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ArriveCan Partner Firth Faults Gov’t Tracking for Cost Confusion

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Endless ArriveCan mess

Just when you thought the ArriveCan mess couldn’t get more ridiculous, the corporate buddies profiting off Trudeau’s incompetence are now rejecting the Auditor General’s scathing review.

ArriveCan contractor Kristian Firth had the nerve to blame “bad record-keeping” after the AG revealed his company pocketed up to $19 million from this massive waste of taxpayer money.

But suddenly no one can remember details whenever serious questions get asked about the Liberal-connected insiders cashing in on this debacle.

It’s obvious Trudeau’s pals think they’re above basic accountability. Their blatant stonewalling shows how ethically rotten things are under this government.

No wonder the PM won’t lift a finger to investigate the shameless grift surrounding ArriveCan. He’s letting his corporate friends rewrite the truth to cover their butts. It’s a total insult to Canadians.

While Trudeau allows ArriveCan grifters to cry bad record-keeping, Pierre Poilievre is demanding real answers. Conservatives know Canadians are sick of the corporate welfare state Liberals have created.

The days of funneling unchecked public money to elites while services crumble are over. Poilievre is leading the charge to rip open the books on ArriveCan and follow the money trail right to Trudeau’s Bay Street cronies

Trudeau’s Fingerpointing and Vague Promises

The ArriveCan contracting mess just keeps getting worse, showing the complete incompetence and lack of ethics in Trudeau’s Liberal government. But does the Prime Minister take responsibility like a real leader should? Of course not.

Trudeau is simply pointing fingers and making vague promises of “significant changes” to procurement practices, while refusing to get into specifics or hold anyone accountable.

This weak response is so typical of Trudeau. He loves talking big about transparency and good government, but when his government faces controversy, he goes into damage control mode, deflecting blame and obscuring the truth.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is rightly slamming Trudeau’s disgraceful behavior. He’s distancing his party from the corporate cronyism and insider dealing that enabled ArriveCan to become such an expensive disaster.

Instead, Poilievre is focused on the hard working Canadians who deserve better from their government.

His bold criticism of “useless” Ottawa lobbyists demonstrates the Conservatives will no longer blindly serve wealthy special interests if elected.

This willingness to break from the Conservatives’ typical corporate allies shows a leader charting his own path forward. Poilievre knows taxpayers expect accountability, not handouts for companies that cozy up to the government.

He understands that backroom deals and insider access led to waste and unethical choices like the ArriveCan mess. By distancing the Conservatives from this culture, Poilievre wants to rebuild public trust in government.

His approach also signals that big corporations won’t get any special favors from the Poilievre administration. Companies will have to make their case directly to voters if they want policies changed.

The old way of companies just assuming they’ll get government money and perks is over under this reform-minded leader. The cozy relationships that enabled waste and shady deals are being rejected.

Poilievre gets that Canadians care about fair, transparent government, not enriching the well-connected few.

With ArriveCan showing the dangers of crony capitalism, he’s cleverly aligning the Conservatives with the interests of everyday people, not those of corporate elites. It’s a decisive shift that will reshape the party’s image and broaden its supporters.

While the Liberals try to sweep this mess under the rug, shocking details continue emerging.

The GC Strategies contractor Kristian Firth admitted to meeting with government officials outside of work while his company profited hugely from the dysfunctional app. Firth confessed to social outings and drinks with public servants, despite previously denying such allegations before the committee.

This flip flop exposes even more unethical behavior around ArriveCan. GC Strategies got a shocking $19 million for their poor work developing the costly and useless app.

Yet Firth now admits to casual, unofficial meetings with the very officials who handed them these profitable contracts. It stinks of insider access and special treatment.

Under intense grilling from Conservative MP Michael Barrett, Firth grew clearly uncomfortable as he backtracked on his earlier denials.

Barrett highlighted Firth’s contradictory statements, showing he blatantly lied about his informal contacts while pocketing taxpayer dollars. The incompetence and dishonesty surrounding this scandal continues piling up.

With both the RCMP and Auditor General investigating criminal wrongdoing in ArriveCan’s development, Firth’s admission provides more fodder.

