Mr. Speaker, I move that the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, presented on Tuesday, January 31, be concurred in.
I will be sharing my time with my colleague and friend, the member for .
I rise today to speak to the House about the ongoing Liberal-McKinsey scandal. This is the affair through which the government gave over $100 million in contracts to its friends at McKinsey & Company.
The Liberals' response to this scandal has been to say not to not worry, that they will have the ministers responsible for the Treasury Board and procurement investigate what happened in the context of Treasury Board and procurement. In other words, they are not only having Liberals investigate Liberals, but precisely having the Liberal cabinet ministers responsible for this issue in the first place investigating themselves.
The thinks that an appropriate response to waste and corruption within his own government is to have the ministers responsible for that waste and corruption investigating themselves. The Conservatives do not think that is an appropriate response to scandal, and that is why we are moving this motion today to call for an independent investigation by Canada's non-partisan Auditor General.
Of course, we have seen in the House the Auditor General attacked by the . The Conservatives have faith in our independent officers of Parliament, and that is why we want to bring in the Auditor General and ask her to investigate the waste and corruption we are seeing under the Liberal government.
The Liberal-McKinsey affair has three main elements to it. We can speak about corruption, about control and about character.
The Liberals have given over $100 million that we know of so far in contracts to McKinsey & Company. At the same time as McKinsey was selling its services to the Liberal government, Dominic Barton, who was the managing partner of McKinsey, was leading the 's own growth council. Although Dominic Barton has said that he is not friends with the Prime Minister, that he barely knows these people and that he did not recognize the Prime Minister in an elevator the first time he saw him, we have the talking about how close Dominic Barton was to the Prime Minister, how accessible he was and how they had a relationship of being able to contact each other any time, which was build up over time.
On the word of the Deputy Prime Minister, there is a close relationship between the managing director of McKinsey at the time and the . Analysts at McKinsey are doing analytical work for the Prime Minister's growth council at the same time as McKinsey is selling its consulting services to the government. It is no surprise under those circumstances, when we have these clear conflicts of interest and close relationships, that there was a significant spike with respect to the volume of contracts McKinsey was getting from the government. We have conflicts of interest driven by these relationships.
Let us talk as well about control, because Canadians are asking who is pulling the strings, who is making the decisions and who is really deciding the direction of the government. What has been happening with the government is that it has been bringing in high-priced outside consultants, who have been both selling to the government and also making very significant policy decisions. They have been doing work that the public service has said it could be doing itself. We do not know what these consultants are doing, but the consultants are playing a very significant role in setting policy and direction, and they are not subject to the same kinds of transparency requirements as the public service.
If Canadians want to know what discussions were happening within the public service, they can use the transparency and accountability tools that are available to them. However, if Canadians want to know about decisions that are made at McKinsey that are in fact shaping what happens in government, they are not able to access that information. In fact, up until now, McKinsey has not even been willing to provide its client list and that is a huge problem, because McKinsey has a history of working on both sides of the same issue.
In the United States, we had instances where McKinsey was working for the FDA, which is responsible for approving drugs, and it was working for pharmaceutical companies at the same time. It is working for the approval body as well as for the companies that are seeking that approval. In fact, the New York Times revealed instances where the same individual was working for both the FDA and those making the applications.
Is that same thing happening in Canada? Do we have decisions being made by McKinsey while it is also working for clients who benefit from those decisions? The reality is that we do not know, because McKinsey will not disclose its client list. Therefore, there is a lack of transparency and there is influence and control coming from these high-priced consultants who are being hired by the government.
Therefore, there are issues of corruption and control. However, there are also issues of character.
Who is this company? Who is McKinsey, and what has it done around the world? Most notably for the impact it is having here in Canada, McKinsey worked for Purdue Pharma. This is the company that invented OxyContin and was responsible for driving the opioid crisis that has devastated our communities.
In 2007, Purdue pleaded guilty to criminal misbranding of its products and downplaying the addiction risk to market these opioids to people. It did this so that it could make money with total disregard for the suffering caused. After 2007, McKinsey continued to work for Purdue Pharma even though it had pleaded guilty. McKinsey put together proposals with a number of recommendations aimed at helping Purdue Pharma supercharge its opioid sales.
Those recommendations included, incredibly, paying bonuses to pharmacists in instances of overdose deaths. In cases where traditional pharmacies were trying to put in place mechanisms to prevent over-prescription, McKinsey proposed that one could have a mail-in process for people to order opioids without needing to go to traditional pharmacies, allowing them to circumvent the checks that existed.
McKinsey was doing this kind of work for Purdue with no regard for basic ethical or moral norms. That was when Dominic Barton was leading McKinsey. I asked him about this at committee last week, and Mr. Barton said he had no idea that McKinsey was doing this work for Purdue. It was a client for 10 years, and the managing director claimed he had no idea.
McKinsey has done other work around the world. It has worked with Russian state-owned and affiliated companies. It has worked with a Chinese state-affiliated company that is building militarized islands in the South China Sea.
These points speak to the character of this company. If we want to talk about conflict of interest, we have a company that is doing work for the Department of National Defence here in Canada while working with Russian and Chinese state-owned and state-affiliated companies.
McKinsey did a report for the Saudi government in which it identified influential dissidents who were driving criticism of Saudi economic policy. Not surprisingly, after those accounts were identified, these dissidents were subject to various forms of harassment. One of them actually lives in Canada and was subject to harassment on Canadian soil.
We have corruption. We have conflict of interest. We have control. We have a lack of character from this company. This is the company that the keeps. This is the company that has gotten over $100 million in contracts.
While Canadians are suffering, well-connected Liberal insiders have never had it so good, especially the well-connected Liberal insiders at McKinsey.
In the context of this scandal, the government's response is that it is going to have the cabinet ministers responsible for procurement and for the Treasury Board do their own investigation. That is clearly not good enough.
The Liberals have made a complete mess of governance. They are wasting taxpayers' dollars and giving money to their friends. The public service is growing, and they are giving more and more money to outside consultants. We cannot trust the Liberals, who are responsible for these scandals, to then come in and say that they are going to investigate themselves.
That is why, as an urgent matter, it is time to ask the Auditor General to come in and get to the bottom of what happened here. We need the resources and the ingenuity of the Auditor General to find out what is happening and assess value for money.
There are many different aspects to this scandal. Canadians need to decide, at a basic character level, if this is the kind of company that they want to see their prime minister doing business with. The Auditor General is well positioned to assess value for money, to say, “What did we actually get for this $100 million-plus?”
