Will NDP pressing Trudeau on SNC-Lavalin hurt them in Quebec?

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Mighty Middle
Will NDP pressing Trudeau on SNC-Lavalin hurt them in Quebec?

In Quebec, where SNC-Lavalin has operated for more than 100 years, SNC-Lavalin has a chorus of defenders that include the premier, the Opposition and pundits.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/snc-lavalin-quebec-prosecution-1...

So this story is playing quite differently in Quebec.

While NDP has hits new polling low in Quebec.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-ndp-quebec-polls-1.5006617

So if the NDP continues to hammer Justin Trudeau on SNC, will that hurt them in Quebec in the polls?

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
cco

I can't speak for my fellow Quebecers, but personally, I have zero interest in letting that criminal enterprise buy its way out of prosecution with campaign donations to keep 3,400 jobs alive, jobs that only exist because successive governments have funneled tax money to racketeers.

SNC-Lavalin are the ultimate corporate welfare bums. Half of the discussion about propping up the company is symbolism ("We already lost Rona!"), and that particular symbol is up there with the Rizzutos on the list of symbols I'm sick of Quebec being associated with. If it's that vital to the economy, nationalize it and then prosecute the board.

That isn't to say that those who believe in privatizing profit and socializing risk (like Legault) won't chest-thump. There have already been some downright embarrassing editorials. But let's not pretend this is about Trudeau's concern for jobs. It's about those illegal campaign donations. Going into an election, Trudeau needs to send a signal to donors that once you buy him, he stays bought.

WWWTT

Bang on cco! Western democracy at its finest moments!

People struggling/just fucking barely getting by have no extra money for political contributions to make to help bribe politicians to do the right thing for the majority!

Wiuld be interesting to know how much upper management makes per year with bonuses at SNC-Lavalin. 

voice of the damned

cco wrote:
I can't speak for my fellow Quebecers, but personally, I have zero interest in letting that criminal enterprise buy its way out of prosecution with campaign donations to keep 3,400 jobs alive, jobs that only exist because successive governments have funneled tax money to racketeers. SNC-Lavalin are the ultimate corporate welfare bums. Half of the discussion about propping up the company is symbolism ("We already lost Rona!"), and that particular symbol is up there with the Rizzutos on the list of symbols I'm sick of Quebec being associated with. If it's that vital to the economy, nationalize it and then prosecute the board.

Yeah, listening to some of the progressive, or at least centre-left, apologetics for SNC-Lavalin, I can't help but hearing an echo of "What's good for General Motors is good for the country!"

Which, I'll admit, is not an entirely worthless argument: I can see the logic behind things like the 2008 bailouts, if jobs are at stake. But if it were alleged that General Motors Canada had somehow broken the law, AND that the Prime Minister might have interfered in the decision about whether or not to prosecute, I'd say that that's where the "But what about the jobs!" line of argument reaches its expiry point.   

pietro_bcc

The pundits and politicians here defend SNC Lavalin, but I'd be curious to see a poll of actual citizens to see what the society as a whole thinks because all too often (it seems to be especially the case in Quebec, but then again I live in Quebec and not any other province so its hard to say) the whims of politicians and pundits is assumed to be the opinion of the province's citizens.

For example, I don't know a single person who was for the Bombardier bailouts (anglophone or francophone), yet every single politicians was for it and attacking Trudeau for not giving the money fast enough. We don't love the Bombardier family and don't see them as the biggest success story in Quebec, we see them as some of the biggest corporate welfare bums in the history of Quebec.

I think taking a hard line against SNC Lavalin by federal parties will piss off Quebec provincial politicians and pundits, but endear the parties to the people.

Unionist

cco wrote:

I can't speak for my fellow Quebecers, but personally, I have zero interest in letting that criminal enterprise buy its way out of prosecution with campaign donations to keep 3,400 jobs alive, jobs that only exist because successive governments have funneled tax money to racketeers.

[my emphasis]

Some points:

1. Bribing foreign officials in order to get contracts seems to me like the most minor crime imaginable within the framework of capitalism. I can't believe there's any company that wouldn't or doesn't do so, if the stakes were signficant. In other words, I don't get the outrage over the Libya thing - except, of course, by those who genuinely believe the free market is sacred.

