Government must follow its own laws

Government must follow its own laws Castle Rock is pleased to see that the issue of the Yukon government's contracting practices is finally coming to the attention of Yukon taxpayers. Castle Rock has tried to address this many times in the past with the

Castle Rock is pleased to see that the issue of the Yukon government’s contracting practices is finally coming to the attention of Yukon taxpayers.

Castle Rock has tried to address this many times in the past with the government, including contracting practices on this very project, Whistle Bend.

To date, the government has chosen not to provide anything close to a satisfactory response to the questions and issues raised by Castle Rock.

Specifically:

1) Having full knowledge that a redesign of the entire project was underway during the tendering process, all bidders should have had a fair and equal opportunity to review and reprice their tenders based on the redesign. That would have been in the best interest of all Yukon taxpayers, who would have benefited from a fair, competitive process.

Instead, Norcope Enterprises was the only company provided with this opportunity. Even now, Community Services refuses to allow Castle Rock to review the revised tender form used to award this contract and wants to charge Castle Rock for the privilege of seeing copies of the amended design drawings Ð documents already paid for by all of us here in the Yukon.

2) Community Services should have retendered the entire project based on the redesign prior to awarding the contract to Norcope Enterprises. Castle Rock understands this was, in fact, recommended by the engineering firm and was discussed within Community Services, but never acted upon.

3) On May 26th, well before Norcope’s current protest, Castle Rock challenged the Yukon government’s action in awarding the alleged “additional work” to another contractor without putting that work out for tender to all qualified Yukon contractors.

The government has a law, the Contracting Regulations (O.I.C. 1998/179), which states the “objectives of government contract policy are to ensure activities are carried out in a fair, fiscally responsible, accountable, open and competitive manner.”

In accordance with that regulation, the government has put in place a “contracting directive” that “expresses the policy of the government of the Yukon on the process by which the government will select contractors to supply goods and services. The objectives of this directive are to ensure government contracting activities are carried out in a fair, fiscally responsible, accountable open and competitive manner.”

Contrary to its contracting regulation and directive, instead of allowing a “fair, accountable, open and competitive” process to take place on this project, Community Services ignored its own laws, established rules and sole sourced the work to a single contractor.

Worse, that contractor was the highest bidder in the project’s original tender process.

It is worth noting that Castle Rock, who was the lowest qualified bidder on the original tender (with a price some $6.5 million lower than the contractor to which YTG has handed this work), was not even told about the opportunity to bid on that work. How can that process possibly be in the best interests of Yukon taxpayers?

Castle Rock will not join the protest currently underway at the Yukon government main building in any manner.

Castle Rock does not support Norcope Enterprises as Castle Rock believes Norcope Enterprises should never have been awarded the Whistle Bend phase one and two project to begin with.

Castle Rock does not support Community Services as the current protest could have been prevented if they would have adhered to the laws of the Yukon, the Yukon contracting directive, the Yukon tendering processes and the award process of the Whistle Bend stage one and two project.

Castle Rock has raised its issues with Community Services and the bid challenge committee. It will seek to resolve all the issues surrounding this department and project, including pursuing the matter before the Yukon territorial court if necessary.

It is time this department is held accountable for its practices. Yukon residents are entitled to have their government act in accordance with its own laws.

Castle Rock is committed to protecting the integrity of a process that is supposed to be “fair, fiscally responsible, accountable, open and competitive” for the benefit of all Yukoners.

Ron Bonnycastle, president

Paul Hutlet, vice-president

Castle Rock Enterprises