How much money was actually spent, by the way? We cannot get a straight answer from the government on this. Moreover, was there value for money? Many public servants have told the media that they do not know what work was done. They brought in PowerPoint slides and said that they were going to change everything, but nothing got done.
It is time to bring in the Auditor General. Conservatives want this motion adopted so that the Auditor General will help all of us get to the bottom of what happened between the Liberals and McKinsey.
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan for sharing his time with me.
Today we are debating concurrence in the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. The motion asks that the Auditor General be called upon to conduct, as soon as possible, a performance and value-for-money audit of the contracts awarded to McKinsey & Company since January 1, 2011, by any department, agency or Crown corporation.
How did it come to this? Right now, millions of Canadians are struggling financially. The cost of living has gone up. Everything is expensive. People do not have enough money. Meanwhile, contracts are going to multinational corporations like McKinsey.
Since 2016, McKinsey has been awarded over $120 million worth of contracts for studies and proposals on matters relating to immigration, national defence, the Canada Border Services Agency and public services. It has received millions of dollars to make recommendations. However, we cannot get any information about the real purpose of the studies that were commissioned.
The is not saying a word. We are being told that two ministers, the and the , are going to get answers. The members opposite must think we are not very bright.
We all know nobody wants to say it even though everybody knows it. That is the crux of the problem with the McKinsey file right now. There is deep secrecy around what the firm has done for Canada.
Our motion asks for an audit dating back to 2011, when we were in power, because we know that we have nothing to hide. The contracts awarded back then were for consulting services on very specific topics. The value of the contracts was not exorbitant. In 2014 and 2015, no contracts were awarded. All of a sudden, in 2016, the contracts ballooned. It was as though, suddenly, no one in the departments knew what to do. Suddenly, no one knew what to do about national defence, immigration and border services, so contracts worth tens of millions of dollars had to be awarded to McKinsey to get the answers. I will repeat once again that we have not been able to determine what was proposed.
This is the eighth year of a government that has been implicated in a number of conflicts of interest. We went through the SNC-Lavalin affair. On several separate occasions, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner prepared reports on the . Today, we are again in a situation where it is abundantly clear that there is some type of conflict of interest.
Dominic Barton was the global managing director at McKinsey when the Liberal government took power in 2015. He defended himself in committee by saying that he had not done anything, that he was not aware of anything and that he did not know anything.
In one of the questions that I asked him before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, I told him that he was fascinating. In looking at him, I realized that he has a real talent for not answering questions and for pretending that this is not happening and that it is all made up. However, the facts speak for themselves. As soon as the government took power, it started following Mr. Barton's advice. He told the government to hire his firm so that it could give the government the tools it needed to know what to do, because the government did not know what to do.
That is where we are at now. There is even an ethical issue here. That being said, our motion has one main objective. We want the Auditor General, an independent officer of Parliament, to conduct an audit and report to Parliament on what happened with the various contracts that have been awarded to McKinsey since 2011. Taxpayers are the ones footing the bill, so they have the right to know.
As I said, over the past eight years, the government has completely lost control of public finances. Everyone knows that Canada's debt has doubled. We are going to have to pay interest on the debt, which will cost $40 billion a year. We are going to have to take money that was allocated for operating expenditures and use it to pay the interest to the banks because of the $15 billion in contracts awarded to subcontractors, including McKinsey. This raises questions, and that is why the Auditor General must investigate to tell us what we got for $120 million.
Were the contracts awarded properly? Was the information necessary? Were public servants capable of answering these questions?
There are so many unanswered questions.
The Business Development Bank of Canada is another example. The government appointed a new president. The first thing she did was take $4.9 million and give it to McKinsey so they could tell her what the strategic direction of the Bank of Canada is. Internally, people saw a president come in who, instead of consulting them to develop the long-term strategic plan for the Bank of Canada, brought in McKinsey. Why?
These are the kinds of questions that need to be answered. At some point, there is a reason that it is in the news and everyone is asking questions. We know there is something wrong.
One of the problems with McKinsey is the company's history. McKinsey has been involved in a number of activities involving questionable countries, secret contracts, previous involvement with opioids, influencing pharmaceutical companies. On the one hand, McKinsey was telling pharmaceutical companies how to keep selling products and, on the other hand, advising governments to try and solve the problem. That makes no sense. This company certainly raises a lot of ethical issues.
McKinsey is also known to have worked with Chinese state-owned enterprises, including one that builds militarized islands in the South China Sea. It hosted a corporate retreat on the road to a concentration camp in China's Uighur region. It has worked with companies affiliated with the Russian state, long after the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
This is public, known information; however, eventually, a decision has to be made. Once the government has that information, what does it do with it? Will contracts continue to be awarded to conduct studies, provide information and tell our public service how to handle various strategic issues, such as defence or immigration? The influence of the McKinsey reports was clear, in relation to the Century Initiative, when the announced Canada's new immigration targets before Christmas, in November. The plan is to bring in 500,000 people per year starting in 2025, to increase Canada's population to 100 million by 2100. However, whenever we ask questions, the answers come from elsewhere, because the minister never even bothered to absorb the information himself. People come and give numbers, without considering the francophonie, for example, or our accommodation capacity. We are talking about 12 million people in greater Montreal; I will give the leader of the Bloc Québécois credit for talking about this. As a result, eventually, people start to wonder where this information is coming from and how we got to the point where our own government essentially has no idea what to do and turns to McKinsey for answers. It simply executes the plan only to realize later that it does not work.
Our motion is simple. We hope the government will support it and understand that we need the Auditor General of Canada to get to the bottom of all this so we can find out what really happened, especially considering the tough economic times we are in. Canadian taxpayers want the government to manage their money properly. All we have been seeing for the past eight years is waste.
Once again, we are seeing the government award contracts to its friends for advice about things that should cost a lot less; I could call them something other than contracts, but I will refrain. We need to know what the offer was, the bid, so we can see if it makes sense and move forward. That is the point of consultants. If they have good ideas, we use those ideas. However, when we do not know what the idea is and then the government comes out with some kind of vague policy, obviously there is something fishy going on.
Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting process that we are going through today. I plan to speak on the issue, but we need to have a sense of why we are debating it today.