2. It is unlawful for enterprises to contribute money to federal parties or candidates. If you, or anyone, credibly suspects, or has evidence, that SNC-Lavalin is handing over huge sums of money to individuals, who then pretend to make "individual" donations, in order to evade the law - well, that's a crime I can get outraged about. I'd shut SNC-Lavalin down in a heartbeat if they were found guilty of that. I find it amazing that bribing foreign officials is a Criminal Code offence, whereas violating the Elections Act, and influencing the outcome of elections in Canada, is not. What do you think?

3. I've mentioned this elsewhere. In 2011, every single party in the House and every single MP, without exception, voted in favour of Canadian participation in military action and eventually "regime change" in Libya. Where was - and where is - the outrage over that? Oh wait - if all parties were in favour, there was no political capital to be made (as there is now, by Andrew Scheer), so who cares, right? But bribing the Libyan officials that we installed through aggression and violence to run Libya - wow, that's a crime.

So you see, I feel rather strongly about this. I don't care if SNC-Lavalin shuts its doors. If it risks happening, then the appropriate government should consider seizing its assets and find a way to run it as a public corporation.

And if you really want to shut down a criminal enterprise? How about starting with the House of Commons, for their crime of 2011 (and countless others - Venezuela today). Even the Senate has more nuance.

 

 

Pondering

I think it would be great if Lavelin and Bombardier were nationalized. I don't see it happening in the foreseeable future. Quebecers aren't that into the news. They will have heard of the Lavelin problem of course but as long as it doesn't close there will be no backlash from Quebec. 

cco

Unionist wrote:

2. It is unlawful for enterprises to contribute money to federal parties or candidates. If you, or anyone, credibly suspects, or has evidence, that SNC-Lavalin is handing over huge sums of money to individuals, who then pretend to make "individual" donations, in order to evade the law - well, that's a crime I can get outraged about. I'd shut SNC-Lavalin down in a heartbeat if they were found guilty of that. I find it amazing that bribing foreign officials is a Criminal Code offence, whereas violating the Elections Act, and influencing the outcome of elections in Canada, is not. What do you think?

They've been charged with and admitted to (or rather, legally, "accepted responsibility for" without confessing guilt, which is apparently a thing in this DPA-enabled world) exactly that. I'm not just making a wild allegation here. This is public record.

Unionist wrote:

3. I've mentioned this elsewhere. In 2011, every single party in the House and every single MP, without exception, voted in favour of Canadian participation in military action and eventually "regime change" in Libya. Where was - and where is - the outrage over that? Oh wait - if all parties were in favour, there was no political capital to be made (as there is now, by Andrew Scheer), so who cares, right? But bribing the Libyan officials that we installed through aggression and violence to run Libya - wow, that's a crime.

I, for one, was quite outraged over the NDP supporting the Libya war, and I've made that clear to multiple MPs, in person, over the past 8 years. None of them seem to me to consider it their proudest moment, though that and $400 will buy you a slave in Tripoli. My anger at SNC-Lavalin isn't specifically over the racketeering in Libya. It's more about the racketeering closer to home, which they will continue to get away with, over and over and over again, thanks to greasing the right palms and manufactured outrage over those 3,400 jobs.

Unionist

So cco - I totally forgot about those "compliance agreements" re illegal political contributions. Those constitute a threat to what remains of our tattered democracy. They should have been shut down for that (unless the crown figured it couldn't get a conviction?). I even forgot that it's a criminal offence, or maybe I never knew that.

So thanks for the reminders. It just confirms for me that the "scandal" over bribing foreign officials is the wrong one, and it's easy fodder for Scheer. I imagine he doesn't dare raise the issue of illegal political contributions, for obvious reasons. Let's make sure we (or somebody) hammers on the real problems facing our society.

Sean in Ottawa

I know people want to be hopeful. The reality is that the NDP is in such poor shape that it likely will run a campaign to save the furniture after already writing off the roof (Quebec). I don't think the NDP has the means, ideas, leadership, spokespeople to get the attention of anyone right now.

