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The Department of National Defence didn’t want Parliament to know how much it was going to spend building itself a new headquarters.

On the Nortel file, the documents show DND officials were worried last year about how the renovation costs would be perceived. “Media, parliamentarians and Canadians will be focused on the cost to taxpayers for the acquisition of the Campus and the subsequent retro-fit costs,” noted a DND strategy document.

Such concerns were solved when Deputy Minister Robert Fonberg stepped in. Fonberg’s assistant wrote that the deputy minister was concerned about telling the public about the cost. According to an email, Fonberg asked, “Why are we using the $623m(illion) fit up cost? It is without context and will be a lightning rod!” The cost was removed from public documents about the Nortel purchase.