I would say I am surprised, but I am not. It is more a sense of disappointment. One would think that the Conservative Party, at some point, would recognize that what Canadians are looking for is leadership. Today is an amplification of what the Conservative agenda is all about. It is not to talk about its own plans or policy ideas, with cryptocurrency being the exception. At the end of the day, Conservatives are more focused on character assassination.
This is the reason I posed the questions earlier to the opposition, both members. The image they try to portray is one of corruption, yet in the answers they gave one would then have to try to make the connection to Stephen Harper. After all, Stephen Harper and his government were probably closer to the company and individual in question. I would say there is a very good chance, just based on the answers that were provided.
The Conservatives are very good at stating something inside and even outside the chamber that is factually incorrect. I suspect what we are seeing today is another attempt by the Conservative Party to look under all the different rocks to try to find something with which they can attack individuals on the government side, to give a false impression that the government is corrupt. That is the type of thing we have witnessed for eight years from the Conservative Party.
Today we are supposed to be talking about Bill . Bill C-34 is about investing in Canada and protecting Canadians from a security point of view. Tomorrow is an opposition day. Why is that important? I believe that the Conservatives are once again discussing a motion that was passed in a committee.
I would like to look at how the motion passed in committee. I was not even in the committee, so I will have to speculate. I had to look at the report. It is not a very complicated report. I would summarize it by saying a majority of individuals on the committee got together and passed the motion so that the Conservative Party could debate a concurrence motion in the House. Conservatives across the way heckled, “Hear, hear.” That is what took place, as confirmed by the Conservative opposition.
In essence, they are hijacking another day of debate, when we are supposed to be talking about Bill , so they can talk about this issue. They will say they should be able to talk about this issue. The rules do allow for that. We have opposition days. We have an opposition day tomorrow. One would think the Conservatives, if they were genuine in wanting to deal with this, would not need to coerce the Bloc, the New Democrats and I am not too sure about the Greens in bringing forward this detailed report. I say detailed report, but I could read it in a minute. That is how detailed the entire report is.
I have sat on standing committees, not too many, and they do some fantastic work. However, at times they get a little too political. When one does not even have any sort of background, details or real explanation and when all one has is a statement, which is the report, I need to question what the actual motivation was.
I believe the Conservatives have conned the other opposition parties. They have come up with a way that they can get a bonus opposition day. The ironic thing is they are going to be criticizing the government in the future for not calling Bill . They are going to cry and say that they want more debate time on Bill C-34 or other government legislation and will ask why the government will not allow for it, yet they are wasting government time on this end.
It is truly amazing how the Conservative Party is so focused on the issue of corruption and does not care about the average Canadian and what Canadians are going through.
Let me read the report. This is the entire report:
That the Auditor General be called upon to conduct, as soon as possible, a performance and value for money audit of the contracts awarded to McKinsey & Company since January 1, 2011, by any department, agency or Crown corporation.
That is the entire report. I figure the 2011 was probably a compromise. The Bloc probably said that they needed to go beyond just the Liberal years to include some of the Conservative years. Maybe they had to compromise a little in order to get the agreement to ultimately get it to pass so the Conservative Party could have another bonus opposition day at the expense of debating government legislation. That is what I suspect.
Mr. Randy Hoback: We are not nervous.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, the member across the way says they are not nervous. He did not hear the answers from his colleagues.
We know the current does not have a relationship with Dominic Barton. Dominic Barton has said that.
The previous Conservative member who just spoke gave me an answer that Dominic had a relationship with Jim Flaherty. Who was Jim Flaherty? He was the minister of finance under Stephen Harper. I thought this was all about Liberal friends. Mr. Flaherty was not a Liberal.
Mr. Randy Hoback: Oh, that is true.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, that is true, and Dominic and Flaherty met, but that does not fit the agenda the Conservatives have.
I asked if there were contracts under Stephen Harper, and the answer was yes. There were contracts with the company and the Stephen Harper government knew Dominic, yet they are saying it was a friendly, Liberal company and we gave it all these contracts. I would suggest it is a gross exaggeration to give the impression that this company received contracts from the government because of a friendship or a political affiliation. The Conservative Party knows that, but it does not matter. The fact is that the Conservatives want to focus their attention on character assassination. That is really what it is all about.
At the end of the day, we need to recognize that at times there is a need for outside contracts. This is not the only government that has outside contracts. Whether it is provincial, municipal or indigenous governments, or whether it is the private sector or one of the many different corporations or non-profit groups, at times they all go outside in order to get contracts, as Stephen Harper did with the same company they are asking the public accounts to look at.
They talk about how there has been growth. No kidding, there has been growth. Have they not been around for the last three years? Do they not realize that we have been going through a pandemic? Do they not understand that there has been a great deal of pressure on Canada's civil servants in our public sector?
We developed programs virtually from ground zero. The CERB program is a good example. I do not know offhand what contracts were awarded to McKinsey & Company, but I can say that many of the programs we established did not exist prior to the pandemic. Of course, we are going to be doing some work outside of the civil service when we have those types of demands.
I would hazard a guess that not only did Canada do that, but also the United States and European countries did likewise. I suspect people will find that over the last three years there has been an increase in contracting out for consulting and so forth. I would challenge the Conservative brain trust to clearly demonstrate that I am wrong with that assertion, but I do not believe they will be able to. I am not talking about the brain trust. I am talking about the examples.
At the end of the day, I believe that governments around the world were put in a position over the last few years, because of the worldwide pandemic, to reach out. Different times dictate different actions.
I am not too sure why the debate today on Bill had to be sidetracked. It seems that a majority of the House was in favour of it. I would like to have seen that bill considered for passage or have more time for debate.
It will be interesting to get feedback from the official opposition, in particular, as to how many hours they feel that piece of legislation should be debated. The issue we are talking about now would have been a better discussion to have at the committee stage and have an actual report that provides more details.
I can honestly say when I posed the questions earlier, like asking about Stephen Harper, I did not know what the answer was. I went to the table to ask if I could get a copy of the report, because I was told earlier that it is a very short report. I thought there might have been some thinking that went into the process of having the motion brought forward based on a discussion or some sort of explanation other than an instruction.
There are a lot of relevant issues that could have been talked about, like the issue of the procurement process and what we have to go through in order to be able to procure and get the many types of contracts we acquire.
How does that differ from previous years? If we do a comparison between 2008 and 2016 or 2021, I would anticipate that because of the pandemic there would have been an increase compared to the years prior.
Everything depends on what is on the agenda and what is taking place, not only here in Ottawa but also around the country and around the world. Having some of that background information would be far more fruitful than a simple motion that appears in the report.
