The Liberal government is refusing to reveal details about the companies that received federal contracts during the coronavirus pandemic since July 16.
According to the Canadian Press, the identities and dollar values given to companies in a $5.8 billion spending spree on personal protective equipment and medical supply contacts are being withheld from the public.
Public Services and Procurement Canada’s web page claims that the federal government is keeping the information private to protect Canada’s ability to procure items in a competitive post-pandemic medical market.
“Where we are still reliant on supply coming from overseas, we are guarding our supplier information carefully to make sure we have access to that supply chain on a continual basis should we need it,” said the department’s Deputy Minister Bill Matthews.
The latest figures show that only two-fifths of the contracts have gone to Canadian suppliers, while the rest have been awarded to overseas entities.
Critics have accused the federal government of botching Canada’s emergency preparedness program that was intended to deal with situations like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to Treasury Board disclosures from earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mishandling of Canada’s medical equipment stockpile will cost taxpayers an estimated $1.8 billion.
Since the pandemic reached Canada, the Canadian government has been buying up medical equipment at an inflated rate of 380%.
During a House of Commons health committee hearing in April, Executive Director of the Public Health Association Ian Culbert called the government’s actions regarding the stockpile its “largest failure.”
“I would say the national emergency stockpile is probably the largest failure as far as our response goes to date,” said Culbert.