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ArriveCAN App Still Haunts Canadians

[:en]Since its inception almost two years ago, I have been a vocal proponent of scrapping the ArriveCAN app and its mandatory use.

Fellow Conservative MPs and my office heard many stories of constituents being told to unnecessarily quarantine by the app.

I had families call my office saying they were fined thousands of dollars at the border after not producing the ArriveCAN app on their phones due to poor cell coverage.

In testimony heard at the International Trade Committee earlier this year, we learned that American tourism is not expected to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2026. The last thing Canada needed was another deterrent like the ArriveCAN app to impede an already struggling tourism industry.

Although Conservatives demanded scientific proof from the Liberal government justifying the ArriveCAN app, they failed to provide Canadians with any scientific data for the justification of its creation. They also have not provided any credible scientific data on its effectiveness in preventing the spread of COVID-19 during its mandatory use, nor any scientific data on why it was suddenly not required upon entry to Canada as of October 1st of this year.

All we continued to hear were Political Scientists from the Liberal party saying, “It was based on science.”

When Canadians thought the anguish of the ArriveCAN would end on October 1st, Canadians breathed a sigh of relief – until more troubling news surfaced last week. It was revealed that the initial cost of $80,000 for the ArriveCAN app over two years ago has now cost Canadian taxpayers over $54 million.

What is also concerning is that the CEO of ThinkON learned his company was listed as one of the companies involved in creating the ArriveCAN app. The only problem, ThinkOn did not work on the ArriveCAN app, nor did the company receive the $1.2 million in federal funding as stated by Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) documentation.

To their credit, CBSA admitted that ThinkOn was “Included in error” and has started a full investigation. CBSA never clarified who received the contract, nor did they answer questions on who or which company(s) received the $1.2 million in federal funding. But it begs the question, how does $1.2 million
dollars of Canadian taxpayers’ money get misassigned or misreported??

We are also now learning about the originators of the ArriveCAN app, two salespeople named Darren Anthony and Kristian Firth, who do not build apps or write computer software.

The two-person firm of GCstrategies told committee last week that they have billed Ottawa over $44 million for IT services, including the ArriveCAN app, and over the past two years have taken commissions ranging between 15 and 30 percent, equating to $6.6 million and $13.2 million.

The Federal government essentially paid GCstrategies millions to hire programmers to do the work instead of using its own Federal agency Shared Services Canada.

If GCstrategies is one of many contracted companies that made this much money, which other Liberal(s) got rich in this scandal as well?

Bottom line, the Liberal government continues to shroud itself in fiscal controversies, whether by creating a half-trillion-dollar deficit, the WE charity scandal, and now the ArriveCAN app. Be assured, Conservatives will continue to keep the Liberal government misspending to account.