The Trudeau government is seeking to award a $120,000 sole-sourced contract for “security council training” to a company chaired by former Liberal MP Allan Rock.
According to a government notice, the contract is to provide Global Affairs staff with specialized training for countries preparing for membership on the United Nations Security Council.
“This training must also address thematic and country priorities of interest to Canada in its preparation for a seat on the Council,” reads a description of the Advance Contract Award Notice (ACAN). The notice says the contract is scheduled to run from Feb. 24 to the end 2020.
Canada is eyeing a non-permanent seat on the Security Council beginning Jan. 1, 2021, and is facing competition from countries like Norway and Ireland for one of two available seats in the upcoming June election.
The UN council — comprised of five permanent members and 10 non-permanent ones — can authorize everything from military action, to peacekeeping missions and economic sanctions.
Global Affairs is planning on handing out the contract to the Security Council Report, a non-profit based in New York which is chaired by Allan Rock, a former cabinet minister who served under prime minister Jean Chretien and also served as Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations from 2004-2006.
If no other company or supplier submits a competing statement to the government by Jan. 31 that can meet the department’s detailed requirements, the contract is automatically awarded.
“Should Canada receive a statement of capabilities from a supplier that contains sufficient information … a competitive process will be triggered with a technical and financial evaluation methodology of the bids proposed by the potential bidders,” the notice says.
A spokesperson for Global Affairs said the training will “enhance Canada’s ability to engage multilaterally on key global security issues.”
“It will be valuable irrespective of the result of the June vote,” said Angela Savard in a statement, noting that the training was recommended by several experts and that 31 other countries have participated in the programs.
The tender notice says the training sessions will teach Canadian personnel about the responsibilities of the security council, including resolution drafting and negotiation, considerations about peace operations and the council’s recent actions on various issues, and members’ positions and interests.
The organization’s website says its mission is to advance the effectiveness of the UN Security Council by providing information about its activities.
“We seek to achieve this by making available timely, balanced, high-quality information about the activities of the Council and its subsidiary bodies,” the website says. “By convening stakeholders to deepen the analysis of issues before the Council and its working methods and performance.”
Global News reached out to the company and Rock for comment but has not received any response.
Canada has so far spent just under $2 million campaigning for a security council seat, according to government estimates. The figure does not include the salaries of the 13 government employees working full-time on Canada’s bid.
“A campaign for a non-permanent seat on the UN requires time and resources,” reads a note on the council bid prepared last month for Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. “Canada is running a fiscally responsible campaign, which will allow us to strengthen our diplomatic ties in the process and advance other priorities.”
Countries vying for a seat need support from at least two-thirds of the General Assembly to get elected to the council – 129 votes if all member-states vote. Canada hasn’t been a member of the security council since 1999-2000 and lost its last bid for a seat in 2010.