He and his company gave misleading testimony to cover up the full extent of their unethical relations with bureaucrats. No wonder the ArriveCan fiasco cost taxpayers so dearly.

Also, the auditor general, Canada’s top public spending watchdog, had to fire multiple employees for unreported government contracts on the side.

This startling development reveals the alarming extent to which bureaucrats are improperly profiting from undisclosed deals with federal departments and agencies.

The auditor general had to conduct internal investigations and refer at least two cases to the Ottawa police for potential criminal activity. The ethics rot has infected even the most independent oversight body.

Ian Stedman, a York University assistant professor specializing in ethics in government, said: there is a growing phenomenon of workers launching side businesses that is fuelled by the pandemic, affordability concerns and the rise of the gig economy.

Trudeau loves to virtue signal about transparency and accountability. But on his watch, the public service has developed an endemic culture of conflicts of interest and self-dealing.

The auditor general’s own office was not immune, as Trudeau appointees were caught double-dipping from undisclosed federal contracts, breaching the code of conduct.

This is the inevitable result of the PM’s weak leadership. When the top watchdog over spending can’t keep its own house clean, it shows ethics standards have collapsed across the government under Trudeau.

A culture of impunity has set in, where bureaucrats feel free to pad their income through questionable side deals spanning multiple departments.

Additionally, the Department of National Defence now casually admits it has no clue how many of its employees might have side contracts with federal departments and agencies.

While such arrangements are permitted if properly disclosed, the lack of oversight is an alarming accountability failure.

Shockingly, National Defence confirmed there are no rules explicitly prohibiting public servants and military personnel from moonlighting on government contracts, as long as the deals appear above board. But the department confessed it has zero tracking of how many such deals exist, despite the obvious risks of conflicts of interest and preferential treatment.

This is indefensible mismanagement under Trudeau’s watch. With the ArriveCan scandal exposing corruption in procurement, National Defence’s willful blindness to potential misconduct in its own ranks is inexcusable. Yet the department seems unconcerned that employees could be profiting from improper government contracts.

Poilievre Calling Out Trudeau

Pierre Poilievre then rightly called for an inquiry into this lazy oversight that effectively enables more ArriveCan-style abuses.

Trudeau’s Liberals have no interest in genuine accountability. But Conservatives recognize that giving bureaucrats free rein to benefit privately from federal deals is a recipe for corruption.

With the military’s alarming failure to track conflicts of interest, scrutiny into these practices is clearly needed under a new government.

The Liberals also claim the system depends on bureaucrats properly declaring conflicts of interest to their managers. But clearly that honor system isn’t working, with multiple officials recently exposed for failing to disclose their lucrative side gigs.

Trudeau can talk a big game about reforming procurement, but his promises ring hollow when his government remains unable to follow existing rules.

Throughout this ugly affair, Poilievre has maintained steady pressure on the embattled Liberals. He continues highlighting their hypocrisy and broken promises.

Contrast this with Trudeau’s trademark tactic of avoiding problems until they blow over. It’s obvious which leader has the courage to tackle tough situations head-on.

Poilievre is also reshaping traditional Conservative engagement with the business sector. He’s skipping the conventional corporate lobbying events in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

Instead, he’s appealing directly to everyday Canadians, including workers and union groups usually overlooked by Tory leaders. This shift recognizes that taxpayers are the Conservatives’ key constituency, not big companies hoping for access and favors.

As more disturbing revelations surface, Trudeau cannot keep hiding from accountability. Canadians deserve honest answers about how ArriveCan was mismanaged so badly.

They should know why conflict-of-interest safeguards repeatedly failed. And they need stronger reassurance that federal leaders, both political and bureaucratic, truly prioritize the public interest over self-enrichment.

Pierre Poilievre gets it and recognizes that voters are fed up. If Trudeau refuses to take responsibility and fix the obvious issues in his government, the Conservatives are ready to do a major clean up after the next election.

Until then, Poilievre will keep pressuring the scandal-ridden Liberals. His assertive tactics are very different from Trudeau’s trademark avoidance.

In the end, only one leader is willing to make the hard choices and put Canada first. And that’s definitely not Trudeau.

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