Do you remember the great Sheila Copps flag giveaway? Back in 1996 Sheila was busy flogging flags to anyone with a postal code, all in the name of National Unity. For Flags Unlimited in Ontario it was like winning the lottery as the government paid 3 million dollars to the flag maker, to make sure we had something to run up the flag pole.
But a simple thing, like making a flag would somehow end up lost in the government’s byzantine way of doing business. The little flag company had to deal with a middleman, one which had connections to the Prime Minister of the day, Jean Chretien. Lafleur Communications were the flag brokers, charging a standard commission rate of 17.65% to do whatever it is middlemen do when taking phone calls from the government. Taking in roughly 600,000 dollars just for placing the flag order! Putting in place an unusual procedure, where immediate payment was made, upon an invoice being provided. (A highly unheard of practice in government procurement)
CBC television has done a wonderful job of tracking the deal, from the early days of the plan Sheila heralded as a great push for unity, to the delivery of the flags that apparently could not fly.
Yes, 3.4 million dollars later, we ended up with a flag that had nothing. It seems the flag designed did not meet government specifications, just some red and white cloth with no way to attach it to anything.
Somehow, between the order maker and the order taker, the order facilitator messed up the message. The flags made a wonderful wall decoration, but don’t dare try and put it up a flag pole.
You can be sure that no one is going to salute this waste of our money!
The above item is from my Boondoggle blog, for more postings and links on government check it out.