Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Dominic Barton, former McKinsey head, to face MP questions over contract concerns

Dominic Barton, former McKinsey head, to face MP questions over contract concerns

Barton will appear before the House of Commons government operations and estimates committee at 4:30 p.m. ET, where he’ll be pressed about the 24 contracts worth $104.6 million that federal officials say have been awarded to McKinsey since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government was elected in 2015.

READ MORE: McKinsey contracts with Ottawa to be probed by House of Commons committee

The committee is also reviewing contracts awarded to the firm since 2011, which includes those signed by the preceding Conservative government.

McKinsey’s contracts with the federal government have come under scrutiny following recent media reports that the deals have increased under the Liberals compared with when the federal Conservatives were in power.

Radio-Canada reported that the Conservatives awarded $2.2 million in contracts to McKinsey over the nine years that party was in power.

Global News has not independently verified the Radio-Canada report but has confirmed the total value of the awards given to McKinsey is $104.6 million, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Following the reports, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre called for a probe into the jump in contracts awarded to the firm, a call the government operations and estimates committee answered when it voted to launch the study on Jan. 18.

“We want to know what all this money was for,” Poilievre said, speaking at a press conference earlier last month.

Click to play video: 'Poilievre demands answers on McKinsey contracts with Trudeau government'
Poilievre demands answers on McKinsey contracts with Trudeau government

The Conservative leader said he hopes for answers about the potential influence of the firm — and about Trudeau’s decision to appoint former McKinsey director Barton  as his ambassador to China for just over two years, ending in 2021.

Trudeau has said Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek and Treasury Board President Mona Fortier have been tasked with looking into the contracts.

“We will do a follow-up to ensure it was done the right way and to see if we need to modify or change the rules,” Trudeau said, speaking in French last Wednesday.

According to the statement from Public Services and Procurement Canada, three of the contracts — worth a total of $55.8 million — awarded to McKinsey were granted as a result of a competitive process.

The other 21 contracts, worth more than $48 million, were not awarded through competitions.

READ MORE: McKinsey’s federal contracts are worth more than $100M. Will MPs vote to probe?

Of those, the department said 19 were conducted through “call ups,” a process that allows government to quickly procure a good or service when it has a standing offer in place with the company. The other two were sole-sourced — one being a low-dollar-value contract, and the other worth zero dollars.

“PSPC established a National Master Standing Offer with McKinsey & Company to support federal departments and agencies that require benchmarking services,” a spokesperson from Public Services and Procurement Canada said in a statement.

“These services consist of functional tools, databases, and expert support to measure their performance against similar Canadian and international organizations in order to identify deficiencies and opportunities for improvement. Such services may be used to support complex programs, including digital modernization and other large transformation initiatives.”

McKinsey, they said, “holds exclusive rights to provide this type of benchmarking” and there are “no authorized resellers.”

In a statement sent to Global News last week, Jaczek’s office pledged to “work with” any committee that probes the issue.

The minister, they said, is “taking these concerns seriously.”

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