Dominic Barton, Canadian Prince of Cashing-in Compradors, and Conflict of Interest (note “UPDATE”)

Further to this post,

Ace of Compradors Ambassador Dominic Barton gives up Selling the PRC to Canada

Effectively Beijing’s man in Beijing, the erstwhile head honcho at McKinsey is abandoning his gig with the Canadian government…

By the way he is known as Bao Damin (Chinese: 鲍达民) in China. Now an attempt at some accountability for a quintessential Davos-man, Canadian of a, er, certain sort, and surely a duke of chutzpah –at the Globe and Mail:

Watchdog asked to probe former China envoy Dominic Barton’s job appointment

Robert Fife Ottawa Bureau Chief Steven Chase Senior parliamentary reporter

The federal Ethics Commissioner has been formally asked to investigate whether Canada’s former ambassador to Beijing, Dominic Barton, violated ethics rules when he accepted an offer to become chair of Rio Tinto, a global mining company that does much of its business in China.

Two New Democratic [left] MPs wrote to the commissioner, Mario Dion, on Friday. Their letter says they believe Mr. Barton is in breach of the Conflict of Interest Act because he met with executives of Rio Tinto shortly before the end of his time as a diplomat.

The miner announced on Dec. 19, about 10 weeks after an October meeting with Mr. Barton, that it was hiring him. Mr. Barton had announced on Dec. 6 that he would leave his envoy post at the end of that month.The letter notes that federal conflict-of-interest guidelines restrict the ability of former senior officials, such as Mr. Barton, to take jobs with companies with which they had “direct and significant official dealings” during their final 12 months of government work.

“The Conflict of Interest legislation is in place to protect Canadians from officials in positions of power unethically leveraging their public service to unfairly benefit themselves or their family, either financially or through greater influence and position,” NDP foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson and Matthew Green, the party’s ethics critic, write in the letter.

China accounts for more than half of Rio Tinto’s revenue, largely because of the country’s need for iron ore to fuel its massive steel manufacturing industry [emphasis added]. The mining giant also extracts copper, gold, uranium and diamonds. Mr. Barton will begin as chair in May, 2022…

*Dominic Barton met Rio Tinto executives months before firm named him chair

The Globe reported in December that Mr. Barton met with Rio Tinto representatives on Oct. 8, in his capacity as ambassador to China.

Rio Tinto spokesperson Matthew Klar said in December that the meeting did not involve a job offer to the ambassador, and that it was disclosed to the Ethics Commissioner, “who indicated that it would not impact Mr. Barton’s ability to accept the appointment” as chair.

The federal rules restricting post-government employment apply during a one-year “cooling-off” period following an official’s last day in office. After the year ends, they are free to accept job offers as a private citizen. For former federal cabinet ministers and ministers of state, the period is two years…

Melanie Rushworth, a spokesperson for the Ethics Commissioner, said strict confidentiality rules prevent Mr. Dion from saying whether an examination has been initiated. The rules also prevent the office from discussing any aspects of the Barton case, she said.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong said the question the Ethics Commissioner must answer is whether Mr. Barton had any significant dealings with Rio Tinto in the year before he left his post as ambassador. He said the Oct. 8 incident “looks untoward,” and that it’s incumbent the commissioner get to the bottom of the matter…

The NDP MP [Heather McPherson] said it’s also significant that Mr. Barton had access to secret government information about China and will soon be working for a company that does more than half its business in that country…

Before being named ambassador in September, 2019, Mr. Barton led McKinsey and Co. as the firm’s global managing partner. During his time at the helm, McKinsey advised Chinese state-owned enterprises, as well as many companies doing business in China. Mr. Barton was previously McKinsey’s Asian chair, from 2004 to 2009.

As ambassador, Mr. Barton was a supporter of closer trade ties with Beijing, which he championed after the release of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor from Chinese prisons [emhasis added]. He has not tended to criticize China’s human-rights record.

During his time as head of McKinsey, Mr. Barton led the company through several controversies – including some related to China…

McKinsey’s work in China, including during Mr. Barton’s tenure, has drawn scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers. Republican Senator Marco Rubio has been demanding that McKinsey share information about its work in China, and about how it prevents conflicts of interest between its consulting business for the U.S. government and its Chinese state-owned clients [emphasis added].

UPDATE: Boy, is our conflict of interest legislation weak–the above stinkeroo just oozes through:

Canada’s former China ambassador won’t face ethics probe over Rio Tinto job  

By Alex Boutilier Global News

Senator Rubio is noted at this post:

Compradors Galore: McKinsey and Dominic Barton, now Canadian Ambassador to the PRC (note Marco Rubio)

See also this one:

Canada’s Ambassador to PRC, Ace of Compradors Dominic Barton, “is essentially toxic in Washington now”

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

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