Mr. Speaker, I move that the third report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, presented on Monday, May 2, be concurred in.
I will be sharing my time.
It is a pleasure for me to speak today to this important third report of the transport committee. It is a report with one recommendation: “That the Government of Canada abolish the Canada Infrastructure Bank.” I was quite pleased to see that this recommendation was endorsed by the majority of the committee. I hope, therefore, that as a result of today's debate, this report will be concurred in and we will have a decision by the House to call for the abolition of the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
This underlines the reverse Midas touch the Prime Minister has. Everyone has heard of the Midas touch from the old myth where there was a king and everything he touched turned into gold. That would have been great for his national economy, although it might have led to inflation given the increase in the supply of gold. What we have with the Prime Minister, though, is a reverse Midas touch: Everything he touches turns into complete disaster.
It would be of mythical proportions if it were not demonstrable in the clear record of the government and the Prime Minister. After eight years, the Liberal-NDP government truly has the Midas touch, although I can guess, from the fact that the majority endorsed this report, that even the NDP may have agreed to this recommendation to abolish the Canada Infrastructure Bank. I say, “et tu Brute”. It is a majority recommendation from the committee.
Let us talk about the record of the Infrastructure Bank, which the Liberals have been championing. It is projected to lose money every single year. It has not completed a single project, and according to Statistic Canada's definition of private sector investment, it has attracted no private sector investment. That is a pretty clear indictment of the immense failure we have seen at this so-called Infrastructure Bank, which has not completed any infrastructure projects.
Only the Prime Minister could lose money running a bank. It is a reverse Midas touch indeed. We could talk about ethics in government. We could talk about our economic situation. We could talk about our foreign policy reputation. We could talk about the situation of crime, drugs and disorder. It is clear that the Prime Minister has a whopping, massive record of failures and of not delivering on the things Canadians want.
This is why more and more Canadians are responding to the call for a common-sense plan. After eight years, people have had enough of the NDP-Liberal government's record of failures. They are looking for a common-sense Conservative alternative that would put the interests of Canadians first: their homes, their jobs, their paycheques and their well-being.
I want to address one specific aspect of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and that is the close relationship between the government and McKinsey and how that relationship was part of the story of the creation of this so-called bank.
It has been clear from the beginning that the government has had a close and cozy relationship with the consulting company McKinsey. McKinsey has gotten over $100 million in contracts from the government. While the public service has grown, there has been a significant expansion in outsourcing, and McKinsey has been a big part of that.
The government has a close relationship with McKinsey in spite of the role that McKinsey played in advising Purdue Pharma on how to fuel the opioid crisis and in spite of the fact that McKinsey advised the Saudi government, giving it information about dissidents, with that information leading to the subsequent targeting of these dissidents. We have spoken in the House before at great length about the, frankly, innumerable ethical and moral failures of McKinsey.
However, what happened in this context in particular? Dominic Barton, who is the former managing partner at McKinsey, was an adviser to the government and led something called the Prime Minister's growth council at the same time as McKinsey was pitching its products to the government. According to his testimony, he was not directly involved in the pitching process, but one of the people working within McKinsey was involved in supplying analysts for Canada's growth council at the same time as that person was involved in pitching to the government for Government of Canada contracts and business. They were quite successful in getting this business from the government. This was an instance of a cozy relationship between a consulting firm and the government and a situation in which that consulting firm was able to do a great deal of business.
Dominic Barton was subsequently made ambassador to China, and he was asked, by a member of the government at the previous meeting of the transport committee, this question: “As ambassador, did you misuse your position to lobby for business, somehow, for a company with which you were no longer associated and from which you didn't profit?” Dominic Barton replied, “There were extremely strict rules and protocols put in place. Basically, it was excommunicado. There were very strict processes and protocols followed. If anything ever came in, it went to the deputy head of mission or the deputy.”
That was a very interesting claim, which was subsequently contradicted by emails that were made public that revealed something quite different. There were discussions. I am trying to find the emails in front of me, and I will get to them if members want specific citations during questions and comments. Subsequently, there was an email exchange, and we probed this issue at another meeting of the transport committee. The email exchange was specifically looking at the availability of Mr. Barton, while he was the ambassador to China, to participate in a call related to the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
It was evident from those emails that there were conversations about the Infrastructure Bank that, in fact, Dominic Barton was involved in. The Conservatives sought to hold Dominic Barton accountable for this at committee and asked how he was no longer with McKinsey, ostensibly, but had these close relationships with all these folks who work for McKinsey, how people who had worked for McKinsey ended up in influential roles within the Infrastructure Bank and how he, as ambassador to China working for the government, was still involved in these kinds of calls.
At one point it was referenced in one of those emails that this was a very sensitive matter, and it is no surprise that it was a sensitive matter. It was a very sensitive matter because people did not want it to come out that there was this very close relationship between the government and McKinsey. I believe the closeness of that relationship played a significant role in the creation of the Infrastructure Bank, which subsequently engaged many people who work or had previously worked for McKinsey. It was very beneficial for McKinsey.
McKinsey did well out of this, but it was not beneficial for Canadians to have a so-called Infrastructure Bank that, in the end, is losing money every year, has not completed a single project and has attracted no private sector investment. The so-called Infrastructure Bank is delivering for Liberal insiders, like McKinsey, but it is not delivering for Canadians. We can talk about the many failures of the government to deliver results for Canadians, but I think what is underlining that failure to deliver results is that the Liberals are working hard to deliver for someone else. That is, they are working hard to deliver for well-connected insiders.
While I am on my feet, I should mention that today at the government operations committee we have hearings on another important ongoing Liberal scandal. This is the “ArriveSCAM” issue: $54 million was spent on an app that was really glitchy and did not work properly, and well-connected middlemen who did no IT work were collecting a significant amount of money, over $11 million, simply to receive and subcontract that work out. The Conservatives will be fighting to get to the bottom of what happened with “ArriveSCAM”. We also saw in the news today that there is new information: A $9-million contract was given to GC Strategies. These well-connected Liberal insiders have been cashing in, it seems, on multiple contracts.
Again, the Liberals and the Liberal-NDP government in general are trying to assist well-connected insiders, but they are failing to deliver for Canadians. We need a new government, a common-sense alternative, that would stand up for the best interests of the Canadian people.