Last year, Lethbridge City Council approved a series of recommendations in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. One of those recommendations included strategic planning around Indigenous purchasing and procurement. The scope of recommendation #15 has since been expanded. The Economic Standing Policy committee met on Wednesday afternoon and discussed the Benefits-Driven Procurement Strategy Update.
The motion to file was defeated 4-4. The report, which was submitted by Indigenous Relations Advisor, Perry Stein, and Purchasing Manager, Tyler Kacsor, proposed that the scope to purchase and procure be expanded to look through a “social” and “benefits-driven” lens, and included analysis of purchasing from Indigenous, local, and social groups.
Acting Mayor Rajko Dodic expressed concerns that the recommendation had an agenda to push “economic affirmative action” and councillor John Middleton-Hope felt that this type of procurement process would give a leg up to Indigenous and special interest groups. He says there should be a level playing field in the procurement process.
The report was compiled with data from other 120 stakeholders and was conducted by research firm Buy Social Canada. The cost for the research was close to $60,000.
Dodic and Middleton-Hope, along with Councillor Ryan Parker and Mayor Blaine Hyggen were the four who voted against the motion to file.