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This is from the 18th Assembly, 3rd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Question 494-18(3): Sole-Source Contracting for Fuel Resupply
Oral Questions

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

I appreciate the Minister's answer. He kind of took part of my next question. Can the Minister advise this House how much the sole-source contract is worth for this three-year period?

Question 494-18(3): Sole-Source Contracting for Fuel Resupply
Oral Questions

Wally Schumann Hay River South

The term of the contract is three years. It has a value of approximately $54 million, depending on the volume of fuel that is required to resupply the communities by barge. It should be noted that either party can terminate the contract with proper notice, and the GNWT has saved approximately $600,000 per year with this contract.

Question 494-18(3): Sole-Source Contracting for Fuel Resupply
Oral Questions

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

I appreciate the Minister for providing that answer to us here today, and a little bit more information, as well. It was very helpful. Can the Minister explain why the contract was not sent out for tender process, and if he reached out to northern businesses to see if they are able to deal with this contract?

Question 494-18(3): Sole-Source Contracting for Fuel Resupply
Oral Questions

Wally Schumann Hay River South

In 2016 the department issued a tender for a resupply of fuel, and Imperial Oil was the only company that submitted a bid because Imperial Oil is the only company in Hay River that owns the infrastructure to safely unload from rail to cars into the barges.

Question 494-18(3): Sole-Source Contracting for Fuel Resupply
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Nahendeh.

Question 494-18(3): Sole-Source Contracting for Fuel Resupply
Oral Questions

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Minister for that answer. Mr. Speaker, this seems to be a large amount of money to be sole-sourced. I've looked at the Financial Administration Act, and I know the Executive Council made on behalf of the government authorized contracts, authorized to enter into a contract that falls within a class of contracts. However, the Executive Council must record its reasons for authorized contracts entered into these things. Can the Minister advise how he was able to enter a sole-source contract for this type of huge amount of money, and if there was a record of decision? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 494-18(3): Sole-Source Contracting for Fuel Resupply
Oral Questions

Wally Schumann Hay River South

The department has the authority to enter into this sole-source contract, and it was posted and recorded on the Government of the Northwest Territories e-Procurement website. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 494-18(3): Sole-Source Contracting for Fuel Resupply
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Question 495-18(3): Flexibility for Large Tenders/Northern Bids for Contracts
Oral Questions

November 1st, 2018

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Sorry, Mr. Speaker. You just caught me a bit off guard. I was trying to send a note to the Minister of Infrastructure. You didn't get it yet?

Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to ask a general question. I want to try to provide a little more detail on what I'm trying to get to, but, Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister if the Minister has any flexibility on large tenders? What I'm asking is what the flexibility would be; if the two bids were very close and there was this southern bid, would the full application of any BIP or anything that would be in a southern bid was just marginally out, I guess had more points, was low enough that the northern bidder would be close enough but not within the policy? I'd like to ask the Minister, if something was that close, for the benefit of the North, to keep the money in the North, if the Minister has flexibility to decide to go with a northern bidder? Thank you.

Question 495-18(3): Flexibility for Large Tenders/Northern Bids for Contracts
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Minister of Infrastructure.

Question 495-18(3): Flexibility for Large Tenders/Northern Bids for Contracts
Oral Questions

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When we put large projects, particularly projects over a million dollars, out to bid, there is criteria that follow the BIP policy and procurement policy, and there are a number of adjustments that are made in there for northern businesses: Local bid, BIP companies, then there's content for NWT, labour force, NWT procurement within that contract. There are a number of adjustments that are already put into place that give the Northwest Territories a little bit of an advantage over a southern contractor. These things are put into place to be able to leverage northern companies to be able to compete with big southern companies who want to bid on some of these projects.

If there was a southern company that came in lower than a northern company with that bid content, I am not going to go, and I don't think our financial administration policy is going to let us go there and just change the bid to give a northern company the edge over it because they were a little bit higher than the southern company. There's a process that's laid out, and there are a number of policies and procedures put into place to help us leverage that content for northern procurement and businesses to take advantage of that, and we have to stick to that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 495-18(3): Flexibility for Large Tenders/Northern Bids for Contracts
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

I realize that there have been adjustments to the BIP policy. I would like to ask the Minister if there would be any consideration to increasing that lower threshold. Right now, my understanding is that at about $1 million, you could have a 15 percent advantage, 20 percent advantage, but, once you get over that, then I think the preference is minor. The presence may be 3 percent, 2 percent, or a very low percentage at the end of the day. I would like to ask the Minister if he would consider again looking at that to increase that amount to try to ensure that the money stays in the North. Right now the northern companies need work, and as the current policy lies it's easy for a southern company to bid low enough to bid out the northern companies that maybe have higher operating costs by being up here.

Question 495-18(3): Flexibility for Large Tenders/Northern Bids for Contracts
Oral Questions

Wally Schumann Hay River South

First of all I think to lighten the mood it's our last day in the House. We always say the BIP policy is the best policy in the Government of the Northwest Territories, but the Minister of ENR tells me the Grubstake Program is the best policy in the Northwest Territories.

I think one of the things that I would possibly consider that would give me a little more flexibility is on some of these large projects, particularly through Infrastructure, is I can have a look at some of these bigger projects and look at if there is a way to split them up to make them not so big, maybe break them down into smaller contracts. That is something that I can endeavour to do, especially when we are rolling out some of this new money that we have got coming. That would give us, you know, a little bit more of an advantage, because I think some of the questions that come around some of these bigger projects is people always say, "Business is slow in the South, and they are starting to look north."

That could be the case, but our northern businesses have to be competitive. We have got to have value for money, and we have got to have a balance of what we are doing, but I can certainly have a look at some of these bigger contracts, particularly around some of the infrastructure stuff, and maybe looking at maybe breaking out some of these things to make them smaller pieces.

Question 495-18(3): Flexibility for Large Tenders/Northern Bids for Contracts
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

The Minister's idea about debundling, I think, is a good idea. I would like to ask the Minister, if he was to debundle a project, for example, of something that's worth $10 million debundled into two or three projects, if the smaller the bundles are the better opportunities there are for northern companies. So I would like to ask the Minister if he could break the bundles down to a point where it gives the best advantage to northern companies?

Question 495-18(3): Flexibility for Large Tenders/Northern Bids for Contracts
Oral Questions

Wally Schumann Hay River South

As I said, you know, I think that's something I can certainly have a look at. There still has to be value for money. We cannot have tailored everything to just northern businesses. We have got to have value for money because the competitive process allows for the best price to come forward for the Government of the Northwest Territories, ultimately the taxpayers and residents of the NWT. I can certainly have a look at some of these projects of concern. It's just taking a highway contract, for example, possibly maybe breaking out the crushing totally separate from maybe the whole project, being crushing to drainage to embankment, to all these types of things, to bring these projects to a little bit smaller scale where NWT businesses will have a little more competitive advantage versus a fully bundled project.