Tax­pay­ers take bath on ‘used’ RCMP cars

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - OPINION -

let’s hope the rCmP are bet­ter at catch­ing crim­i­nals than they are at be­ing used car sales­peo­ple. be­cause it looks like Cana­dian tax­pay­ers are go­ing to be on the hook for a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar bill, af­ter the moun­ties bought 631 new ve­hi­cles for $23 mil­lion for the June 8-9 G7 sum­mit, hosted by Prime min­is­ter Justin trudeau in la mal­baie, Que.

Now that the sum­mit is long gone, the gov­ern­ment is hav­ing trou­ble sell­ing off the ve­hi­cles, only 51 of which are be­ing re­tained for gov­ern­ment use.

an­other 167 were sold through a gov­ern­ment sur­plus web­site from au­gust to oc­to­ber re­cov­er­ing $6.3 mil­lion, but fig­ures ob­tained by the Na­tional Post’s mariedanielle Smith show that de­spite of­fer­ing huge dis­counts, sales are slow.

For ex­am­ple, so far, the gov­ern­ment has sold 29 of 140 new Chrysler 300s it pur­chased — with a sug­gested re­tail price of $41,00 to $49,000 ac­cord­ing to driv­ — for an aver­age price of $27,780.

al­most half of th­ese ve­hi­cles had fewer than 100 kilo­me­tres on them.

the rCmP says it de­ter­mined it was more eco­nom­i­cal to buy the ve­hi­cles than lease them, based on the cost to lease the ve­hi­cles for one year, ver­sus ve­hi­cle de­pre­ci­a­tion dur­ing one year.

but that raises unan­swered ques­tions about why the gov­ern­ment couldn’t rent ve­hi­cles in­stead of leas­ing them, or use ve­hi­cles from ex­ist­ing gov­ern­ment fleets, or bor­row cars from other po­lice forces?

the rCmP also says buy­ing the ve­hi­cles out­right made it eas­ier to prop­erly equip them months in ad­vance of the G7.

but the low mileage on many of them — rang­ing from 41 km to an aver­age of 1,726 km on some of the mod­els the gov­ern­ment is try­ing to sell, raises the ques­tion of why they were needed in the first place.

the moun­ties said while the pur­chases were based on “oper­a­tional re­quire­ments” they won’t go into de­tails on how the ve­hi­cles were used for “se­cu­rity rea­sons.”

that’s a catch-all ex­cuse that can’t be tested against re­al­ity, of­ten used by gov­ern­ments when they don’t want to dis­cuss an em­bar­rass­ing is­sue.

Given that, this would be an ap­pro­pri­ate topic for in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the au­di­tor gen­eral, to de­ter­mine if tax­pay­ers re­ceived good value for money for what seems like a waste­ful de­ci­sion.

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