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EXCLUSIVE: Former top Liberal aide is lobbyist for MasterCard

MasterCard’s most senior lobbyist hung up on The Post Millennial when reached out to for comment on the $49 million grant and her connections to the Liberals.
Nico Johnson Montreal, QC

MasterCard’s most senior lobbyist, who led the effort to receive $49 million of taxpayer money from the Trudeau government, was a former top Liberal aide during Chretien’s government.

MasterCard lobbyist Jennifer M. Sloan worked as the Liberal-appointed chief of staff and chief of media relations for two federal ministers under Jean Chretien’s administration.

Postmedia’s “Follow the Money Database“, which records political donations in Canada, shows a donation under the name of Jennifer M. Sloan, who contributed $1,500 to Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in 2016. Similarly, the Elections Canada Database shows this same contribution. Another eighteen donations, totalling $11,675, were also donated from the same postal code under the name “Jennifer Sloan”, without the middle initial.

The Post Millennial reached out by phone to Sloan, who confirmed she worked for MasterCard. She immediately hung up once informed an interview for a news story was being conducted. Follow-up messages asking about her lobbying, the $49 million federal grant to MasterCard and Liberal donations to the Trudeau Liberals under the same name went unanswered.

MasterCard was awarded $49 million by the federal government in order to build a cybersecurity centre in Vancouver. This was given in spite of the American credit card making a net profit of US$4 billion in 2017. Critics have also noted that MasterCard compensated its CEO $20 million in 2019

The Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry Navdeep Bains made the announcement in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum last week—an event known for only having the ultra wealthy and elite because of the exorbitant entrance fee.

This gift was a source of contention in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

“Why did the prime minister make taxpayers so sad by giving $50 million to a company that made $16 billion last year off the backs of hard-working Canadians who can’t afford to pay their full balances?” asked Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dodged answering the question.

In the preceding weeks to the announcement, the MasterCard lobbying, which is led by Sloan, met with Minister Bains and Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

These meetings were held on Dec. 5, 2019, where they discussed “Financial Institutions” and “Industry, Privacy and Access to Information, Security.” The lobbying archive did not go into further detail regarding these meetings, however, both of these subjects relate to the multi-million dollar cybersecurity centre.

Speaking to The Post Millennial, the spokesperson for Minister Bains said, “Canadians are using connected devices more and more, including for sensitive financial services like banking. They want to know that their data and privacy are protected.

“Our government is investing in a new cybersecurity centre to develop the technology solutions Canadians and people all over the world need to protect their personal and financial information when they use their devices. The centre in Vancouver represents good quality jobs and will help make Canada a leader in the cybersecurity space.”

The spokesperson declined to comment on questions regarding Sloan’s Liberal past, Sloan’s donation, and did not clarify what was mentioned in the minister’s meeting with MasterCard.

“We’re not going to discuss any specific conversations, but will note that we regularly meet with government officials and others to share perspectives on our industry and issues related to it,” said MasterCard’s vice president of communications Sandra Benjamin.

“We believe it’s imperative that the public and private sectors work together to secure the entire digital ecosystem. The launch of our Vancouver centre and our partnership with the Government of Canada includes our own investment of $510 million in cybersecurity and in Canadian technology talent.”

The Post Millennial also reached out to Minister Morneau’s office for comment but did not hear back before deadline.

Nico Johnson
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