The process of awarding the $95,000 G7 2018 photo contract was a fraud, as federal officials in charge of the contract were in collusion with the winner of the contract, Keepoint’s specialist Fabien Durand.
At the G7 in Charlevoix in 2018, the “Host G7 Photography” contract was illegally and fraudulently granted to a person with no photography experience. His speciality? Expert filling federal tenders! Nothing else and the government did everything to make keepoint win! Even hiding the call for bids from Canadians to better give it to Keepoint!
Mr. Fabien Durand of Keepoint won the contract even though according to the qualifications required for the contract he could not participate in this federal RFP because he did not meet any of the mandatory criteria, and had none of the experience required.
He submitted a contract proposal perfectly knowing that its exact content was not important since he was colluding with the government’s contract awarding officials.
Fabien Durand of Keepoint won this contract to provide photo services at the 2018 G7 in Charlevoix, but he had NEVER made a professional photograph in his life!
Fabien Durand of Keepoint is not a beginner when it comes to applying for government contracts. He is not a person who ignores basic things like the mandatory criteria and mandatory experience required to submit a federal bid. Even the most inexperienced applicants for these federal contracts know that bids that fail to include the mandatory criteria are eliminated early in the process, and bids submitted without supporting qualifications are rejected immediately.
Mr. Durand boasts on his website of being a specialist in federal tenders, with a track record of success in winning federal contracts. In this aspect of the competition, he is certainly not a beginner – in 2012 he won a call for tenders from Ste-Justine Hospital to be their specialist in contracts and tenders. An agreement of $135,000. He was also a administrator for Videotron’s tender from 2011 to 2016.
As a specialist in tenders for government contracts, Mr Durand must have known that his candidacy for the role of G7 photographer would be rejected from the start … My question is: why did he continue the process?
It’s simple, he knew he would win. The deck was stacked.
Without any experience in professional photo assignments, who would do the work?
His friends in the government Global Affairs Canada media office who gave him the contract!
On January 25, 2018,
Global Affairs Canada posted the first version of the Request for Proposal, on Buyandsell.gc.ca, which closed on March 1, 2018, with an expense limitation clause of $75,000. and where experience with VVIPs and PPIs was sought, as well as experience with international events, and the RFP specifically asked for experience on at least 2 major international multilateral meetings.
A request that limited the contract to international specialty companies, such as the Canadian Press.
The contract also included a security clearance for all 15 members of the team.
The contract also included a SECRET security clearance for the 15 members of the team.
Having received no bids because the criteria were incredibly high, the government secretly produced, on March 26, 2018, a second version of the Request for Proposal, the closing date of which was April 16, 2018.
The course of events
However, this version was for them alone because they hid it from their website, never publish it ! This is a fundamental part of the bidding.
The did prevent all Canadian photographers and Canadian photographic company to participate at the tender process and since I was new to bidding, I did not see anything at that time. They invited me directly because I had registered in the “Interested companies” in the first version, I told myself I will follow the file, I can surely at least work on it.
In their shuffle, they even used the same RFP number – but the criteria had dropped drastically, and they increased the expense limitation clause from one version to another.
This undisclosed change to the process was an effective and illegal action to prevent all Canadians from participating
The spending limitation clause was now $95,000 and virtually all criteria had been lowered, which should have allowed many more Canadian photographic companies to participate, but this new tender, that should have been more accessible and more lucrative, was NEVER published. They kept it secret!
They even removed the security on the second RFP !
In the first version we have a SECRET safety rating, the appendix C on the security has been completely forgotten in their second RFP hidden version.
The it was a piece of cake to give an easy contract to Keepoint’s Fabien Durand.
So we were two players in a competition that was decided in advance.
But why did the government invite me to participate in this version?
Simply because they needed a second bidder…
I was the stooge invited to the diner for schmucks .
A unilaterally won tender would most likely be investigated, and they knew it.
How did I realize this?
Of course, I lost the tender, and the story could have stopped there, but the world of professional photography is very small in Quebec City, and I ultimately discovered what had happened.
On Monday, May 7, 2018
I was informed by e-mail that I had come in 2nd in the federal tender.
There were only two participants for a $95,000 photo contract, the largest ever awarded in Quebec.
It was therefore won by Keepoint for $49,515 and it apparently had a technical note higher than ours!
