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Millions for a disastrous management of the pandemic and the economy

The government gives the reins of power to a private firm

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In recent months, journalistic investigations have revealed the oversized and disturbing role played by the consulting firm McKinsey in the management of COVID-19 in Quebec and Ontario. The same firm also advised the U.S. government and several other countries during this period.

In Quebec, McKinsey charged $35,000 a day (!) for its good advice. For this daily fee, which is close to the median net annual salary of a Canadian worker, the firm stuck its nose into the management of personnel in nursing homes, into the official discourse on the pandemic, into the economic recovery plan, the "effectiveness" of which we have since been able to appreciate, and into many other files.

In Ontario, Auditor General Lysyk concluded in a 231-page report that McKinsey rather than Public Health led the provincial response to the pandemic. There is no doubt that more such revelations will follow.

While the spotlight is currently on McKinsey, it is an entire para-governmental consulting industry that is being exposed. For example, the auditing firm Deloitte also influenced the management of the pandemic in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.

Deloitte and McKinsey are just two offshoots of an entire transnational external consulting industry, to which KPMG, DwC and others also belong. This industry, which is beholden to no one but its major shareholders, seems to have largely driven a pandemic management that has proved catastrophic in two ways.

Guided by these firms, provincial governments have been unable to prevent the deaths of thousands of elderly, sick and vulnerable people. At the same time, they have drastically curtailed people's rights and freedoms through curfews and fines. They have pushed health care workers to the brink of burnout. They are now raising the cost of living and making us poorer to "save the economy".

The tentacles of these firms extend far beyond the management of the COVID. McKinsey is also currently making a name for itself by helping Trudeau manage the federal Phoenix payroll debacle, which has been known to leave public sector employees without paychecks for months or years.

The firm also helped promote the use of opiates that are now slowly killing people across the continent. It often aids the less trustworthy allies of the Canadian and American governments, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

In such a context, we should not be surprised that fewer and fewer people trust our governments. Their decisions appear more and more clearly to be made "by and for" the most dubious multinationals, at the expense of the interests of the ordinary world. By relying on private consultants, federal and provincial governments are evading the modest degree of transparency that governs the activities of elected officials and registered lobbies, leaving us in the dark about their decisions and plans.

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