To make matters worse this is not a simple case to make. Squandering public money to a company that hires people is never a simple issue. It is a massive indirect cost to voters but not a direct cost. So a policy like say eliminating a popular program or raising taxes significantly is a direct cost. The loss of money to the treasury may cause these things but it is still indirect. Rarely are campaigns decided on indirect damage. In order to have this become a factor conclusive evidence at the level of adscam is required. I somehow doubt that such evidence exists as likely those conversations were never recorded. Smoke and no fire does not change elections.

Sad to say.

The party is really one of squandering opportunities now.

I would love to be proven wrong.

bekayne

Unionist wrote:

 

3. I've mentioned this elsewhere. In 2011, every single party in the House and every single MP, without exception, voted in favour of Canadian participation in military action and eventually "regime change" in Libya. Where was - and where is - the outrage over that? Oh wait - if all parties were in favour, there was no political capital to be made (as there is now, by Andrew Scheer), so who cares, right? But bribing the Libyan officials that we installed through aggression and violence to run Libya - wow, that's a crime.

Though it should be noted that Elizabeth May's first vote in Parliament about Libya was to be the only MP to vote against extending the mission.

Badriya

Unionist, I will just address your first point.

Bribing foreign officials in order to get contracts seems to me like the most minor crime imaginable within the framework of capitalism.

While it may be true that “bribing foreign officials” may be “the most minor crime”, it is not the only crime SNC-Lavalin has been accused of “defrauding Libyan organizations of another $130 million”

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/snc-lavalin-trudeau-bribery-fraud-wilson-raybould-1.5020498

It may also be charged bribery related to a contract to refurbish the Jacques Cartier Bridge in the early 2000s. 

https://globalnews.ca/news/4954892/snc-lavalin-criminal-charges-montreal-bridge/

And here is a story which shows why SNC-Lavalin insists that its upper management has changed.

In 2009, Duhaime was informed that an employee from his engineering company was in contact with Yanaï Elbaz, an official from the McGill University Hospital Centre — right around the time SNC-Lavalin was trying to secure the contract to build the MUHC superhospital in Montreal.

That contract was worth $1.3 billion. Duhaime, now 64, never looked into that information, thereby committing a crime.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/snc-lavalin-ceo-guilty-fraud-pierre-duhaime-1.5001839

Unionist, I will just address your first point.

Bribing foreign officials in order to get contracts seems to me like the most minor crime imaginable within the framework of capitalism.

While it may be true that “bribing foreign officials” may be “the most minor crime”, it is not the only crime SNC-Lavalin has been accused of “defrauding Libyan organizations of another $130 million”

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/snc-lavalin-trudeau-bribery-fraud-wilson-raybould-1.5020498

It may also be charged bribery related to a contract to refurbish the Jacques Cartier Bridge in the early 2000s. 

https://globalnews.ca/news/4954892/snc-lavalin-criminal-charges-montreal-bridge/

And here is a story which shows why SNC-Lavalin insists that its upper management has changed.

In 2009, Duhaime was informed that an employee from his engineering company was in contact with Yanaï Elbaz, an official from the McGill University Hospital Centre — right around the time SNC-Lavalin was trying to secure the contract to build the MUHC superhospital in Montreal.

That contract was worth $1.3 billion. Duhaime, now 64, never looked into that information, thereby committing a crime.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/snc-lavalin-ceo-guilty-fraud-pierre-duhaime-1.5001839

 

 

 

Mighty Middle

New Mainstreet Poll (Feb 17 in wake of SNC)

Liberals - 34.6%

Conservatives - 18.2%

Bloc - 14.9%

NDP - 7.2%

Green - 5.1%

PPC - 3.8%

Other findings

49% say Gov't SHOULD NOT intervene in

55% DON'T believe Trudeau story 

50% are NOT satisfied with Trudeau explanation

https://www.mainstreetresearch.ca/les-quebecois-partages-sur-les-gestes-...

Pondering

At least one guilty executive that actually committed the crimes is getting off scott free because his trial took too long. Why is that? Who kept putting in the delays?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNC-Lavalin#Major_investors

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is SNC-Lavalin's "long-term partner".[19] According to an article by Pierre Fortin in L'actualitéQuebec Deposit and Investment Fund (the Caisse), which manages the Quebec Pension Planand is the second largest pension fund in Canada, after the Canada Pension Plan (CPP),[41] has increased its financing of Quebec enterprises from 2003 through 2013.[42] [43]

So it is the Quebec Pension Plan that will take the biggest hit so I ask again: Who is getting punished? You can't actually punish a company. The company is the scapegoat. 