The price differential between the first position and the second was only 3 points in the end – all that seemed very weird. We had answered all questions and requests for the RFP religiously, but Keepoint, with no experience in the professional photo field, was awarded the contract.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Mr. Francis Vachon, a professional photographer that I had included on my team in the list that I sent with my submission, called me and mentioned me that he had been contacted the day after the closing of the call for tenders to work at the G7, by political photographer Clément Allard, who had received a request from a certain Mrs. Robson from the federal government.
So I contacted Ms. Véronique Sabourin, the head of the government’s contract for photography, to get an explanation. She replied that they did not have time for a debriefing, that the G7 was in less than a month, and that I should send them the questions by email!
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
When I informed the government contract officials that I had asked the ombudsman for explanations, they gave me an appointment the next day for a debriefing at their Estimauville office.
Thursday morning, May 10th
In the debriefing with the government, project leader Dave Mathews informed me that the supposed requests were a human mistake, that it was Ms. Robson’s mistake… that she was new and… old.
Back home, a simple internet search allowed me to learn that Ms. Robson was not new at all, and that she had a lot of experience as a media officer, and that she used to work on this kind of records. She was a great Canadian media specialist and journalist, a veteran of CBC, and knew very well what she was doing…
The lies were just beginning!
Friday, May 11, 2018 – During an official phone call by the Ombudsman to the government contract manager, the price of the contract was raised by Ms. Véronique Sabourin from $49,500 to $95,000. This is the maximum allowed for the contract in one day! The ombudsman informed me that he had to close the complaint because his working threshold was only $101,100 and the amount was exceeded when taxes were applied!
The ombudsman therefore wanted to close my complaint that day by lying to us on the threshold of his work, which supposedly exceeded $101,100 when the taxes should not be considered.
By closing the complaint illegally the ombudsman would deprive us of an investigation that should have continued because taxes should not be included in the threshold of the ombudsman’s jurisdiction!
Tuesday, May 14, 2018
Following a bizarre response from the director, Ms. Sophie Bainbridge, on why the price could vary at any time despite a call for tenders where the needs were clear and defined in advance, the ombudsman finally accepted the complaint. He asked Mr. Clément Allard, the solicited photographer, to provide him with e-mails from the government contract officials.
It is here that the story becomes more serious.
Wednesday, May 15, 2018 – The ombudsman then told me that the federal government, the three media and contract project managers, unbelievable but the evidence where there under my eyes!
G7 Contract and Media Managers Dave Mathews, Project Manager and Media officier, who signed the tender evaluations with Patricia Skinners and the famous Lyne Robson, all from Global Affairs Canada, as well as their friend Mr. Réal Jean, former media operation adviser at GAC and now at the Ministry of La Francophonie, are actively looking for photographers among their personal contacts!
The ombudsman then sent me the pertinent emails, with the permission of Mr. Allard.
Now keep in mind that the tender was, at this time, CLOSED for a week, that the selection criteria for the photographers were very well defined, and that it was necessary to provide a lot of precise information for each member of the team in the submission.
To put it simply, Keepoint was a facade, a stand-in, and the work was done by those responsible for awarding contracts… they kept this contract for themselves. This is really disappointing as these people are media specialists with long experience working for our government.
The government’s reply
Ms. Véronique Sabourin, the head of the contract, filed a complaint against me to the Sureté du Québec for threats and harassment because I told her that she would hear about this situation from their illegal e-mails and their inappropriate actions in the newspapers and on tv news.
So I had to report to the police station, and the Sureté du Québec arrested me, then release me under a promise not to contact them anymore, and to report to them in two months to take my fingerprints. The government was in panic mode because the evidence of fraud and collusion was coming out.
She will remove her complaint to the police a couple of weeks later. But their intimidation did not stop me to get the truth out.
So I had to file an official complaint at the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to try to get answers to my questions, and try to abort the contract before the start of the G7 just 3 weeks later.
I make a complaint to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal and explained the situation to them.
Given evidence of daily price changes, emails from illegal searches by government project officers after the closing of the tender, and in a situation where it was evident that Keepoint’s Fabien Durand did not meet any of the criteria requested, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal accepted the complaint.
Now I had to fight against four government lawyers who filed a petition to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, a new bill this time, lower than the week before!
The price of the contract at this time was below the $101,100 threshold and therefore prevented another investigation – this allowed them to save themselves from answering questions about the contract… again!
However, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal scoured the government in its Order. He wondered about several illegal actions of the government that remained unanswered.
