In a follow-up to yesterday's news that the Conservatives caved to industry pressure and killed an online tool that would have helped Canadian consumers find more affordable cell phone plans, former Conservative Premier of New Brunswick, current industry lobbyist, and likely future Stephen Harper successor Bernard Lord has confirmed he helped convince the Conservatives to kill the tool:
Bernard Lord, the head of the CWTA and former Conservative premier of New Brunswick, said he did meet with Industry Canada officials to discuss the calculator. The CWTA's position was that the calculator was flawed since it did not take into account data plans, bundle discounts and hardware subsidies offered by carriers.While Lord and his industry friends may be happy with Tony Clement's capitulation, consumers aren't. While a spokesperson for Clement is desperately trying to spin...
"The minister made the right decision, to not continue to dump good taxpayer money into a tool that was ineffective," he said.
"Technical limitations prevented the officials from building a tool at this time that captures the full spectrum of offerings available to consumers in the cellphone marketplace," she said. "The proposed calculator design only considered voice communications and text messaging. As this is an industry with ever-evolving elements, such as bundles, data and seasonal offerings, it made it highly improbable to ensure that Canadians were being presented with current and relevant data."... their excuses are transparently feeble.
Liberal consumer affairs critic Dan McTeague dismissed the technical issues as an excuse and called on the government to explain the decision.And the scale of this Conservative boondoggle is growing.
"If there was a significant problem in the implementation, it would have been discovered much earlier in the process," McTeague said in a statement. "Why is the Harper government against transparency? A significant amount of taxpayer-funded government resources had already gone into this project. This calculator is especially important during these belt-tightening times."
PIAC's Lawford, who used to work for a database company, said such extra charges could have easily been added on later, after a tool for calculating basic costs was set up. He estimated the calculator project has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly even reaching into the millions. The Decima user study cost $60,000 alone.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers