Liberals cry foul as tourism department looks Outside for marketing

The Liberals want to know why Cossette Inc., a company with headquarters in Quebec and no local connection to the Yukon, won a marketing contract with the territory’s department of tourism.

The Liberals want to know why Cossette Inc., a company with headquarters in Quebec and no local connection to the Yukon, won a marketing contract with the territory’s department of tourism.

The job used to be held by Yukon’s Outside the Cube but the owner, Dee Enright, recently closed up shop.

Liberal representative Jason Cunning said the government is being hypocritical.

He pointed to the new expressly local shoes the premier bought for budget day and emails sent to all government employees reminding them to buy local.

“They can’t go and promise to break contracts into smaller bites so Yukon companies could bid and then go and award it to a big Outside company.”

In its 2011 campaign platform, the Yukon Party committed to scale government contracts to encourage bids from Yukon contractors “where feasible and economical.”

“We’re talking millions of dollars here,” Cunning said.

There’s no word yet on how much money Cossette Inc. will get to market the territory. It’s now finalizing a standing offer agreement with the Yukon government. Once that’s done the government will be able to award specific tourism destination-marketing contracts and finalize their price tags.

Two of the losing proposals had local companies as partners but were ruled out by the evaluation committee.

The department would not provide any further details about the bidders involved or why they didn’t make it to the final phases of evaluation.

“The department is not obligated to use Cossette for all of our [marketing] work,” said Jonathan Parker, the assistant director of tourism.

The department maintains they intend to continue to contract local suppliers where appropriate.

A meet and greet hosted by the department at the Days Inn last week had 40 local companies mingle and exchange business cards with Cossette Inc. representatives.

Parker said it was “very positive,” adding that Cossette Inc. can choose to sub-contract some of the work to local subsidiaries, though they are not obligated to do so.

“They have indicated they are very interested in working with local companies who have skills and knowledge about the Yukon,” Parker said.

“About 75 per cent of agencies of record flow right through to sub-contractors to fulfill their own contracts.”

The tourism department’s Vacation Planner is a $110,000 contract currently held by Aasman Brand Communications, a Whitehorse-based company, Parker added.

Contact Lauren Kaljur at

lauren.kaljur@yukon-news.com

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