In SNC-Lavalin Scandal is the Trudeau Liberal Government In Violation of the Conflict of Interest Act?

February 21, 2019

Why is Justin Trudeau, his staff and government willing to put so much time and energy to protect and possibly give special treatment to SNC-Lavalin, a company that has been convicted or is under investigation for bribery and corruption in its dealings in Canada and Internationally?

Lost in the he said, she said of whether Justin Trudeau and his staff pressured Jody Wilson-Raybould to settle the criminal case against SNC-Lavalin is the fundamental question of whether the Trudeau Liberal government is in violation of the Conflict of Interest Act, Section 7:

No public office holder shall, in the exercise of an official power, duty or function, give preferential treatment to any person or organization based on the identity of the person or organization that represents the first-mentioned person or organization.

In an effort not to be banned from bidding on Canadian federal government engineering contracts for 10 years, SNC-Lavalin sought out and held meetings with the Trudeau Liberal government and had ~250 lobbying "communications" with Liberal MPs and officials prior to the 2018 budget debate.

After SNC-Lavalin’s intense lobbying effort, buried deep in the 2018 Finance Omnibus budget bill last fall the Trudeau Liberals amended the criminal code to add a provision allowing corporations charged with certain offences to avoid prosecution by signing so-called “remediation agreements.” In place of convictions, fines and jail times, the company and its executives are obliged, to admit they did it, put back the money, and commit to not do it again. This remediation provision which would enable a deferred prosecution agreement “was inserted after a strenuous campaign of public advertising and private lobbying (14 meetings with officials in the PM Trudeau’s office alone) by — who? — why yes, SNC-Lavalin”. (James Coyne, National Post)

SNC Lavalin is under investigation or has been prosecuted or convicted in the past for bribery and corruption in Canada and internationally as set out, in part, below. Did the Trudeau Liberal government give SNC-Lavalin preferential treatment in violation of the Conflict of Interest Act? Canadians need to get complete transparency on the Trudeau Liberal governments relationships and dealings with SNC-Lavalin. Canadians are proud of Canada’s independent justice system and expect every person and every company to be treated equally before the law. Political interference has no place in Canada’s judicial system.

Canada's Taxpayers Are Giving Billions To A National Embarrassment

"So you would think a company that has brought so much bad publicity to Canada's name around the world, whose alleged corruption comes within a whisker of touching Canadian politicians, would be a toxic hot potato no government in Canada would want to touch."

"Well, you'd be wrong. In the couple years since the allegations against SNC-Lavalin started coming to light, the company has won billions of dollars in taxpayers' money from various levels of government around the country." 

-- Daniel Tencer, Senior Business Editor, HuffPost Canada 

Selected Background on Allegations of Bribery and Corruption at SNC-Lavalin:

In the case of the bribery and fraud changes related to the Magill University Hospital Centre (MUHC)

Magill University Hospital Centre (MUHC) bribery scandal: A timeline of 'the biggest fraud in Canadian history'

Former SNC-Lavalin CEO pleads guilty in superhospital fraud case

MUHC bribery scandal: Ex-SNC-Lavalin CEO heads to trial in February

Judge to decide Dec. 17 if ex-MUHC exec must pay millions in damages

MUHC superhospital: Former exec Yanaï Elbaz pleads guilty to taking $10M in bribes

MUHC superhospital scandal: Riadh Ben Aïssa pleads guilty to one charge

Current investigation by the RCMP into a bridge renovation project where a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin gave kickbacks to former Liberal appointed head of Canada's Federal Bridge Corporation and former chief of staff to Liberal party leader Jean Chretien, Michel Fournier. Fournier has already pleaded guilty to the charges.

Fournier is former Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party and former Liberal Quebec Justice Minister

SNC-Lavalin still under investigation from RCMP in Quebec

Former head of Federal Bridge Corp. pleads guilty to kickbacks over SNC-Lavalin bridge contract

Former Liberal official charged over alleged payments from SNC-Lavalin

A closer look at SNC-Lavalin's past

A closer look at SNC-Lavalin's sometimes murky past

Corruption Scandal in Bangladesh – SNC Lavalin Banned from bidding on World Bank Projects:

In September 2012, RCMP raided SNC-Lavalin's offices near Toronto in connection with a corruption probe into the Padma bridge project in Bangladesh. The World Bank's anti-graft unit had provided information to the RCMP.

The next month, the World Bank suspended a $1.2 billion loan it had offered to Bangladesh for the project.

In April 2013, it banned SNC-Lavalin and its 100 subsidiaries from bidding on projects funded by the development agency for 10 years, citing company misconduct in Bangladesh, as well as in Cambodia. -- CBC News

Former SNC-Lavalin VP charged in Bangladesh bribery probe

SNC-Lavalin in Bangladesh: World Bank sees ‘conspiracy’

World Bank Debars SNC-Lavalin Inc. and its Affiliates for 10 years

SNC bribery probe widens to Algeria

SNC-Lavalin's current charges of fraud and corruption in Libya

SNC-Lavalin face charges of fraud and corruption in Libyan business dealings

SNC-Lavalin, subsidiaries charged with fraud, corruption

SNC’s fraud, corruption hearing set for 2018

Violation of Canada’s Election Financing Laws: SNC-Lavalin VP Guilty of Violating Canada’s Election Financing Laws

In late November 2018, former SNC-Lavalin vice-president Normand Morin quietly pleaded guilty to charges of violating Canada's election financing laws.

According to the compliance agreement reached with the company in 2016, Morin orchestrated a scheme between 2004 and 2011 that used employees to get around the restrictions on companies donating directly to federal political parties. Morin would get employees to donate to political parties, riding associations or Liberal leadership candidates. The company would then reimburse them for their donations through false refunds for personal expenses or fictitious bonuses.

In total, $117,803 flowed from SNC-Lavalin to federal party funds during that period. The Liberal Party of Canada got the lion's share — $83,534 to the party and $13,552 to various riding associations. Another $12,529 went to contestants in the 2006 Liberal Party leadership race won by Stephane Dion. The Conservative Party of Canada received $3,137 while Conservative riding associations got $5,050.  -- CBC News

Key figure in illegal election financing scheme quietly pleads guilty