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MPs to probe Parliament Hill construction contract

A construction tarp covers the north tower of West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Oct. 4, 2010.

DAVE CHAN/dave chan The Globe and Mail

The opposition is launching an inquiry into a controversial $9-million renovation contract on Parliament Hill, which is already under RCMP investigation.

Approving a motion from the Bloc Québécois, a majority of MPs on the government operations committee of the House decided to hear key witnesses on the matter, including the 2008 winner of the contract, LM Sauvé president Paul Sauvé.

In addition, the committee will want to hear from consultant Gilles Varin, who is facing allegations of unregistered lobbying for his role in helping LM Sauvé obtain the contract.

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The witness list will also include businessman Michael Fortier, who was the minister of Public Works when the contract was awarded, and Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis, who was at Public Works when LM Sauvé defaulted on the contract and was thrown out of the project by the government.

Mr. Paradis is under fire for attending a Conservative fundraiser in 2009 that had been partly organized by Mr. Sauvé, who said it was a way to thank the party for obtaining the contract.

The NDP also succeeded in proposing a motion calling on the government to stop awarding contracts for the renovation of all buildings on Parliament Hill until the end of the inquiry.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Daniel Leblanc studied political science at the University of Ottawa and journalism at Carleton University. He became a full-time reporter in 1998, first at the Ottawa Citizen and then in the Ottawa bureau of The Globe and Mail. More

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