McKinsey and the Canadian government under investigation

It is not only in France that the links between the top of the state and McKinsey are emulated. The Office of the Auditor General of Canada, equivalent to the Court of Auditors in France, will investigate the contracts awarded to the consulting firm by the government of Justin Trudeau, he told AFP on Friday. “The Office of the Auditor General has informed Parliament that the audit will begin,” said spokesman Vincent Frigon. The scope of this audit is not yet determined, he added.

In recent months, the Conservatives (opposition) have called for this investigation to shed light on these contracts, which they say have registered a great “multiplication” since 2015, when the Liberal party of Justin Trudeau arrived in power. Garnett Genuis, Conservative MP, recently decried “the enormous sum of money” paid to the company since that date and which would exceed 100 million Canadian dollars (69.5 million euros).

Links to clarify

The conservative opposition also wants to clarify the links between Justin Trudeau and the former boss of McKinsey, Dominic Barton, whom it accuses of being close friends. Dominic Barton was the head of McKinsey between 2009 and 2018, then served as Canada’s ambassador to China from 2019 to 2021. In particular, he helped defuse the diplomatic crisis between the two countries linked to the arrest by Canada, to the request of the United States, the financial director of Huawei Meng Wanzhou in 2018 and negotiated the release of the two Canadians detained in China.

Called to testify recently before a parliamentary commission, Dominic Barton was questioned about the role of McKinsey, accused of having contributed to the opiate crisis in the United States, the contracts made with the Canadian government and his links with Justin Trudeau. “I am not a close personal friend of the Prime Minister,” he insisted. “I haven’t had any involvement in the federal government awarding McKinsey any paid contracts since I moved to Asia in 1996,” he said.

A study by Carleton University in Ottawa found that the total value of contracts awarded to McKinsey nonetheless paled in comparison to those awarded to other companies such as Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC. In France, searches were carried out at the end of January at the homes of leaders and former leaders of McKinsey as part of investigations into suspicions of illegal financing of Emmanuel Macron’s electoral campaigns in 2017 and 2022.

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