of Ontario”. Wouldn’t the best deal for Ontario have been to Ontario workers??
Instead Ontarians have to make do with scatterings of ‘Green’ jobs that will be heavily subsidized by the ratepayers & taxpayers. For every one of these ‘Green’ jobs created Ontario will lose around five jobs due to exorbitant uncompetitive hydro rates, as proven in a dozen European countries.
And how did the liberals conclude? With the usual change-of-topic blame-game on the former government of nearly a decade ago: “The member opposite was part of a government that did zero investment in transit” etc. etc. The McGuinty liberals: stealing from Ontarians to make themselves and foreign corporations rich.
Remember when hydro was something everybody could afford, Ontario electorate? Those days are gone thanks to the McGuinty liberals. Let’s remember that next election!
If the “additional six vehicles option” is exercised, the contract is worth $75 million. For unknown reasons, the liberals allowed Metrolinx to follow “a competitively tendered process used by Sonoma-Marin County in California” rather than Ontario procedures: http://www.rail.co/2011/02/22/metrolinx-board-of-directors-approves-purchase-of-vehicles-for-air-rail-link/
The Hansard dialogue where Mr. Klees questions this decision is here: