SNC-Lavalin given $1.6 billion contract in Ottawa despite failing tests
The controversial Quebec-based corporation SNC-Lavalin was awarded a $1.6 billion contract for Ottawa’s LRT train line project despite there being a unanimous consensus amongst auditors that the corporation should not be chosen for the project, according to CBC News.
SNC-Lavalin’s proposal reportedly failed to include necessary features, such as a signalling, train control system, and had no plan for snow removal. As well as this, SNC-Lavalin believed that the trains were run through electricity, not diesel.
Anti-pipeline protestors took to the streets in both downtown Toronto and Ottawa this afternoon, bringing traffic to a halt. In Toronto, the major artery of Bloor Street was blocked. While in Ottawa, protestors stopped traffic in Byward Market.
Protests and blockades opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline have entered their 12th day, bringing traffic and the nation’s economy to a standstill.
The scene in Toronto is intense, with thousands marching.
“Obviously we’re a country of the rule of law and we need to make sure that those laws are followed,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said about the protests on Monday. “We are going to continue to focus on resolving this situation quickly and peacefully.”
Nationwide protests that claim to be in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en have exploded after RCMP arrested pipeline protestors on Wet’suwet’en territory. Protests have already effectively shut down VIA Rail and CN Rail and at least two US border crossings.
The Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council supports the pipeline project.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has missed the deadline for filing financial disclosure statement with the ethics commissioner “due to an oversight”. It was confirmed by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Disclosure statements are to be filed within 60 days of any MPs election and is to be published in the Canada Gazette. Though Trudeau’s deadline was January 13, no report has been submitted.
Trudeau is one of only 13 MPs to not submit his report. Of those 13, nine are Liberal Party members, including Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. Three are Conservative Party Members, and one one is Bloc Quebecois.
There is no penalty for missing the deadline for filing the statement. The purpose of the statement is to outline which MPs’ families have private interests that could, later on, be seen as conflicts of interests.
Trudeau has previously been found to be in violation of the Conflict of Interest Act—once by accepting a family vacation to the billionaire religious leader Aga Khan’s island, whom Trudeau described as a family friend; and by inappropriately pressuring former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould during the SNC-Lavalin affair.
The full report of who did and did not submit their report can be read here.
The Ottawa Police Service is starting a hate crime investigation after a Holocaust memorial in Ottawa was defaced following the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
The Holocaust memorial had eggs thrown at it, and remnants of the attack remain visible in photographs. This incident was reported to the police at around four in the afternoon.
Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly stated on Twitter, “Incidents such as this are deeply disturbing to many communities especially when they target specific groups. It is completely unacceptable and it will not be tolerated.”
This incident was particularly deplorable as the anti-Semitic hoodlums threw these eggs only days after the 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland.
Over one million Jews were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau over the course of the second World War. This Monday, over 200 survivors conglomerated at the camp to mark the anniversary.
Over the past few years, reports have shown anti-Semitism is on the rise in Canada, with 2016 and 2017 being record-breaking years for hate incidents directed towards Jews.
The Crown is is requesting that Sami Bebawi, a former executive at SNC-Lavalin, pay back the money he made through illegal actions.
According to the Montreal Gazette, the total sum Bebawi owes is $28 million which prosecutors want the court to collect by making Bebawi give up $4.2 million in assets and pay the rest of the $24 million fine.
Bebawi was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison after being found guilty of five charges. The 73-year-old was found guilty last month in crimes related to dealings with Libya’s Gadhafi regime.
Over the course of the trial, it was said that during the corruption Bebawi had taken $28 million and moved it to many bank accounts and a family trust.
On Tuesday, prosecutors made it clear at the Montreal courthouse that $4.2 million in assets has been located and they will attempt to have them forfeited. The request has not been contested by the defence.
Included in the assets are bank accounts and property that Bebawi and his family own. There is property in Montreal, St-Lambert and a condo in Florida which the American government sold for US$1.17 million.
The request will most likely be ruled on in March by Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer.
Anne-Marie Manoukian, the Crown prosecutor, noted that if the fine is ordered and Bebawi fails to pay it by the deadline, he will possibly receive more prison time.
Bebawi was found guilty of corruption, fraud and laundering after being the executive vice-president at SNC-Lavalin from 2000 to 2006.
Jurors were told that Bebawi was backing a transfer of around $113 million that was distributed to shell companies. The money was then used to give to people who were able to secure deals in Libya.
The guilty verdict is being appealed by Bebawi and he has been freed from detention for the time being.
Part of the appeal argues that wiretap evidence was wrongly allowed by the presiding judge. From the wiretap came recorded conversations from Constantine Kyres—Bebawi’s lawyer at the time. The conversations revealed that Kyres made an offer of $10 million to a different former SNC-Lavalin executive in an attempt to make him change his testimony.
Conditions of Bebawi’s release forbid him from engaging in any communication with twelve other people—many being former SNC-lavalin executives.