Feds sell off 575 vehicles bought for G7
TWO-DAY EVENT $19.5M realized in resale of cars bought for $23M
OTTAWA • There were no big tent events, employee pricing offers or inflatable flailing tube men, but the government managed to sell 575 cars in 2018 and 2019, after buying them for just a few days as part of the 2018 G7 summit.
The sale of 575 vehicles brought the government $19.5 million after it initially spent $23 million to have the vehicles for the two-day summit.
The government purchased 631 brand new vehicles for the summit in Charlevoix, Que., and when the red carpets had been rolled up they kept just a few dozen.
The remaining 575 vehicles were put up for sale on the government’s online auction site and sold to customers in the Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa areas.
The total cost of the twoday event was $600 million and is best remembered for ending with a Twitter tirade from U.S. president Donald Trump directed at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
For what they then described as motorcade purposes the government bought 154 Chevrolet Suburbans, but through 2018 and 2019 they sold nearly all of them. The most recent model year of that large SUV runs roughly $65,000 to nearly $90,000 for the fully loaded models.
The government provided the raw sales data on the 575 vehicles the government sold through an order paper question in the House of Commons. The National Post crunched the numbers and found 141 of the Suburbans were sold for an average of $56,279.
After buying 140 Chrysler 300 models, the government sold 134 of the vehicles for an average price of $26,719. The starting price for the 2020 version of that vehicle is over $40,000.
The government also sold 27 of the 28 Dodge Chargers purchased for the event at an average price of $29,194 and 97 Toyota Sienna models went out the door for an average of $34,227.
The government also dumped most of the Ford Escapes it purchased for an average price of $22,343. It unloaded 41 Mitsubishi Outlanders, all of them for the same price of $22,000. The Nissan Rogues the government purchased for the summit went out the door for an average price of $19,301 and five Ford Explorers were sold for an average price of $32,018.
In total, the government received $19,481,801.71 for all the vehicles it sold. The RCMP, who initially purchased the vehicles, said they could not provide a total cost for the original purchase, but shortly after the summit, the government pegged the cost at $23 million.
Stéfanie Hamel, a spokesperson for Public Services and Procurement Canada, said all of the vehicles were sold through the government’s surplus website and there were no commissions or extra costs for selling the fleet.
“All personnel who worked on the G7 vehicle sales through GCSurplus were government of Canada employees,” she said in an email. “There were no costs related to commissions or other payments for the sales of the vehicles.”
Many of the vehicles were virtually brand new and had just a few dozen kilometres on them when the government put them up for sale.
Conservative MP Kelly McCauley said buying a huge fleet of new vehicles for a two-day summit is a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars.
“This is just part of this systemic issue that we’ve got with this current government where there’s just zero lack of oversight, attempts to block transparency on it and a lack of caring for the taxpayer,” he said.
McCauley said some of the motorcade vehicles might have had to be specially outfitted, but he has trouble believing the mini vans and small SUVs needed modifications to ferry delegations to and from the airport.
He said he doesn’t understand why the government didn’t consider renting the vehicles.
“Having worked in the car rental industry, I think it would have been a lot better for taxpayers if they just rented the cars. And 600 is not a large amount of cars to find for a two-day program,” he said.
“It’s just no oversight and no consideration for taxpayers’ money.”
RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Caroline Duval said buying the new vehicles was the right choice for this event, but doing so again would depend on the details of the event.
“This approach was a success for the government specific to the 2018 G7 Summit. As for the future, an analysis would be conducted considering the factors specific to the summit, therefore, we are unable to predict if the same process would be used.”
In addition to full delegations from the other six G7 countries, there were representatives from several other nations and international organizations at the event.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meet at the 2018 two-day G7 Summit held in Quebec.