Freeland is in Davos this week to attend WEF meetings
Freeland is in Davos this week to attend WEF meetingsCourtesy CPAC/YouTube

Committee hears Freeland gave contract to old friend, Trudeau's WEF contact

The parliamentary ombudsman will testify Monday on federal contracting involving and old friend of Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and World Economic Forum (WEF) contact for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  

MPs will hear Parliament Procurement Ombudsman Alexander Jeglic's testimony on "favouritism" in federal contracting to McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm formerly led by Dominic Barton, per Blacklock’s Reporter. 

Barton had testified in 2023 on his history with Freeland that he "knew her from before." He also said he personally introduced Trudeau to executives at the 2016 WEF conference in Davos, Switzerland.

Further, Trudeau in 2019 appointed Barton as Canada’s ambassador to China.

The investigation ordered by the Commons Government Operations Committee found “a strong perception of favouritism” in federal contracts with the firm McKinsey.

“The procurement ombudsman found the government actually bent the rules to favour McKinsey,” Calgary Conservative MP Stephanie Kusie had earlier told the committee. Most contracts were sole-sourced. 

“Once again we see this Liberal government favouring its friends and insiders.”

Jeglic in a March 20 report found in the period from 2011 to 2023 the firm received a total $117 million in federal contracts.

“The value of contracts awarded to McKinsey started to increase in 2018 with significant increases observed in 2019 through 2022,” wrote Jeglic.

The ombudsman found in two contracts separately issued by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Department of Industry, “the procurement strategy was changed after it was discovered McKinsey would have been ineligible to bid.”

It was a “significant” irregularity, wrote Jeglic. 

“Given circumstances combined with the absence of any documentation on file to otherwise support the legitimacy of this decision, the efforts on the part of the Agency (CBSA) and department to ensue McKinsey could participate create a strong perception of favouritism.”

Barton in 2023 testified he had dined at Freeland’s home in Toronto, and had met with her several times before. 

“She actually convened a dinner at her house,” said Barton.

“I knew Chrystia Freeland when she worked at the Financial Times. So I knew her from before. I did know her.”

“Would you consider yourself a friend of Chrystia Freeland?” asked Kusie.

“I knew Chrystia Freeland,” replied Barton, admitting the two met “eight, about ten times."

"Less than a dozen," he said.

Barton testified he had introduced Trudeau to key executives at Davos, and said the event earned him the prime minister's respect.

“I think he respects me,” said Barton.

Trudeau's appointment of Barton as Canada’s ambassador to China lasted for two years. He resigned in 2021. 

“I am not partisan,” testified Barton. 

“I am not a member or supporter of any political party in Canada.”

MPs have expressed unease with the Trudeau Liberals friendly ties with federal contractors. 

“There is much here that arouses suspicion,” Bloc Québécois MP René Villemure told the Commons in 2023.

“Like it or not, even in good faith there are reasons for mistrust, yet the government’s actions should inspire confidence. In this case, this much doubt adds up to mistrust.”

“What is McKinsey doing?” asked Villemure. 

“This firm cannot know more than everyone else about everything at all times everywhere in the world. That would be astonishing. The only other explanation is that McKinsey is God or the Holy Spirit, pick one. One thing is certain, McKinsey has made itself indispensable.”

Western Standard