Federal committee will probe government contracts with McKinsey

By Nojoud Al Mallees
THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA – A federal committee overseeing government operations is launching a parliamentary inquiry into contracts awarded to consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

The firm recently came into the spotlight after news reports highlighted the rapid growth of the company’s work with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

The government says it has awarded 23 contracts to McKinsey since 2015 that are together worth $101.4 million.

On Wednesday, members of the government operations committee voted unanimously to launch a study, with plans to ask several cabinet ministers to testify.

The committee will review contracts awarded to the firm since 2011, meaning it will include those signed by the former Conservative government.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre called for the parliamentary inquiry earlier this week and said the public needs to know what the money was used for and what influence McKinsey has had on the government.

MPs plan to ask McKinsey’s most senior Canadian executive to testify, along with Dominic Barton, its former global managing director.

The Liberal government’s relationship with Barton has come under scrutiny in the midst of questions about the extent of the firm’s influence on public policy.

Barton served as the chair of an advisory council on economic growth for former finance minister Bill Morneau.

In 2019, he was appointed Canada’s ambassador to China before stepping down from that post in 2021.

MPs on the committee also plan to recommend that the House of Commons call on the auditor general to audit the contracts based on performance and value for money.

Last week, Trudeau said he has asked Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek and Treasury Board President Mona Fortier to look into the contracts with McKinsey and to ensure proper processes were followed.

In a news conference on Wednesday, the prime minister told reporters he welcomes the committee’s work on the issue.

The committee expects to begin its study after the House of Commons resumes sitting on Jan. 30.