I had even asked the ombudsman and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, before the G7, to verify the mandatory criteria of Fabien Durand of Keepoint and to cancel or at least revise this contract. I have never had any answers on this point.
Yet it was obvious that Fabien Durand had no mandatory criteria or experience from the start.
Doing things halfway brings difficulties. Keepoint and the federal Global Affairs Canada officials who had awarded the contract were still looking for photographers 4 days before the start of the G7, and this time they called Mr. Francis Vachon directly – as I explained earlier, he was on our list of professional photographers.
He was already engaged for the G7 for another media outlet, so he transferred the request to me because he was aware that I was in the middle of an investigation to bring out the truth.
I called the government person who called him. Incredible – they were still looking for photographers illegally!
Ms. Valérie Englebert was looking for photographers for Global Affairs Canada (her husband, Mr. Olivier Geuzaine is the chief of staff of Global Affairs Canada!)
It was concerning a research for a long-standing gender equality event at the G7 contract. So I recorded the conversation with Ms. Valerie Englebert and the facts were troubling, again, without security, without no criteria at all, they were looking for photographers… They still lacked photographers after all of their tricks!
An extra contract of more than $10,000 was added to the G7 contract of Mr. Fabien Durand of Keepoint, while the Keepoint contract was under investigation at the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. The lowered bill still saved them from the threshold of the Tribunal, and the complaint was closed.
I therefore made a second complaint to the ombudsman for this other irregular act, and this complaint was accepted. They answered me whatever they think of, and then they closed the complaint.
I found myself with nothing but closed complaints to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal and the ombudsman! But the ombudsman informed me that he could not re-open a closed complaint, or re-open an investigation, even if it had been closed illegally by one or more of the parties involved not respecting their own rules!
The ombudsman announced to me that the office would make a complaint report on the mandatory criteria and the separation of contracts, but that no further investigation could take place.
They told me they could not do anything about fraud, and that I would have to go to the RCMP.
I could not talk to them anymore, it was all done privately for the ombudsman. A report would be issued 120 business days later. Scheduled for December 18, 2018.
During these several months of waiting, the RCMP, the Competition Bureau and the UPAC dropped the ball with the documents that were shared, and nobody did anything in order to investigate the situation – the potato was too hot – the evidence is there but it is being ignored.
The ombudsman’s report was finally released on December 18, 2018.
A bogus report… A large amount of serious and illegal events, evidence of collusion, and important facts had been omitted from this report. No mention of illegal photographers’ search emails after the closing of the call for tenders from government contract responsible.
They also neglected to mention the hiding of the second version of the call for tenders to Canadians, the removal of the security requirements, and the fact that Keepoint had made a bid and invented figures that do not stand.
Mr. Eric Couves, a student at the University of Ottawa, signed the first security version that was completely removed (Appendix C disappeared on the second version hidden to the public). In fact, all G7 media stakeholders refused to comment on the file, so the level of transparency is zero… But the evidence is overwhelming.
E-mails from photographers, from G7 media employees, and several illegal and criminal acts in this situation were purposely omitted to protect officials from fraud, collusion, abuse of power, and illegal acts investigations that could lead to criminal charges.
Despite all the serious omissions in the report, the ombudsman further confirms that e-mails have been deleted and adds more irregularities committed by World Affairs Canada to drown out the real evidence omitted …
Everything as been hidden from information access for over a year, Mr. Durand of Keepoint says he has nothing against him but refuses to show his tender even if I publicly accuse him of fraud and collusion with the government. I received two legal notices from him, but it was simply to try to intimidate me of course.
I also received a notice from Mr. Olivier Geuzaine, the chief of staff who said he does not want me to talk about his wife who was looking for photographers only four days before the G7, without security, without scales, for his cabinet… He wrotes me, among other things, that he does not know Fabien Durand of Keepoint.
The Ombudsman therefore concluded in his bogus report that the contract should finally have been awarded to us having received only two applications on the record and that Keepoint could not be eligible… we had all the mandatory criteria and met all the conditions, so, as a good second, we should have won the contract.
Then the Ombudsman proposed that the government compensate us to the maximum of its limits according to its rules, or 10% of the total amount before the extras to the contract. A nice story, give Mr. Roy’s an $8,350 check, and write it all off as a simple error and forget about this story as soon as possible.
However, after sending a formal notice to the government in January 2019, asking for explanations, and after months of discussion, I refused all offer from them.
