MPs Vote to Undertake Committee Study Investigating McKinsey Contracts

By Peter Wilson
Peter Wilson
Peter Wilson
Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.
January 18, 2023Updated: January 18, 2023

MPs on a parliamentary committee have voted in favour of undertaking a study investigating the large increase in spending by the federal government on contracts awarded to consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO) will also question federal ministers on the issue, along with McKinsey representatives.

The motion was put forward by Conservative MP Stephanie Kusie during a committee meeting on Jan. 18.

The motion states OGGO will be investigating all government consulting contracts awarded to McKinsey by either the federal government or by any Crown Corporation since 2011, with the goal of “examining their effectiveness, management, and operation, including the value and service received by the government.”

MPs voted to call a number of Liberal cabinet members to testify, including Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Treasury Board President Mona Fortier, and Public Services and Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek.

Kusie also listed requests for National Defence Minister Anita Anand, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, and Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, among others, to appear before the committee.

The committee plans to hold its first meeting questioning witnesses when Parliament re-convenes at the end of January.

“We want to also hear from representatives from McKinsey, including Dominic Barton, so they can answer our questions,” said Bloc Québécois MP Julie Vignola during the committee meeting.

Barton is the former head of McKinsey and Canada’s former ambassador to China.

‘Pulling the Strings’

CBC News reported earlier in January that the Trudeau government had awarded $66 million in contracts to McKinsey, a U.S. multinational company, since taking power in 2015, which represented a sharp increase over previous years under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

However, Public Services and Procurement Canada indicated in a statement on Jan. 17 that the exact amount spent on McKinsey contracts since 2015 is actually $101.4 million.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet each announced on Jan. 10 that they would push for the government to reveal details of the contracts.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the next day that he assigned two of his ministers, Jaczek and Fortier, to look into the McKinsey contracts.

“We’ll do follow-up to make sure that things were done properly,” Trudeau said on Jan. 11, adding, “If we need to change the rules, we will do so.”

Kusie today told the committee that Canadians “want answers” about the high spending on McKinsey contracts.

“We have to wonder, whose idea was this? Whose idea was this to start this relationship with McKinsey?” Kusie said. “Who’s pulling the strings?”

Noé Chartier contributed to this report.