Brussels -- An organisation affiliated with the controversial Church of Scientology gave training courses in the Flemish parliament. “The company IDeAs got the job as a subcontractor, so we couldn’t monitor this matter,” was the response from speaker of parliament Marleen Vanderpoorten.
IDeAS is a firm that works in accordance with the principles of Scientology. On its websites the company lists the Flemish parliament as a reference. And rightfully so, it turns out. IDeAS did in fact train members of parliament and their employees in using existing Office software packages. Hewlett Packard had hired in the company as a subcontractor.
Liberal VLD senators Luc Willems and Margriet Hermans brought the news to light. They are wondering how an organisation associated with Scientology was able to work for the Flemish parliament without any hindrance or questioning.
“Precisely because the project was farmed out to a subcontractor, that is why we could not monitor the course of events,” said Marleen Vanderpoorten (VLD), who stressed that she did not want to give controversial movements any space to elbow into the workings of Parliament.
“Organisations with a dubious reputation or a double agenda cannot land contracts directly,” she said. “When necessary, Parliament’s executive committee puts together a file of companies that are angling for a contract. An organisation that has clear ties with a sect, for example, would not be able to just work for the Flemish parliament.”