Conservatives call for ‘other Randy’ to testify as minister’s business dealings face ethics probe

Conservatives call for ‘other Randy’ to testify as minister’s business dealings face ethics probe

The Conservatives have filed a motion requesting that the “other Randy” allegedly employed by a company co-founded by Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault appear in front of a parliamentary committee.

The motion calls for the individual to testify before the House ethics committee, along with the other co-founder of Global Health Imports.

Boissonnault is facing questions about his alleged involvement in the operations of Global Health Imports since becoming a cabinet minister — which could contravene the Conflict of Interest Act.

Earlier this week, Global News published September 2022 text messages between Boissonnault’s former business partner, Stephen Anderson, and Malvina Ghaoui, the principal of the California-based company The Ghaoui Group.

The texts referred to the involvement of someone named “Randy” in a discussion about a wire transfer of roughly $500,000 to secure a large shipment of nitrile gloves. That led to questions about whether Boissonnault was involved in the daily operations of the PPE company Global Health Imports a year after he joined the federal cabinet.

‘That person is not me,’ minister says

A spokesperson for the company told Global News that the reference to “Randy” in the texts does not refer to Boissonnault. The spokesperson said the Randy mentioned in the texts is the company’s “head of logistics” but declined to give his last name.

Boissonnault told the House of Commons on Thursday that he has “had no role in this company since being elected in 2021.”

Boissonnault also told the ethics committee that he didn’t know the last name of the other Randy.

“That person is not me,” he said Tuesday.

He said he shared his phone records with the ethics committee and commissioner and argued these records prove he is not the person mentioned in the story.

A spokesperson for his office, Alice Hansen, said that on the date of the texts — September 8, 2022 — Boissonnault was at a cabinet retreat in Vancouver and had no access to electronic devices while in meetings.

Boissonnault co-founded Global Health Imports in 2020. His disclosure, listed on the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner webpage, shows he is the sole owner of an Alberta numbered company which “holds a significant interest in Global Health Imports Corporation.”

On Tuesday, he said it’s a 50 per cent stake in Global Health Imports now held in a holding company.

By law, any assets held by cabinet ministers which could rise or fall in value due to federal government decisions must be placed in blind trusts. The Conflict of Interest Act bars ministers from having “any power of management or control” over those assets.

Conservative ethics critic Michael Barrett said it “stretches reason and belief” to suggest there’s a person named Randy working at Global Health Imports whose last name is unknown to Boissonnault.

A politician sits at a desk with a microphone before the start of a meeting.
Conservative MP Michael Barrett said it’s ‘preposterous’ to suggest there’s another person named Randy at the company whose last name is unknown to the minister. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

“It’s preposterous,” Barrett told CBC News. “So we’ve made this request. It provides an opportunity for there to be a demonstration by Randy Boissonnault’s business partner that he was being forthright.”

The motion calls for the “other Randy” to appear at the ethics committee by June 18. Despite not having the “other Randy’s” last name, Conservatives believe the committee’s clerk has enough information to extend an invitation.

A spokesperson for the government House leader’s office said it’s not clear if it’s possible to ask someone to testify at a committee without knowing their full name.

Conservative members have been needling Boissonnault about “the other Randy” in question period.

“It’s a little sus, right? I mean, come on,” said Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner in question period on Friday. “If there is another Randy, what’s his last name?”

Members of the committee could vote on the motion as soon as Tuesday.