As I indicated, I was not sitting at the committee. However, based on the fact that, I suspect, it was not a unanimous motion that was brought forward, and I am sure the members across the way will tell me if I am wrong on this, and that it was done in such a fashion that it did not allow for a proper study in the standing committee, I would question the rationale behind that.
We have had very clear indication from the that the issue is being looked at by two ministers, the and the . They will be looking into the matter and ultimately reporting back. There is a high level of accountability on contracts that are issued, and that will continue.
However, to what degree did the standing committee actually ask the questions that needed to be asked and provide some background information for the report before it came to the committee, as opposed to making one demand and one demand only? I do not quite understand the rationale behind it. That is something I would have expected to hear about when the mover of the motion brought it forward.
If members review concurrence motions, they will find that the mover of this motion is not new to this. He has likely moved more motions for concurrence than anyone else. He is a mischievous little guy, I would suggest. At the end of the day, I really do think it is a legitimate question to ask of the committee: Why was there not any opportunity to get some sort of background analysis in terms of justifying the position that the committee has taken?
I would hope that members, in addressing this motion, will see it for what it is. This is not a genuine attempt for more transparency and accountability. That is what it is not. What it is is an ongoing attempt by the official opposition, in particular, to engage in personal attacks and character assassination. Anything that can be perceived as making the government look corrupt, the Conservatives will bring it up and they will hammer it because they do not want to talk about policy.
If we were not debating this, we would be debating investments into Canada, the type of investments that create thousands and thousands of jobs. We would be talking about the many good things that are happening and providing constructive criticism, no doubt, in terms of where or how we can change public policy. However, I do not believe the Conservative Party is interested in public policy at all. I believe it is only interested in one thing, and I have made reference to that and I find it unfortunate.
I would leave it at the point of saying to the opposition members that when time allocation happens to come in on some piece of legislation, I hope each and every one of them will reflect on the way they chose today, as opposed to debating government bills, to stay the course of character assassination and to usurp government business and take it as another opposition opportunity for debate, as opposed to debating government legislation.
Bill is ultimately a good piece of legislation, and it would have been nice to continue that debate and have those additional three hours of debate. Through that, 15 or 20 MPs have lost the opportunity to contribute to that debate, but we will have to wait and see.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for .
Today's debate is a passionate one. People clearly feel strongly about this issue. I will start off with a quote from a French author I really like: “'Bad' people are not the ones who do the most evil in this world. Rather, it is the incompetent, the negligent and the gullible. 'Bad' people would be powerless without so many 'good' people.”
My question is, who are the good people, and who are the bad? Philosophically, I think only fools judge without knowing, but there are times when it is important not to appear foolish. The McKinsey saga has been quite the roller coaster ride, with surprises around every corner: contracts that were never tendered, a contract with a 2100 end date and no registry of lobbyists entry.
There is so much here that arouses suspicion. 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.
It is not unusual to do business with a consultant. I myself was a consultant for 25 years. There are even valid reasons for doing so. I will outline three, or actually four, if incompetence is involved.
First, when there is an immediate lack of expertise and no time to develop it in-house, one must seek that expertise externally. That transfer of expertise is valuable.
Second, when facing a unique situation that will not be repeated, one might look for a band-aid, a temporary solution. That is valid.
Third, when a certain level of expertise is lacking, a consultant can provide it for a limited time. That is valid.
These three reasons are valid. There are no other reasons to use a consultant, except for incompetence, the fourth reason I mentioned earlier.
The example of the Business Development Bank of Canada was mentioned earlier. That astounds me. A new president and CEO was appointed on August 10. She was not just anyone. She was a former Canadian ambassador to France and Monaco, who had previously worked at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and at Sun Life. She had quite a resumé. She did what all political appointees do. She asked McKinsey what she should do.
Honestly, I thought that the expertise came with the appointment. I thought that was part of the package. It turns out that it is not. I think the requirement for being president of the Business Development Bank of Canada is to be able to contact McKinsey. At least that is what it seems like. It seems that contacting McKinsey is a natural reflex for this government.
However, no one elected McKinsey. We are talking about private sector people from a bona fide company who are developing public policy for the government. If McKinsey is involved it is a done deal. McKinsey has earned a reputation over the years with an admittedly excellent research system. This research system was often built on pro bono assignments on the backs of other people, which is a special kind of hoodwinkery.
I wonder: What is McKinsey doing? 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 to many. The opioid crisis in the United States was mentioned earlier, but I will not go there.
Last fall I met with leaders of the French Senate when I was staying in Paris. They presented me their report, which I could show you, were it not so astoundingly thick. The French Senate showed that McKinsey was setting up shop with weak leaders.
They work pro bono. They do not register with the lobbyist registry. In fact, they found the loophole in the rules that allows them to circumvent the spirit of the code. Then they take charge of creating public policies that advance a vision of the world, the vision of McKinsey, an unelected organization.
It is ironic because, by subcontracting certain responsibilities, the government has somewhat privatized Privy Council. That is problematic because McKinsey is not accountable to Canadians, and that is not ideal. The Senate of France spent dozens of meetings questioning people. All they discovered was that automatically resorting to that organization was not a sound practice.
Of course, over the years, the obsession with balancing the budget resulted in the public service losing certain strengths. That said, the three reasons mentioned earlier remain valid. However, they still came to the conclusion that there had to be transparency around contracting and that information should be published about the list of suppliers, the nature of the contracts and their cost as well as accountability regarding what happened, what they did and the outcome. That was one of the recommendations. They also recommended that there be better oversight of the use of consulting companies and that their code of ethics be enhanced.
If I may say so, the ethical rules of consulting firms can sometimes be scary. In fact, a consultant's first commandment is to make sure that the contract is profitable for the consultant. The second commandment is to make sure that the contract is renewed. As for the third commandment, see number one.
I will say it again: Hiring a consultant is not the issue. However, it is extremely unethical to contract out public policies to unelected officials who suggest the terms—terms which, if we are to believe what we have learned, no one was able to challenge. Whole swaths of public policy have been subcontracted to McKinsey without any accountability, for McKinsey or the government.
In my mind, McKinsey is not the enemy. In some ways, I am more concerned about government management. Public enterprise fulfilled a request. However, what concerns us in the reports is the lack of transparency. Why was this done without tenders, for example? There may be good reason. We need to find out.
