Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics – December 11, 2020

In Committee from the House of Commons

Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics – December 11, 2020

Simon Kennedy (Deputy Minister at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada) faces questions over his experience with David MacNaughton’s, Canada’s former ambassador to the U.S., lobbying efforts on behalf of Palantir Technologies Canada.

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion ruled that MacNaughton broke lobbying rules when he arranged multiple meetings earlier this year between senior government officials, ministers and Palantir Technologies Canada. MacNaughton was appointed president of the data-analytics company in August 2019, shortly before he stepped down as ambassador at the end of that month. He arranged meetings to offer pro bono help on behalf of Palantir to assist the federal government in its COVID-19 response. Dion has ordered nine officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance, to have no official dealings with MacNaughton for one year.

The committee also hears from Roy Bélanger Avocats S.E.N.C.R.L.’s Denis Gallant, Blumberg Segal LLP’s Mark Blumberg, and Electronic Privacy Information Center’s Jeramie D. Scott.