In the News Archive
August 2004

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Who’s who in Canada’s new Cabinet

Announced in mid-July, 2004, the following are Prime Minister Paul Martin’s new Cabinet:

The Honourable Jacob Austin

Leader of the Government in the Senate

The Honourable Jean Lapierre

Minister of Transport

The Honourable Ralph Goodale

Minister of Finance

The Honourable Anne McLellan

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

The Honourable Lucienne Robillard

President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

The Honourable Stéphane Dion

Minister of the Environment

The Honourable Pierre Pettigrew

Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Honourable Andy Scott

Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-status Indians

The Honourable James Scott Peterson

Minister of International Trade

The Honourable Andrew Mitchell

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

The Honourable William (Bill) Graham

Minister of National Defence

The Honourable Albina Guarnieri

Minister of Veterans Affairs

The Honourable Reg Alcock

President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

The Honourable Geoff Regan

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

The Honourable Tony Valeri

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

The Honourable Aileen Carroll

Minister of International Cooperation

The Honourable Irwin Cotler

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

The Honourable Judy Sgro

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

The Honourable Ruben John Efford

Minister of Natural Resources

The Honourable Liza Frulla

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women

The Honourable Guiseppe (Joe) Volpe

Minister of Human Resource and Skills Development

The Honourable Joseph Frank Fontana

Minister of Labour and Housing

The Honourable Scott Brison

Minister of Public Works and Government Services

The Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh

Minister of Health

The Honourable Ken Dryden

Minister of Social Development

The Honourable David Emerson

Minister of Industry

The Honourable Raymond Chan

Minister of State (Multiculturalism)

The Honourable Claudette Bradshaw

Minister of State (Human Resources Development)

The Honourable John McCallum

Minister of National Revenue

The Honourable Stephen Owen

Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister of State (Sport)

The Honourable Joseph McGuire

Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

The Honourable Joseph (Joe) Comuzzi

Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

The Honourable Mauril Bélanger

Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Minister responsible for Official Languages and Democratic Reform, and Associate Minister of National Defence

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett

Minister of State (Public Health)

The Honourable Jacques Saada

Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie

The Honourable John Ferguson Godfrey

Minister of State (Infrastructure and Communities)

The Honourable Tony Ianno

Minister of State (Families and Caregivers)

Accenture underpins US visitor tracking program

In early June, the Homeland Security Department (DHS) of the United States awarded Accenture a contract for its new border security program, US VISIT. The program tracks foreign visitors entering and exiting the country – nonimmigrant visitors will have two fingerprint scans and a digital photo taken as they enter the US.

The contract has a minimum value of US$10 million and the potential to be US$10 billion. Under the contract – five years with five one-year options for extension – Accenture will provide services that could include strategic support, design and integration activities, technical solutions, deployment activities, training and organizational change management. Lockheed Martin and Computer Sciences Corporation had also bid on the contract.

Calling for Congressional oversight of the contract, Texas Representative, Jim Turner, articulated his concerns saying, “Right now, we do not know how the system will work, who will be covered, what technologies will be deployed, and, how much the whole thing will cost” … and he also said the award gives “unprecedented authority to a private contractor to design and build a border security system for the United States that will have long term implications for our national security, our international relations, and the economies of border communities across the country.”

In addition to Turner’s concerns and despite fears of lawsuits and delaying improvements to border security, Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Marion Berry immediately put forward an amendment to the DHS Appropriations Bill that would nullify the contract, arguing that it is “anti-American to award a contract to a company headquartered offshore to intentionally avoid paying US taxes.” (Accenture’s parent company is headquartered in Bermuda.)

They also wrote Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge asking him to reconsider the contract award. The letter says, “By moving overseas in order to reduce their tax burden, Accenture has not only cost the US Treasury millions of dollars which could be put to use in improving our homeland security, but they have placed loyal US companies at a permanent competitive disadvantage.”

A company spokesperson, denied the accusations saying, “Accenture was never organized under a US corporation. Contractually, all of the work on US VISIT will be done in the US and Accenture LLP will pay taxes on that work.” Despite the furor, Accenture plans to go ahead with issuing subcontracts.

Prince Edward Island business goes to Athens Olympics

Adapted from an article from ITWorld, ?2004

Kodak Canada Inc., located in Summerside, PEI, is supplying medical imaging equipment to the hospital located in the athletes’ village at the Games. Participating athletes, trainers and family receive free medical and dental treatment as part of their Olympic experience.

The equipment includes diagnostic equipment, computer servers, hardware, special monitors for displaying medical images and an information system to keep track of data, as well as store, archive and transfer images and information across a secure network. For example, an x-ray can be converted to a digital image in seconds that can then be quickly viewed by a medical specialist on site, or at a remote location. Speedy diagnosis and treatment is key for athletes in competition.

Sean Booth, a lead engineer for Kodak, explains that the information system is the centre of expertise at the company’s Summerside location. The system is capable of voice recognition – a doctor can vocally describe the information from an x-ray and the system converts that to text to deliver as a report – and the system’s ability to interface with other hospital systems, regardless of location, allows information and medical images to be shared. A patient’s medical images are linked with his or her medical record and then stored and archived.