This feels a bit like subcontracting the nation-state, and that scares me. It scares me because McKinsey, which does business all over the world with all kinds of countries, with China as with the United States, with Russia as with Ukraine, becomes, in a sense, a supranational government. Basically, McKinsey has more data than most governments on both sides, but McKinsey was not elected. We need to be very clear about that.
When a government cannot even develop its own policies, there is a name for that. It is called incompetence. I think the government before us today is a tired government that cannot even be bothered to govern anymore.
The Liberal government wanted a majority, but it does not have one. Personally, I would have liked to be an artist, but I am not. Maybe I should ask McKinsey what it takes to be an artist. They could help me. The Liberals need to try to rise above partisanship and act like a government.
I will close by telling the House about an adage that, as an ethicist, I have lived by all these years, and it has to do with light and darkness. It goes something like this: Any action that needs darkness to succeed is probably more unethical than an action that can stand the light. In the case of McKinsey, I have realized that darkness is at play.
Mr. Speaker, I was not planning to start my speech like this, but the leaves me no choice. I listened to his speech. He spent most of his time saying that we should not be debating the Conservative motion, that this was not the right place. He even said that this could have been done on an opposition day.
I would like to point out that every time the Liberals do not want to talk about something that scares them, they say we should be debating something else. For example, during one of the last Bloc opposition days, we brought up the topic of the monarchy. All day, from the beginning of the debate to the end, the Liberal members told us that we should be talking about something else and that we were not in the House to talk about the monarchy. They listed all the topics that they felt we should be talking about. Every time a debate inconveniences or embarrasses them, instead of debating the motion, they provide us with the same response. They say that we should not be debating the motion here, that we should go somewhere else.
As I said, the parliamentary secretary proposed that we address this issue on an opposition day. However, when we bring up a subject that the Liberals do not like on an opposition day, they spend the whole day saying that the subject should have been discussed elsewhere.
The Liberals are telling us what we can say and what subjects we can bring up on opposition days, but on top of that, when we manage to get an opposition motion adopted, the government does not respect the vote of the House of Commons and does not implement the motion. I am thinking, for example, of the Bloc Québécois motion to increase special EI sickness benefits to 50 weeks.
My lead-in to this speech is important because it shows how little respect the Liberals have for the House. They have a particular view of democracy. If they have as little respect for the House and Canadian democracy as they do for the taxpayers whose money they are spending, then this Conservative motion is extremely relevant. Rather than saying that we should debate it elsewhere, they need to show some backbone, face reality, and debate this issue for real.
I will now start the real debate. I hope that we can continue to debate the actual subject rather than the relevance of the debate. That would be a good start. After all, that is what democracy is.
The Globe and Mail is the one that revealed that contracts awarded to McKinsey skyrocketed under the 's watch, going from $2.2 million under Prime Minister Harper to over $100 million under the current Prime Minister. I am therefore rising today to talk about the Conservative motion that seeks to call upon the Auditor General of Canada to open an investigation into the federal government's connections to the McKinsey consulting firm.
To clarify for those watching at home, the Conservative motion asks that the committee report to the House that it is calling on the Auditor General to conduct a performance and value-for-money audit of the work done by McKinsey & Company for the federal government and Crown corporations since January 2011. That includes the Business Development Bank of Canada, or BDC. The committee also wants to examine the effectiveness of BDC's spending in general since 2021.
The Bloc Québécois has asked the federal government to make public all of the required information and all of the contracts so that we can find out the nature and amounts of the contracts.
For far too long now, McKinsey has held sway over Canada, over the federal government and its departments, including Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. This does not strike me as an ideal arrangement. Just look at what is happening at Roxham Road, at the files being assigned to public servants who are no longer employed there, and at the unacceptable delays. It is perfectly reasonable to wonder how McKinsey's so-called advice is helping IRCC. This is a complete fiasco. The government asks McKinsey for advice, but let us look at the results. Leaving aside the lack of transparency around the contracts, the fact that the contracts run until 2100, and the secrecy surrounding the cost, based on the current results, perhaps the government should have gone with another firm or, at the very least, asked the actual public service for help.
I see this as a failure on the Liberals' part. I will refrain from using more colourful language. I will let the auditor do her job, and I hope everyone else does too. The Bloc Québécois is satisfied with this motion, because it is time to investigate McKinsey's involvement in Canadian affairs.
I am not going to launch into a speech about interference in Canadian politics. As a Bloc Québécois member, I might have too much to say, and I do not have much time remaining. However, I will surely come back to this subject once or twice during our debates.
In the scrum held earlier today, one of my Conservative colleagues, the member for , stated: “The Auditor General has the powers and tools to get the answers to Canadians' questions”. Personally, I would really like to ask some questions. I could even put some to the Conservative Party, while I am at it.
Members have spoken about Dominic Barton, the former McKinsey executive who was one of the people behind the Century Initiative, which seeks to triple Canada's population in the next 75 years. Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is one of the strongest supporters of the Century Initiative, except for the Liberals, of course. I am wondering if the Conservative Party shares this vision of following the Century Initiative's plan for 75 years. That is a valid question, and I am pleased that the Conservative motion allows us to ask this type of question.
When the Conservative government was awarding contracts to McKinsey, was the firm registered as a lobbyist? These are questions that we will be able to ask and might even get answered. Let us not misunderstand each other. I am not defending the Liberals. It is just that I have other questions for my Conservative friends. After all, they have been in government too.
I just want to demonstrate that Canada has a long-standing friendship with McKinsey. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates opened an inquiry into the many contracts awarded to McKinsey since 2015, with a cumulative value of more than $100 million. The actual value is likely far higher. When an 81-year contract is awarded for $0, I have to think that it must worth a little more than that.
We recently found out about that contract, which is valid until January 31, 2100. No one here will be around to see the end of that contract. I wish I could, but I have to be honest with myself.
We do not know all the details of this contract right now, but the idea of having an 81-year contract does not seem to be on the up-and-up. I would not give an 81-year contract to a snow removal company, even if it were owned by my best friend. The answer is obvious. There is not a business owner in the world who would give 100-year contracts to a sub-contractor. However, that is what the government is doing with taxpayers' money. That is something else.
Was the record any better when it came to managing the pandemic? Can we find out what McKinsey did and how much it cost? As I said, when the government spends taxpayers' money, it is only fair that we know whether we got value for our money. However, when a $0, 81-year contract is awarded, it is difficult to find out the truth.
