Trudeau government purchases Ottawa building from PM's close friend

The property registered to 148-152 Sparks St., is partially owned by Tim Pitfield, a personal friend of the prime minister.

Trudeau government purchases Ottawa building from PM's close friend
D Bout/Google Maps
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The Trudeau government has greenlit a decision by the National Capital Commission (NCC) to purchase a piece of real estate in downtown Ottawa that is owned partially by a friend of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In May, the Privy Council Office published an order-in-council approving the NCC's plan to purchase the building which sits just blocks away from Parliament Hill.

The property registered to 148-152 Sparks St., is partially owned by Tim Pitfield, a personal friend of the prime minister.

The Prime Minister's Office deferred questions about the purchase to a spokesperson from Public Services and Procurement Canada. They claimed that Trudeau was not involved in the cabinet approval of the deal.

“This Order-in-Council was submitted to the Governor in Council via the Treasury Board process and was approved,” said PSPC spokesman Guillaume Bertrand in an emailed statement to CityNews. “An acquisition of this type requires Treasury Board approval only – it does not involve the approval of the Prime Minister or at a meeting of the full Cabinet.”

Pitfield also said that he had not discussed the sale with Trudeau or anyone in cabinet.

According to incorporation records, Pitfield is listed on the mortgage documents for the property alongside Ottawa lawyer Gordon Cudney, the sole director of the company.

The company bought the Sparks St. property in 2014 from Ages Holdings Ltd. and Murray Macy Enterprises Ltd. for $4.8 million.

The property features a three-storey office building, retail space, and a ground-floor restaurant. It also houses the offices of Canada2020, a think-tank co-founded by Pitfield with connections to the federal Liberals.

The NCC stated that the deal is not yet finalized and did not disclose the amount it will pay for the property.

“This property is in a prominent location along the Sparks Street pedestrian mall and in close proximity to the parliamentary precinct, enabling the NCC to advance its priorities in planning, developing, and improving the [National Capital Region] in alignment with its mandate,” NCC spokesperson Dominique Huras said in an email.

Pitfield is the son of the former Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Pitfield, who served under Pierre Trudeau. He is married to Montreal Liberal MP Anna Gainey. Gainey also previously served as the president of the Liberal Party of Canada.

The two travelled with Trudeau and his family on their infamous 2016 Bahamas vacation, which was later found it be in violation of federal ethics laws. Trudeau had accepted the trip from another family friend, the Aga Khan.

The relationship between Trudeau and Pitfield was further investigated after a 2021 complaint by Conservative MP Michael Barrett to the federal ethics commissioner over Pitfield's data analytics company, Data Sciences.

Barrett said that a number of Liberal MPs had used their parliamentary office budgets to pay Data Sciences for software. Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion would dismiss the complaint, saying that there was no reason to believe that Trudeau acted in Pitfield's private interests.

Pitfield was chief digital strategist for Trudeau's 2013 leadership bid and also worked on the Liberals' election campaigns.

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