Old Mulroney Family Friend Tapped to Chair Brand New Ontario Government Procurement Agency
Chair of Supply Ontario served as Brian Mulroney's Executive Assistant, listed making donations to Caroline Mulroney's leadership bid
Doug Ford’s government is turning to one of the Mulroney’s old family friends to help run Ontario’s new procurement agency.
Paul G. Smith, CEO of Toronto tech company Rally Enterprises & Communications, was recently named as Chair of Supply Ontario, a new centralized procurement agency in charge of buying goods and services for the public sector, including supplies for Ontario schools and hospitals.
“It is an honour for me and my fellow directors to serve the people of Ontario and the Minister’s policy objectives as we centralize procurement for the government’s 6,000 buyers,” Smith is quoted in a government press release.
Supply Ontario is under the umbrella of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, which is itself headed by Minister Lisa Thompson.
But Smith has longstanding ties to the family of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and current Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney.
The seasoned executive got his start working in Ottawa for Mulroney’s government in the 1980s, eventually taking a role inside the the Prime Minister’s Office serving as Mulroney’s personal Executive Assistant.
Smith’s name is also listed a donor to the younger Mulroney’s 2018 PC leadership campaign, giving Caroline’s failed leadership bid $1,600. Elections Ontario records also list Paul G. Smith’s name as having also donated $1,083 to Ford’s PCs in 2019.
Paul G. Smith’s name is also listed donating $1,412 to the constituency association of Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy in 2019.
Provincially, Smith has been a very vocal supporter of the Ontario PCs.
— Paul G. Smith (@pgs_smith) February 17, 2018
Smith has been active in conservative politics in recent years.
In 2014, Smith mounted a failed campaign to secure the federal Conservative Party nomination in the riding of Northumberland Peterborough-South.
Smith collected key endorsements from a number of high-profile names, including former Harper cabinet ministers Peter Mackay, Kellie Leitch, and Shelly Glover, as well as former Prime Minister Mulroney himself.
“Paul Smith’s service to Canada has been notable, and his love of our country is profound,” Mulroney said. “He has all the makings of a superb constituency man, and, if given a chance, will be a Member of Parliament of consequence.”
Brian Mulroney personally headlined a campaign event for Smith in Cobourg — photos indicate Caroline Mulroney and brother Ben made appearances, as well.
Smith’s name also popped up in 2009 during the Oliphant Inquiry, when Mulroney discussed a meeting at Harrington Lake with Karlheinz Schreiber — the German businessman made an appearance after apparently being chauffeured to the Prime Minister’s Harrington Lake cottage in Smith’s second-hand jeep.
The Oliphant Inquiry concluded that the former Prime Minister took $225,000 in cash from a European arms dealer in the early 1990s, something the Inquiry deemed inappropriate.
Smith also currently serves as chairman of the Park Lawn Corporation, where Caroline’s sibling Nicolas served up until recently as VP of Mergers and Acquisitions and Strategic Initiatives.
Nicolas Mulroney also publicly expressed his support for Gillian Smith’s 2018 run under the banner of Doug Ford’s PCs in the Toronto riding of University-Rosedale — Gillian Smith is Paul Smith’s spouse.
-8 degrees? Nothing stops @gilliansmith73 and her team! Just think about how this amazing work ethic will continue all the way to Queen’s Park!
— Nicolas Mulroney (@nicmulroney) February 8, 2018
DemocracyWatch Co-founder Duff Conacher told PressProgress government rules do not allow cabinet ministers to participate in the appointments of family friends and political supporters.
While Supply Ontario falls under Minister Thompson’s portfolio, Conacher stressed that public appointments are always supposed to be made based professional qualifications and if Mulroney had any role in his selection, it would be a serious problem.
“It is clear that a Cabinet minister can’t participate in an appointment process of someone who is a supporter and family friend, because that would be improper and bias the appointment process, which is required to be merit-based and ethical.”
Neither Mulroney’s Office, Smith’s company nor Supply Ontario responded to requests for comment from PressProgress.
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