A surprising fact revealed this morning is that McKinsey is not on the Registry of Lobbyists. All the other major consulting firms, such as KPMG Canada, Deloitte Canada and Accenture, are on the various lobbyist registries. However, McKinsey is not, as it claims to have no lobbying activities.
Meanwhile, the says his friend, Dominic Barton, has a surprising list of contacts. I suppose that is why McKinsey does not need lobbyists. Dominic Barton has way too many contacts, according to this Prime Minister.
The Bloc Québécois is not asking for much. We just want to see all the unredacted contracts and all the documents produced for each department. We also want a public inquiry. Everyone knows that, to some degree, McKinsey was involved in several recent scandals here and abroad. Someone mentioned the opioid crisis earlier.
According to what the parliamentary secretary said earlier, the government is allowed to do what it did, and the same thing was happening in the United States and in European countries, such as France. Yes, it was, and now there are inquiries being carried out in the United States and France. If I understand the parliamentary secretary correctly, if someone hires a firm and an inquiry is launched into issues with contracts awarded to that firm, the same thing should happen here. They did it over there, so let us have inquiries here too. It only makes sense.
That is the way the Liberal Government of Canada thinks. This government is led by people who are clearly afraid of a public inquiry. Their reaction right now is one of fear. All I am seeing from the other side of the House is fear. If the Liberals have nothing to hide, then they have nothing to fear.
Mr. Speaker, it is not often that I have a 20-minute runway to unpack a speech, so I will take my time to meander through the most important points of this, which I think we have begun to touch on when it comes to the motion. However, I see the narrowing of the scope of this particular motion to be indicative of the refusal of both Liberals and Conservatives to unpack what is really and truly happening here.
Before I was a member of Parliament, I was a very proud city councillor in Hamilton, and I was amazed at the amount of work in our budgets that would fall under consultation. The scale there, obviously, is not quite the same as this, but names like Deloitte would pop up quite frequently. It became a process, after I was elected, of seeing these names pop up so frequently in our municipal reports and the money spent on outsourcing decision-making and advice to the consultant class.
I had the pleasure of being a member of both the government operations and public accounts committees, and the name Deloitte would continue to pop up. In fact, it became such a prominent feature within many of the studies, that I and a good friend of mine from the Conservative Party would joke and laugh every time the name Deloitte came up. However, when it comes to this particular motion and, in fact, this particular scandal, I have to say that I am amazed at the Conservative's lack of willingness to expand the scope beyond McKinsey. Why is that? I think there are some important questions to be asked.
Of course, like all Canadians, New Democrats are concerned with the significant increase in contracting out to McKinsey over the past several years. In fact, as the only labour party in the House, we are concerned with all contracting out in the public sector. This is a scenario where we have Conservative governments, which tend to be the hatchet when it comes to the public sector, and then we have the Liberal government, which would rather starve the public sector through a death by a thousand cuts. If the Conservatives are wielding a hatchet, the Liberals are holding a scalpel, and year after year, the capacity of our public sector is eroded and replaced with these high-paid consultants.
The rapid increase in the use and the value of McKinsey contracts over the last several years raises serious concerns about just why that is happening. What advice is McKinsey providing to the government?
Canadians go to the polls to elect a member of Parliament and a government, and they follow the platforms of the parties, which present ideas. Members will recall, back in 2015, the and the Liberal government talking about sunshine being the best disinfectant, and they talked about ending the Harper government's habit of contracting out. There has been a lot of talk in the House about who exactly is making decisions at the highest levels of our ministries across the country.
Let us not forget that there is a significant ethical component to this. Not only is it that the government is contracting out to McKinsey in these ways, but it is also McKinsey's reputation that, quite frankly, originally raised the alarms at the outset, and I will get into that. However, prior to doing that, I want to talk about the practice of both the Liberals and Conservatives to contract out and why it is that I think this particular official opposition, under this particular official opposition leader, does not have the courage to extend this conversation beyond the parameters and the scope of McKinsey.
If Canadians were to do just a little research, and if they scratched the surface and went back to 2011, they would find obscene increases on a global scale for the big six, the $100-million club of the wealthy and well-connected insiders of the consultant class in this country, the new Laurentian elites of these lands. There was Deloitte at $680 million. PricewaterhouseCoopers, a big friend of the Conservative government, is at $564,182,221.
Accenture had $283 million-plus. KPMG had$174 million-plus, almost $175 million. Ernst & Young, a fan favourite of the Bay Street elite of the Liberal and Conservative governments, had $127 million. Lastly, McKinsey & Company had $68 million from 2005 to 2022. From 2011 to 2021, under both Conservatives and Liberals, the federal government went from $54,355,132 in 2011 to $418 million-plus in 2021. That is not even accounting for this most recent boondoggle.
When I look at these massive consultancies and their relationships between both parties, I have lots of questions. I would imagine, if we were to do a quick poll even within this House of Commons, we might find, in LinkedIn profiles, people who actually worked at some of these consultancies. Canadians deserve to have answers. There is a deep cynicism in government and the revolving door among the consultant class, senior public servants and partisan parties in Canada needs to end.
When we talk about procurement and the ethics in procurement, it should be noted that what is legal is not always ethical. In fact, New Democrats have tried time and time again to ensure that we have ethical practices within our procurement, yet it is widely known that McKinsey was a key adviser in the Purdue Pharma's opioid crisis. It advised it on how to unleash this drug onto the public.
One only has to visit Hamilton Centre to see just how successful it was. The advice it provided allowed for a drug crisis, an overdose and toxic-supply crisis of the likes that we have not seen in generations. McKinsey was named in a $600-million lawsuit against Purdue. Why we as a country have not also pursued a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and all of the pernicious pharmaceutical companies that were involved in the opioid crisis is for another conversation, but I do think that significant attention must be paid to their role in this manner.
When I talked about the big six, the $100-million club, we also need to know precisely who these consultants are contracted with. How can one provide advice on health care when, within one's client list, is Purdue Pharma? How can one provide consultant advice for the Department of National Defence when one's clients include Lockheed Martin and many others?
On the face of this, just on the first scratch, this is a conflict of interest. It is a conflict of interest to outsource these decisions and decision-making around procurement to a company that has a vendor list that could very well benefit and profit from the very contracts it is advising on. If that is not illegal in this country today, it ought to be. It ought to be a consideration of this study. We should take a deep dive in this study beyond McKinsey to get the contract lists on all of these massive consulting companies.
