Liberals poised to shut down defence publications

CHRIS MacLEAN  –  Oct 27, 2016

According to a late-breaking report by Murray Brewster of CBC News, the Government of Canada intends to make every effort to single-handedly put an end to defence publications in Canada.

Defence publications in Canada provide a service to Canada and to the industry and to the military and to the government itself by providing a dedicated stream of informed comment, analysis and education on topics that are of relevance to the defence community writ large.

As everyone expects this to be a free service, we depend almost exclusively on advertising to cover the high costs of writers, production and distribution, and have no sources other than the defence industry itself... an yet, according to the CSC draft RFP reported on last night by CBC News, the Government of Canada apparently sees fit to kill our business by requiring that any companies interested in bidding, or any of their subcontractors, stop all advertising – or the bid will be instantly deemed non-compliant.

According to the CBC News report by Murray Brewster:

"Neither the bidders, nor any of their respective subcontractors, employees or representatives shall make any public comment, respond to questions in a public forum or carry out any activities to either criticize another bidder or any bid — or publicly advertise their qualifications,"


If this is allowed to stand, and permeate to every large contract, we have just learned that our business will close immediately.


In a follow-up email response to FrontLine on November 9th, Lisa Campbell, ADM, Defence and Marine Procurement Branch, wrote:

As you may be aware, Public Services and Procurement Canada issued a clarification notice on October 27, 2016, which stated:

"The intent of the clause is simply to encourage bidders to respect and preserve the integrity of the solicitation process and focus on the content of their proposals. Companies are free to promote their products and services, but the RFP asks that they not do so in a way that would discredit the procurement process or other bidders."

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. has since advised all of the prospective bidders that the request for proposal has been amended. The amended clause now states that:

"A bidder shall not, and shall ensure that its subcontractors, employees and representatives do not issue or disseminate any media release, public announcement or public disclosure (whether for publication in the press, on the radio, television, internet or any other medium) with respect to the outcome of the RFP process, including any determination of the Preferred Bidder or Selected Bidder, without the prior written consent of ISI and in any event not prior to the official announcement by Canada."

The revised amendment restricts the advertisement of participation, or another's participation, within a governmental procurement process. With regard to advertising for the purpose of promoting and selling goods and services, your publication may continue to do so. We appreciate your interest in this matter.

I've been contemplating this response for two weeks now, and I can't decide if this is better or worse, however, I am still convinced the entire sentence needs to be eliminated in order for free speech to be protected in Canada. What do you think?

— Chris MacLean, the editor and publisher of FrontLine Defence and FrontLine Safety and Security magazines, is interested in hearing your thoughts on this matter. Call or email her directly 1-613-747-1138 or cmaclean@frontline-canada.com