Mississauga’s eCity wins award

In early July the Municipal Information Systems Association (MISA) presented Mississauga with the “Excellence in Municipal Systems Award” in recognition of the City’s groundbreaking next-generation municipal website. The award honours the innovative thinking and leadership demonstrated by Mississauga’s eCity portal, which provides citizens virtual, self-serve access to City Hall 24/7. Jack Lawrence, director of Information Technology and Sven Tretrop, eCity portal project leader accepted the award on behalf of the eCity team.

The eCity portal is a result of a private-public partnership between Bell Canada and the City of Mississauga. Ten city staff from various departments worked with Bell to build the system, which is now hosted off-site at Bell Canada. Bell is re-marketing the system to municipalities as an "out-of-the-box" solution – one that does not require local web hosting. Mississauga is the first large municipality in Canada to host its website outside of City Hall.

US procurement reform – no exceptions to regs

Adapted from articles at www.govexec.com

The US is doing some procurement reform of its own, recently announcing a joint initiative by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the General Services Administration (GSA). The initiative, Get it Right, which promotes zero-tolerance for cutting corners around acquisition laws and regulations, is a response to an ongoing investigation of GSA contracting and reports of misuse of contracting schedules by the GSA’s Federal Technology Service (FTS) to award the reconstruction work taking place in Iraq.

FTS administers technology-related contracts on behalf of other agencies and the DoD is their largest customer. GSA audits showed some FTS offices were using contracting mechanisms designed for technology to award non-technology related work and that some contracts were awarded without proper competition. Certain DoD purchases are legally required to be solicited among a minimum of three vendors.

Under the new policy, for all purchases of goods and services worth more than $100,000, DoD contracting officers must determine:

  • if the purchase is within the scope of the contract;
  • whether it is more cost-effective to use an in-house contracting office; and
  • if they use an outside contracting agency, they must ensure the agency uses the appropriate contracting mechanism and have a plan in place to administer it. A DoD contracting officer will be required to approve these contracts in writing.

Fulfillment of these obligations will create an audit trail on how a contract was awarded and what was spent. As well, Defense program managers, financial managers and contractors also will be more closely scrutinized. Program managers must determine that there is a real need to spend funds; financial managers must ensure that money is properly handled; and contractors are expected to notify government officials regarding work they feel is outside the scope of their contract.

GSA plans to educate its contracting workforce on proper procedures. According to a set of GSA briefing points, GSA employees are using "checklists to self-assess proper usage of GSA contract vehicles." The agency is also trying to determine if it is staffed adequately to handle the annual workload.

Government proponents of the new policy see it as an improvement over existing regulations.

Linux makes moves in governments

Adapted from an article by: Matthew Broersma, Techworld.com, (14 Jul 2004)

Large organizations, particularly in the public sector, are increasingly building open source software into their IT buying cycles, according to a study from research firm IDC. The study found that organizations are using more external open-source services, particularly consulting and server migration, rather than relying on the decisions of internal IT staff.

Recently the French Ministry of Equipment – whose IT systems include 60,000 workstations and aging 2,000 Windows NT servers, spread across multiple locations and local administrations – made the move to Linux, migrating 1,500 of the Windows NT servers to a specially developed version of MandrakeSoft SA’s Mandrake Linux Corporate Server.

For the ministry, the switch is partly to avoid being locked into a particular vendor technology, as well as to reduce costs. Linux, like other open-source software, uses a licence that prevents a single company from controlling the technology; customers can theoretically migrate from one distribution to another with a minimum of hassle.

The move to open source seems to gaining steam. Earlier in July three French government-funded research organizations unveiled a new, GPL-compatible open-source licence called CeCILL, designed to make the open-source software more compatible with French law and facilitate its adoption.

As well, the government of New South Wales, Australia recently switched thousands of Windows desktops to Sun Microsystems’ Linux-based Java Desktop System, and Bergen, Norway consolidated older Windows and Unix servers on Novell’s SuSe Linux Enterprise Server 8.

Halifax area growth spurs road improvements

Nova Scotia and Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) are partnering to build a stronger and safer transportation network that will ease traffic congestion resulting from the region’s unprecedented growth in recent years. The road improvements tendered in the multi-million dollar project include Highway 11, MicMac Boulevard, the McCulloch Interchange, the addition of one northbound lane to the bridge and its approaches across Lake MicMac.

Burnaby, BC shares in energy saving contract

In early July, the City of Burnaby and Honeywell Building Solutions launched energy services partnership to improve the Burnaby’s energy efficiency, reduce environmental emissions and is expected to save the city $500,000 annually in utility and operational costs.

The project will span more than 12 years and is estimated to cost $6.4 million. The city expects to improve the indoor environment for staff and citizens using city facilities and reduce green house gas emissions by 1,693 tonnes annually. In addition Burnaby will benefit from incentive grants from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and BC Hydro’s PowerSmart program, as well as the energy management expertise Honeywell provides through Energy Performance Contracting (www.honeywell.com/buildingsolutions).

Energy and operational savings – quantified by Honeywell on an annual basis over the term of the partnership – are used to fund the cost of the program. Construction was scheduled to begin later in July with Honeywell using new technologies, energy efficient equipment and automated facility controls to upgrade lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation and control systems in city buildings.


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