Deloitte got $680 million. That is a giant. Why are the Conservatives not talking about that?
Why has the scope of this been narrowed so much? I have my thoughts, but perhaps the , when he gives his remarks, will show some courage and that he is willing to take on the broader issue at hand and not just chase another ambulance. I am on the ethics committee. I know what Conservative ambulance chasing looks like.
We need to open the scope of this study. We need to include all of them, and we need to go back to 2011 because it is quite clear that there is a correlation between the cuts to the public sector and contracting out.
Let us review this. Under Harper, who started the vicious cuts to the public sector, by the time his government was through, 37,000 jobs were lost by 2014. That was 8% of the government's workforce. They were squeezing the public sector wages and complaining about their pensions only to turn around and pay these pigs at the trough almost a billion dollars. That is absurd.
We have good people working in the public sector. We should be training and investing in their knowledge. The , who wants to quibble about a contract and an agreement, refuses to acknowledge that past behaviour often determines future outcomes. For the last 10 years, we have had Liberal and Conservative governments continuing the habit of outsourcing, ramped up by the Liberal government.
Let us be clear. Numbers got really big for consultants under the , under “Prime Minister Sunny Ways”. It has been sunny ways for the consultant class in this country, and it is time for us—
Mr. Speaker, I would concur: That was not a point of order. However, it is good to see the hon. member carrying the extra weight for the who ran on a platform of sunny ways and of ending precisely what his government well outpaced Harper on.
Let us be very clear: The did a job here when he ballooned these payouts from $99 million, or actually in Harper's last year, $75 million, to $418 million in 2021. He would make Harper blush with the work he has done lining the pockets of the ultrawealthy, knowing their record.
Let us be clear: Either the and this cabinet knew who they were dealing with, or they did not. If they knew about McKinsey's atrocious record and procured it anyway, shame on them. If they did not know, it is absolute incompetence. I have a hard time believing the Liberals did not know because not only did they get these contracts under Dominic Barton, but they also made him an ambassador. With regard to national security, where is Dominic Barton now? The last time I checked, he was working with the former chief of staff of the in Eurasia Group. There are incestuous relationships on the Hill within the consultant class and partisan politics, and they need to end. Canadians deserve answers on more than just about McKinsey.
Will my Conservative colleagues in this House have the courage to expand the scope of this to include the other big five pigs at the trough or not? That is the question here today. In doing so, hopefully, we can finally get to the bottom of this. Hopefully, we can find a way to embed ethics into procurement. Hopefully, we can address the conflict of interest, which I believe is real when they have consultants who work for both the purchaser and the vendor. This is particularly true when it comes to the military and given the global uncertainty and obscene profiteering of war that we are seeing right now.
We spend a lot of time in this House talking about the suffering of victims, and quite rightly so. However, I do not think anybody spends enough time talking about the absolute profiteering of war. When people go to war, it is not the rich who go. Working-class people, not private-school kids, are the ones who go to the front lines to die. The people on Bay Street and the ultrawealthy on Wall Street and the likes are the ones who make money, no matter who dies, by funding both sides.
I do not know that I need the other five minutes to recapitulate the points I have already made. I appreciate having 20 minutes to go in on this very important topic. I am interested in hearing what the has to say about agreements and contracts from the last 10 years. Maybe the Liberals see an opportunity to expand the scope of this to include the other five pigs at the trough so we can get a real sense of just who is making money, who is making the decisions around this country and who is benefiting on the backs of good public sector jobs and taxpayers.
I will concede the rest of my time.
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for for that brief lecture. It would have been preferable if he had just answered my question. I am sure that on a number of occasions he has voted in favour, including on Hamilton budgets that would have included spending money on employing outside firms, despite the fact that he will grandstand in the House and suggest that no such thing should ever happen. In any event, I will move on.
I would just like to take a moment before I get into my speech to recognize somebody from my community, Marie Louise Benson, who just turned 100 years old yesterday. Marie Louise was actually born in the Netherlands and was 17 years old when the Germans invaded Holland. She later moved to Canada after she married the former member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, Edgar Benson, who also served in the government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau as the finance minister for four years.
I congratulate Mrs. Benson on 100 years. Yesterday she said, “I'm 100 on the dot, and starting a new year tomorrow”. If we all could have such a great outlook on life, I think this would be such a tremendous place to live in.
It is an honour for me to stand in this place today and speak to the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, entitled “Federal Government Consulting Contracts Awarded to McKinsey & Company”. At the outset, I would like to thank the committee for undertaking this very important issue.
Contracting for goods and services is a regular part of how the government operates to deliver programs and services to Canadians. The use of professional services complements the work of Canada's public professional service. For example, professional services might be needed to acquire special expertise or to meet the unexpected fluctuations in the workload. Time-limited projects, shortages in certain employment groups and shortages in certain geographic locations may also require the use of professional services. Consultants can also provide independent verification of decisions, offer another viewpoint or establish a set of options for consideration.
I will share some examples of why professional services are needed. We can take, for instance, the firefighters who were brought to help quell the forest fires in British Columbia. Another example is the services needed to operate and maintain our assets and facilities, like cleaning our buildings or repairing our vehicles. The reality is that sometimes the use of external services is necessary. Fortunately, we have robust systems and mechanisms in place to ensure that contracts are awarded in a manner that is fair, open and transparent.
With that in mind, I would like to outline the policies and processes in place for government contracting. As my hon. colleagues will know, the Treasury Board sets the administrative policy for federal procurement, guided by the principles of fairness, openness, transparency, competition and integrity, all while ensuring the best value. The directive of management of procurement sets the expectations and requirements that departments and agencies must follow so that their procurements are managed in a way that supports the delivery of programs and services to Canadians, demonstrates best value and is consistent with the government's and Canada's socio-economic and environmental objectives.
This directive was updated in the last two years, and there is now an explicit requirement that every department have an appointed senior official responsible for procurement. This official is responsible for establishing, implementing and maintaining a departmental procurement framework that consists of processes, systems and controls for procurement. The framework supports the management of procurement so that it is fair, open and transparent.
There are also clearly defined responsibilities for government departments when conducting procurements, including those for services.
First and foremost, government departments and agencies are expected to maintain the integrity of the procurement process and protect government spending from fraud and unethical business practices. This is done through internal processes and controls, such as the standard contract clauses, and by effective mechanisms for disclosure of any wrongdoing.
