Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Just So We're Clear
Trudeau acolytes are fond of depicting the Lavalin fiasco as something a couple of former employees did in far off Libya a long time ago and those miscreants left SNC-L a long time ago, problem solved. No point beating up SNC-L for ancient history, a distant peccadillo.
You might ask Yanai Elbaz if SNC-L's corruption is ancient history. It isn't for him. In fact he's now just starting to serve a 3 year stretch in the Greybar Hotel after being convicted of pocketing a $10-million bribe to get SNC-L a leg up on the McGill University Health Centre job.
In December the court handed Elbaz a 39 month sentence for what has been described as the greatest construction fraud in Canadian history.
Believe whatever best suits your chosen narrative but SNC-L has a rich history of corrupt dealings and it's not something dredged out of the distant past in a place far, far away.
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You're absolutely right, Mound. SNC-L successfully corrupted the Trudeau government. When JW-R refused to play ball on the plan to let the company avoid a criminal conviction through a DPA, 11 people from the PMO, the Privy Council and the finance minister's office tried to change her mind. And everytime any of them asked her to consider the national economic interest, including thousands of jobs, they were asking her to break the law. CC s. 715.32(3) sets out the factors not to consider in these kinds of deals:
Despite paragraph (2)(i), if the organization is alleged to have committed an offence under section 3 or 4 of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, the prosecutor must not consider the national economic interest, the potential effect on relations with a state other than Canada or the identity of the organization or individual involved.
I don't know why the RCMP hasn't taken an interest in this. Trudeau has been quite forthright in saying he was standing up for Canadian jobs in advocating for a DPA for SNC-L.
I believe Mound is a lawyer or retired lawyer, so I don't think he'll bite on that Cap. You did not mention the 8 factors the public prosecutor should consider, and the 9th factor which is anything else considered relevant, subject to s.715.32(3). The effects on the state Canada is not excluded, and the national economic interest would involve selling to other nations, not a 10 year ban on selling to this nation.
For something with a bit more nuance:
There is a case for changing the law, but not for claiming anyone broke the law.
We do wonderfully well at propping up foreign jobs here in Canada. Bombardier has a huge operation in Belfast making airplane bits whose 4,000 jobs were saved by their bailout - why those jobs weren't/aren't in Canada only God knows - about all they have here is final assembly. SNC-L, well they have 50,000 people worldwide, and now 10,000 in Blighty and the EU since Feb 4 this year
"The new HQ - based at Nova North in Westminster - will be the hub for the Company's UK & European operations, which, following the integration of SNC-Lavalin and Atkins, has over 10,000 employees in the region." 1200 at the HQ building itself. Why aren't these jobs in Canada? Because these giant "international" corporations don't give a ratfuck about their nominal home country, until they look for a handout or a deal on past malfeasances. GM treats the US the same way - rattle the tin cup at appropriate times, but tell the home country to bugger orf the rest of the time. GM is essentially Chinese in the parts department.
The Wikipedia entry, of all things, on SNC-L makes fascinating reading. Here's one example: "Following a 2017 public consultation process, the Government of Canada moved forward with the establishment of a "made-in-Canada version of a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) regime", called the "Remediation Agreement Regime", which was introduced in the March budget [(in secret near enough by the redoubtably wonderful Morneau - BM)] and came into effect in June 2018. By 2019, SNC-Lavalin, still facing criminal charges in regards to several contracts, began investigating the possibility of a DPA under the newly introduced Remediation Agreement Regime, as early as April 2018. On February 10, 2019, the Toronto Star reported that opposition Leader Andrew Scheer met with SNC-Lavalin CEO Neil Bruce in May 29, 2018 to discuss the remediation agreement."
Do you remember the public consultation on RAR? Me neither. So dear Andy Scheer met with SNC-L as well, before the RAR was proclaimed in fact. That one had passed me by in all the brouhaha. Just preparing the Cons for a spot of SNC-L influence, one supposes.
The whole thing stinks, but as noted here before, governments are run by and for companies with moolah, not by faceless little plods of citizens meekly voting for which easily influenceable crook they prefer, thus to put a civic shine on the greed and corruption concealed beneath the covers of power. I'd fire Wernick tomorrow if I were in charge - duplicitous in my view, and Gerry himself, what a con artist - he disputed JW-R's recollections without a shred of backup and a lazy memory, then the Liberals in committee decided, no more JW-R testimony, and no release of Butt's texts and emails. A snivelling goddam public servant gets to say his piece twice, and the ex-minister only once with bounds? It's high level bullshit all right. The fix is in.
Thank you for that link, Anon. It was an interesting read and it supports my point that Trudeau was way out of line in asking JW-R to consider the national economic interest:
In other words, while the prosecutor must consider whether a remediation agreement is in the public interest, in doing so he or she may not consider whether prosecuting the company would harm the economy or international relations.
The article does not support your narrow interpretation of nation interest to mean nothing more than "selling to other nations."
And since when has it not been a crime to use your position of power to get someone else to ignore the law?
Anon touched on "prosecutorial independence." My faith in that independence was shattered by the Duffy trial. Not only did the Crown agree to prosecute the novel "immaculate bribe" offence but they piled on with a total of 33 charges. Who does that? 33 charges. That only makes sense when you learn that the Harper PMO had threatened Duffy that, if he didn't play ball, they would "bury him" in litigation.
The trial judge, Vaillancourt, saw through it. He knew it was a political persecution. He knew that it was rigged and he concluded, rightly, that the evidence showed that crimes had clearly been committed only the Crown had not brought the actual criminals to stand trial.
I brought it to the Duffy defence team that the facts didn't support a bribery charge. Duffy wasn't party to a bribe. He was extorted for the benefit of Harper and his PMO, notably Nigel Wright. As soon as I read the Duffy email that was leaked to Bob Fife, starting the scandal, I realized this had nothing to do with bribery. It was a set up. I have never understood how that wasn't apparent to the Crown, why they proceeded with what was plainly a political prosecution and why they didn't realize a sound judge, like Vaillancourt, would see through it.
So I'm a cynic when it comes to the laughable notion of prosecutorial independence. Duffy proved that's a fanciful myth.
Why isn't Harper in jail? There seems to be dual legal systems in Canada: One for the wealthy, corporations and politicians. The other for the ordinary tax paying people whom provide the money for which governments call theirs. This travesty has been going on since Roman time. Play along or lose your head. Then along came Jesus showing his anger (the money changers) and any number of writers including Joyce Nelson warning Canadians about "Bypassing Dystopia". Why isn't it changing? Is it because we are too stupid or it is easier to let this type of rip-off SNC go? Anyong
Good question, Anyong. I wondered the same thing.
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