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In rare move, House to admonish private citizen for contempt in ArriveCan testimony

OTTAWA — The House of Commons is preparing to admonish a private citizen today for the first time in more than 100 years. 

It’s just the latest example of ArriveCan fallout as MPs point fingers over the Liberal government’s failure to manage development of the COVID-era app. 

GC Strategies partner Kristian Firth has been ordered to appear before the bar of the House after refusing to answer certain questions at a committee hearing.

No private citizen has been ordered to appear before the bar since 1913, an extraordinary event that places people under the authority of the House. 

In 2021, the former head of the Public Health Agency of Canada was admonished for neglecting to release documents related to the firing of two scientists from a Winnipeg lab. 

A lawyer for Firth declined to comment.

In an appearance at a House committee last month, Firth said he has had the full weight of government come down on him over false claims against his company.

Those claims, he said, have led to threats against him and his family, including his children. 

GC Strategies did not develop or manage the ArriveCan app, but were tasked by the federal government to assemble a team to complete some parts of the project, which had an overall estimated cost of $60 million. 

Canada’s auditor general found that three separate government departments lacked accurate financial records for ArriveCan and failed to deliver the best value for taxpayer dollars.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2024. 

The Canadian Press

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