Dominic Barton, a former ambassador to China and top McKinsey official, denied any friendship with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an appearance before a parliamentary committee on Wednesday.
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“I am not a friend. I have a professional relationship. I respect him, I think he respects me. I don’t have his personal phone, and I’ve never been in a room alone with him,” he said, adding that he was “shocked” by the allegations and rumors about their intimacy.
He said he first met Justin Trudeau in an elevator in 2013, two years before he became prime minister, on his way to a meeting with former Conservative finance minister Jim Flaherty.
Again on Wednesday, today’s Conservative leader Pierre Poilivre criticized Justin Trudeau for being a “very close friend” of Dominic Barton, especially since the two were chosen as ambassador to China in 2019 to pilot the Michael File.
Mr. Barton was not just a secondary figure in the mysterious American firm: associated with McKinsey since 1986, he rose through the ranks and over time became global managing director between 2009 and 2018.
On Wednesday, Justin Trudeau said “no” when asked if his relationship with Mr. Barton had influenced the awarding of contracts by Canada.
No contracts involved
Under fire from MPs, Mr. Barton also denied having any role in the award or work from the Canadian government, especially as he traveled to Asia in 1996.
“To put it in perspective, McKinsey is a very large company. The work being done in Canada is very small,” said Mr. Barton, now president of Rio Tinto. “I’ve never seen a deal with the Canadian government so closely.”
As international director, he devoted much of his time to the company’s “strategic” direction and recruiting staff to achieve a long-term vision of McKinsey’s role in the world.
Remember McKinsey has won more than $100 million in contracts since the Liberals came to power in 2015.
Dominic Barton acknowledges the “tremendous growth” that consultancy firms have experienced in recent years.
He says governments are still in the “stone age” when it comes to training their employees.
While praising the quality of civil service personnel, he opined that governments should “invest more” in training.
The explosion of deals is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has overloaded not only governments around the world, but also consulting firms like McKinsey, which have struggled to find the staff they need to get the job done.