Opposition MPs joined forces on Wednesday to pass a motion calling for checks on the federal government’s border application ArriveCan.
The petition, passed 174 to 149, with the backing of Conservative, Bloc Quebecois and NDP MPs, calls on the Auditor General of Canada to “conduct a performance audit, including payments, contracts, contracts and subcontracts for all aspects of the ArriveCan Application and to prioritize this investigation.”
The proposal was put forward by Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre as one of his party’s latest opposition day proposals, which MPs spent most of their time debating on Tuesday. This is the second motion through calling the Auditor General to consider ArriveCan, after NDP MP Gord Johns has successfully implemented a request at the Government Activity and Estimation Committee to request the Auditor General to proceed. audit application development costs and adhere to Treasury Department guidelines for best value.
These push for an investigation into the controversial federal app come after a series of stories about the app’s estimated $54 million cost and the contracts awarded to build and maintain it.
“When $54 million is out the door and government officials can’t tell their story straight about where it went, the least we can do is an audit,” Poilievre said on Thursday. Three when speaking on the proposal, begins with a preamble calling on the government to “eliminate wasteful spending” with the current cost of living crisis.
During Tuesday’s debate, MPs from the Bloc Quebecois and NDP spoke about voters’ complaints about the use of the app and questioned why the federal government could not create the app internally and in a more cost effective way.
Liberal and Green Party MPs voted against the proposal after Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino defended the app’s procurement process during Tuesday’s debate, saying what they had done. possible to get “taxpayer’s value for money.” Mendicino said that ArriveCan’s costs included development as well as maintenance and told House that a review of the contracts was ongoing.
While the petition is non-binding, the office of the Auditor General Karen Hogan told CTVNews.ca that when MPs passed a petition asking to conduct an audit, it “brings an audit”. a considerable weight when we determine the work that we will do”.
“The final decision on the audit of what belongs to the Auditor General. A spokesman for the Office of the Auditor General, Vincent Frigon, said final decisions on what to audit are made based on OAG’s mandate, the magnitude of the matter, the existing audit schedule and available resources”.
Introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, ArriveCan became mandatory as a way to screen domestic travelers arriving in Canada for their travel and health-related information, including their health status. vaccination.
After months of defending the sometimes-faulty app and insisting it was an “important tool” despite pressure from the travel industry and opposition MPs to remove it, the federal government has allowed use the ArriveCan option on October 1st.
The app can still be used by travelers to fill out customs and immigration forms prior to arrival, with the federal government stating the option will save Canadians time at the airport.
According to Hogan’s office, the timing of performance reviews may vary depending on their size and scope, and the reviews to be presented to Congress in the spring of 2023 have ” is well underway.”
“It is difficult to predict how quickly the ArriveCAN application test will go without more information,” Frigon said.
Meanwhile, the Government Activity and Estimates Committee agreed to carry out a separate study, seeing that MPs asked the government to turn over unverified documents related to the planning, contracting and subcontracting during application development and launch.
With files from CTVNews.ca’s Michael Lee