Feds sell off 575 ve­hi­cles bought for G7

TWO-DAY EVENT $19.5M re­al­ized in re­sale of cars bought for $23M

Ottawa Citizen - - Canada - RYAN TUMILTY

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.

SAUL LOEB / AFP / GETTY IM­AGES FILES

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau meet at the 2018 two-day G7 Sum­mit held in Que­bec.

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