Second, government departments and agencies are responsible for clearly defining the intended outcomes of a procurement, including operational requirements, expected benefits and how those outcomes align with the government's strategic direction and total costs over the life cycle.
Third, departments are responsible for ensuring that government gets the best value. In that regard, it should be noted that the lowest price is not always the best value. Best value can be defined in policy as a balance between pricing and outcomes, so it includes concepts like socio-economic and environmental considerations.
In addition to these controls, the Treasury Board also sets contracting limits, dollar thresholds that determine which contracts will require Treasury Board authority to allow entry into the contract and which ones are fully delegated to a minister. Under these thresholds, individual departments may enter into contracts by themselves. Public servants at Procurement Canada and Shared Services Canada, as common service providers, can be the contracting authority for other departments and can provide additional due diligence to the department. These departments have higher contracting limits than other departments, so they will typically handle large-scale procurements.
Transparency and accountability are core throughout all of these processes. For instance, government opportunities are posted publicly online at CanadaBuys. Perhaps more importantly, departments are accountable to Parliament and to Canadians through the disclosure of contracting activity, which is reported quarterly. This is in addition to the annual departmental results report, which provides detailed accounts of departments' activities to parliamentarians and to Canadians.
The fact is that every government has an obligation to be transparent and responsible with taxpayer money, and it is an obligation we take extremely seriously. Unethical business behaviour by suppliers has numerous consequences. It undermines fair competition. It threatens the integrity of markets. It is a barrier to economic growth. It increases the cost and risk of doing business. It undermines public confidence in government institutions.
Departments have a responsibility for protecting government spending from fraud, corruption, unethical business practices and collusive behaviour. That is exactly what Public Services and Procurement Canada's integrity regime aims to address. The integrity regime sets out guidelines that help Canada avoid entering into contracts with suppliers that have been convicted of certain offences, like fraud, bribery and bid rigging.
Another critical tool is the Conflict of Interest Act. As hon. colleagues know, the act establishes conflict of interest and postemployment roles for public office holders, which include ministers, ministerial staff and Governor in Council appointees, such as deputy heads. It plays an important role in maintaining public confidence in the integrity of public office holders in government decision-making.
The Conflict of Interest Act has strict guidelines to minimize the possibility of conflicts between private interests and the duties of public officer holders, including when it comes to external contracts. The act also provides a stringent vetting process, with critical safeguards in place to address potential or actual conflicts of interest. They are standard contract clauses, a requirement for proposals to be reviewed through a conflict of interest lens, and the need for evaluators to recuse themselves in the event of real or possible conflicts. In addition, all contracts can be subject to review by internal audits and the Auditor General of Canada.
I would like to also mention the “Open and Accountable Government” document, which sets out core principles regarding the roles and responsibilities of ministers and ministerial exempt staff. For example, exempt staff may ask departmental officials for information, relay instructions from the minister or be informed of decisions in order to address communications and strategic issues.
Let me be very clear on this issue. Exempt staff do not have a role in departmental operations. In fact, they are prohibited by law from exercising the delegated authority of a minister. Furthermore, they are prohibited from giving direction to departmental officials on the discharge of their responsibilities or on issues relating to the management of departmental resources or operational matters.
As public office holders, exempt staff members are exempt and are expected to act with honesty and uphold the highest ethical standards. That means complying with the ethical guidelines outlined in the “Open and Accountable Government” document, as well as conflict of interest and postemployment obligations under the Conflict of Interest Act and the Lobbying Act.
They may also “not knowingly or intentionally encourage or induce other governmental officials, including parliamentarians, Ministers, public servants and other exempt staff members, to act in manner contrary to the law”.
Exempt staff are required to “make themselves aware of ethical standards, expectations, and obligations of public servants set out in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and departmental codes of conduct”.
This means that they must not “engage public servants in any activity that is inconsistent with their ethical and legal obligations”.
For public servants, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector outlines the values and expected behaviours that guide them in the activities related to their professional duties. The code is wide ranging but, importantly, it provides a platform for employees to report any wrongdoing that they witness. Taken together, these measures play a critical role in ensuring accountability. They are part of a larger system in place to ensure that the government is open and transparent to both parliamentarians and Canadians.
In our parliamentary system, the government provides Parliament with detailed financial information throughout the year. The estimates document, the departmental plans, the public accounts and departmental results report play a critical role by presenting parliamentarians and Canadians with details on the government's activities and spending.
All of the latest financial information, including planned spending authorities and estimated expenditures, is publicly available on the Government of Canada InfoBase and Open Government. This wide range of financial reports supports Parliament's scrutiny of public funds. That said, there is always room for improvement, which is why the government committed to taking steps to strengthen our procurement policy by integrating human rights, environment, social and corporate governance, and supply chain transparency principles into government procurements.
There is no denying that we have a world-class public service. Whether from a formal work site or a home office, public servants across the country continue to provide Canadians with the services they rely on. Like all of us in this place, they are dedicated to serving Canadians. Providing the services Canadians rely on sometimes requires additional support. That said, we know a strong federal public service is the best way to deliver for Canadians. The government is developing a long-term government-wide public service skills strategy, including increasing the number of public servants with modern, digital skills and improving external recruitment.
As we modernize legacy systems and further digitize operations and services, increased investment in IT is essential. Where it makes sense we use internal resources, and where we need to we supplement those with external resources. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is developing government-wide digital talent and digital skills strategies designed to identify and fill critical digital skills gaps while advancing learning and recruitment.
The TBS is also developing new guidance for departments on digital talent sourcing to help plan for its digital talent needs, increase the volume of ready-to-hire talent in pools and ensure recruitment is aligned to priority areas. It is intended to reduce dependency on contracting and to fill digital talent gaps. These efforts are expected to result in improved business intelligence, interdepartmental collaboration and access to digital talent.
Clearly, Canada has robust policies and tools in place to ensure that contracting is done in a professional and non-partisan manner. As an extra level of assurance, the has asked the and the to undertake a review of all procurements by government departments with McKinsey & Company. The intent of the review will be to verify if these procurements were conducted in accordance with Treasury Board policies and directives.
The government takes its responsibility as the steward of public funds very seriously, and it is committed to ensuring that government spending stands up to the highest levels of scrutiny. To that end, the government welcomes a performance and value-for-money audit, by the Auditor General, of the contracts awarded to McKinsey & Company since January 1, 2011, by any department, agency or Crown corporation.
It will, therefore, be my pleasure to vote in support of this motion.