The Prime Minister’s Office and his principal advisor may have some serious explaining to do.
According to a new report by the Globe and Mail, the PMO “attempted to press Jody Wilson-Raybould when she was justice minister to intervene in the corruption and fraud prosecution of Montreal engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.”
Ms. Wilson-Raybould rejected the repeated pressure, given her trust in “the judgment of the public prosecutor and did not believe it was proper for the attorney-general to intervene, especially if there could be any suggestion of political interference,” sources told Globe and Mail.
Interestingly, “representatives of SNC-Lavalin met with federal government officials and parliamentarians more than 50 times on the topic of ‘justice’ and ‘law enforcement.’”
“Those they met included Gerald Butts, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, and Mathieu Bouchard, Mr. Trudeau’s senior adviser on Quebec— whom they met 12 times.”
According to Warren Kinsella, the former special assistant to the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien and founder of Daisy Consulting group, “this revelation, if true, is a clear violation of section 139(2) of the Criminal Code.“
Section two states, “Everyone who
While The Globe and Mail article is damning, the relationship between SNC-Lavalin, the Liberal party, and now by extension, the Trudeau government is perhaps what makes this most noteworthy.
In 2017, a former SNC-Lavalin executive was charged with soliciting more than $100,000 in illegal campaign donations for the Liberal party from employees of the engineering firm and reimbursing those employees from company coffers.
The executive solicited roughly $8,000 for Conservative causes. A clear contrast.
It is important to point out that the illegal donations are from 2004-2011, a time before the Trudeau government.
None the less, it is hard to imagine SNC-Lavelin not having some access to party insiders, many of which stay the same year over year.
A history of SNC-Lavalin corruption
The seriousness of these donations pushed NDP MP Charlie Angus to argue that the Canadian government should suspend engineering giant SNC-Lavalin from competing for future federal government contracts after two former top executives pleaded guilty to charges.
“How is it that a company with such a horrific record of corporate malfeasance is able to obtain so many government contracts and continue to bid on government contracts?” said Angus.
Angus also said in a CBC article, SNC-Lavalin has faced charges of corruption and bribery of politicians and other public officials in multiple countries and was debarred from World Bank-financed contracts.
According to a HuffPost article, SNC’s history of bribery even includes paying $1.5 million to settle a regional corruption case with the African development bank in 2015.
In fact, you can follow SNC-Lavalin’s controversial business history on HuffPost where they have created an entire editorial category with over 10 articles of both alleged and convicted corruption.
“Given the international investigations and allegations surrounding the company, it is surprising to me that the government entertained bids on federal contracts from SNC-Lavalin,” says Angus in his letter. “In fact, the company is currently working on 99 federal tenders.”
With so much shrouded in mystery and so many potential hot spots, it may be time for the Liberal government to spell out how this case came to occur, and in the mean-time, postpone all new contracts with SNC-Lavalin, alongside a review of every contract given in the last 10 years.
Sadly, I do not expect even a proper explanation.
Stephen LeDrew put it best in his recent article for the National Post: Trudeau promised Canadians ‘transparency’ — but he’s given them a brick wall.
More than anything, I expect the Prime Minister to somehow blame the Harper government or ignore the case all together.
What do you think? Will the Trudeau government changed their tune to how they deal with SNC-Lavalin? Will things stay the same?
Join the conversation by commenting below!