Another Adscam Scandal for Canada's Liberal Party?

Canada's gun registery may end gun control in Canada.

DOUG BEAZLEY, "GUN REGISTRY COSTS THE NEXT ADSCAM," The Edmonton Sun, 11/19/2005, p.11

. . . And there's one scandal festering in the halls of power that needs another year to ripen.

I'm talking about the $500 million-plus the Liberals have spent on computer systems for the federal gun registry, the $2 billion white elephant that makes Adscam look like an expense-account pack of chewing gum.

That's over half a billion dollars, folks - more money than anyone I've talked to can recall anyone ever spending on a computer system since the damn things were invented. Wasting that kind of money takes something more than mere incompetence. Call it wilful stupidity, corruption, greed - all the ingredients that went into Adscam, with deeper pockets.

Days ago, Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz released a spreadsheet listing 24 separate contracts for "information technology" associated with the Canadian Firearms Centre. The sheet lists only contract sums - ranging from $318 million down to a piddling $19,650 - and the names of the companies involved.

There is no breakdown of how much was spent on hardware, software and staff time - this, despite months of requests from Breitkreuz's office. How much do computer systems cost? A Cray supercomputer capable of making a trillion calculations in a second will set you back about $10 million.

Nav Canada, the national agency that runs air traffic control systems, has spent about $1 billion since 1996 on upgrading systems at most of Canada's 108 federal airports.

Toronto's Pearson airport sees 400,000 flights a year; Nav Canada spent $17 million seven years ago building Pearson a brand new control tower, complete with systems and software.

The CFC system is nothing more than a database - it only needs to keep track of about eight million firearms. And yet, the feds managed to spend enough on this one database to provide computing power for a manned mission to Mars.

Something is very, very wrong here. This stinks of graft, Adscam writ twice as large. Breitkreuz thinks the feds blew a lot of money replacing earlier database systems, after it became clear they weren't capable of handling the work. But that still can't explain the whopping price tag. . . .


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