They absolutely do not want to admit their twisted methods, when I know they mishandled the competition and fraud the G7 photography contract, and I do not want to be complicit in their crime.
No money can buy justice. Being perfectly aware of the story, it must be understood that I would feel complicit with fraudsters if I accepted money without justice being served, and that Canadian photographers deserve an apology – these criminal practices must cease.
Canadian photographers were robbed of the biggest contract in Quebec history.
We, along with our 15-person team, served as a stooge to the Global Affairs Canada media people who were organizing the G7 with their nominee, a professional federal tenderer, Fabien Durand of Keepoint.
The details and relevant documents of the contract, as well as the submissions, are still hidden by access to information. Several complaints were accepted at the Office of the Information Commissioner, but nothing has changed since last year. Investigators leave, they are replaced, the whole process is pathetic.
Fabien Durand of Keepoint took part in a contract that he had no chance of winning, matter of fact, he could not even participate, what kind of specialist is that? it took me 2 months to build everything and finding the right staff, it was so difficult that I asked for two time extensions to finalize the complicated files of each photographer and team member.
Government officials have made sure to hide from Canadians another version of the RFP, just for them, which was much more accessible and interesting monetarily, without broadcasting on the internet. Easy fraud! We keep the contract, oh sorry we give it to Fabien Durand of Keepoint. And that leaves me… the stooge, Michel Roy, who did not know anything about the tender process before this time, but I had all the help of the contract manager Véronique Sabourin so that I could participate before the closing of the tender… so that there would be two competitors for the contract.
They must have thought, “He’s the perfect stooge – Michel Roy from Digital Direct, a small self-employed photographer from Quebec City, he never made a call for tenders”…
However, I am not an idiot. With F1 in Montreal is taking place at the same time, they ran out of photographers. The honesty of Mr. Clément Allard, who agreed to share the illegal emails, and Mr. Francis Vachon, who had worked at the G20 and the Sommet de la Francophonie, and who was on our list, made the difference to bring out the truth.
Mr. Dave Mathews, Ms. Patricia Skinners, Ms. Lyne Robson from Global Affairs Canada and their friend Mr. Réal Jean, former media officer, got their hands dirty. That very very important situation and many others never made to the bogus report from ombudsman!
No one should defraud the government or the people – in this case, it concerns the most important photography contract in Quebec ever.
Several photographers told me they do not to participate in these competitions because they were set up in advance. It is time that all stops.
Canadian photographers must stand up now and ask for an apology.
The mass media have refused to share any information in the file, and have done everything to hide or bury it for more than a year – protecting the government media so that the public is not aware of this story, even if it is of high public interest.
Capitale Médias exclusive articles (!) Therefore hide the serious evidence of collusion to protect fraudsters. Two articles in the newspapers and throughout the Capitales Médias network were produced in collaboration with Université Laval professor Antoine Pellerin (Winner of the prestigious Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellowship), but they have refused to answer my e-mails why the evidence of fraud is omitted.
In addition, my partner in these newspaper articles was never consulted, neither before nor after the articles, a beautiful work of “cover up” by the journalist Marc Allard of the LeSoleil, the newspapers Capital Media, with the professor of the university Laval to pass the whole thing in administrative errors, but the fraudsters have exceeded this limit long time ago.
Laval University and Le Soleil de Capitales Médias refuse to talk to me. They even wrote to me not to contact them anymore.
I am told by the RCMP that the file is still being studied in Montreal in the legal department, more than a year after receiving the documents.
The Competition Bureau and the UPAC do nothing, or turn a blind eye, because they are also aware of the case.
And all the other Canadian mass media have never picked up the news, and they refuse to answer me and inform Canadians about this highly public issue.
I contacted several MPs and several French and English media, and the motto is clear – they ignore everything, hoping that the whole thing crumbles and is forgotten.
Right now a law suit for diffamation for Groupes Capital Médias and Univeristy Laval for Diffamation/fake articles on internet on the continous press line. French documents
As far as the Office of the Information Commissioner is concerned, the work is not done at all, all the basic information about the tenders and bogus reports are still not accessible after one and half year!
The leak is obvious everywhere, the file is serious.
Our entire team of 15 people were robbed of a beautiful photo contract, a loss of a unique opportunity that would have been incredible for myself and my team.
It is high time that Canadians become aware of this G7 2018 collusion and speak up to ask the RCMP do its job and investigate.