Paladin1

Badriya wrote:

While it may be true that “bribing foreign officials” may be “the most minor crime”, it is not the only crime SNC-Lavalin has been accused of “defrauding Libyan organizations of another $130 million”

We shouldn't accept breaking the law because it's convenient, it's minor or especially because it's the way it's always been done.

By giving in to the standard bribery practices we are doing nothing more than enabling corruption and continuing the cycle of illegal and immoral practices. This government had made a big showing of identity politics and injecting clauses into contracts about work force gender metrics and such. It's all for show if we turn around and ignore bribery.

I doubt our government would sign a contract somewhere that has female workers receiving half the pay as male workers "because that's the way they've always done it". It's not an excuse.

The government was sneaky and slid in changes to our own laws that would help out snc. Whole thing smells and I hope the Canadian people finally hold Trudeau accountable for his blatent mockery of our ethics and his right to rule attitude.

quizzical

Pondering wrote:

At least one guilty executive that actually committed the crimes is getting off scott free because his trial took too long. Why is that? Who kept putting in the delays?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNC-Lavalin#Major_investors

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is SNC-Lavalin's "long-term partner".[19] According to an article by Pierre Fortin in L'actualitéQuebec Deposit and Investment Fund (the Caisse), which manages the Quebec Pension Planand is the second largest pension fund in Canada, after the Canada Pension Plan (CPP),[41] has increased its financing of Quebec enterprises from 2003 through 2013.[42] [43]

So it is the Quebec Pension Plan that will take the biggest hit so I ask again: Who is getting punished? You can't actually punish a company. The company is the scapegoat. 

i said this way before. 

and i don't care if the pension funds take a hit. SNC Lavalin needs to be gone or taken over completely by government. nothing in between.

 

JKR

Paladin1 wrote:

Badriya wrote:

While it may be true that “bribing foreign officials” may be “the most minor crime”, it is not the only crime SNC-Lavalin has been accused of “defrauding Libyan organizations of another $130 million”

We shouldn't accept breaking the law because it's convenient, it's minor or especially because it's the way it's always been done.

By giving in to the standard bribery practices we are doing nothing more than enabling corruption and continuing the cycle of illegal and immoral practices. This government had made a big showing of identity politics and injecting clauses into contracts about work force gender metrics and such. It's all for show if we turn around and ignore bribery.

I doubt our government would sign a contract somewhere that has female workers receiving half the pay as male workers "because that's the way they've always done it". It's not an excuse.

The government was sneaky and slid in changes to our own laws that would help out snc. Whole thing smells and I hope the Canadian people finally hold Trudeau accountable for his blatent mockery of our ethics and his right to rule attitude.

Do you think Conservatives are suddenly opposed to these kind of controversial practices exercised commonly by our Canadian multinational corporations? It seems to me that Conservatives are the ones who most support our multinational corporations ability to compete successfully whether by hook or by crook.

brookmere

Mighty Middle wrote:

New Mainstreet Poll (Feb 17 in wake of SNC)

Liberals - 34.6%

Conservatives - 18.2%

Bloc - 14.9%

NDP - 7.2%

Green - 5.1%

PPC - 3.8%

The competition between the BQ and Conservatives for the nationalist vote in Quebec is giving the Liberals a commanding lead, even with just over 1/3 of voters.

Paladin1

JKR wrote:
Do you think Conservatives are suddenly opposed to these kind of controversial practices exercised commonly by our Canadian multinational corporations? It seems to me that Conservatives are the ones who most support our multinational corporations ability to compete successfully whether by hook or by crook.

To answer your question, no I don't think the conservatives are suddenly opposed to those kinds of practices.

But the conservatives aren't in power right now, the Liberals are. I prefer not to chase the rabbit down the 'ya well what about' hole. If the Conservatives were caught doing what the Liberals I would want them called out and punished for it.

Liberals changed our laws to accomodate SNC, slimy. They continue to exhibit a born to rule attitude while brushing off the notion of ethics.

 

 

JKR

Paladin1 wrote:

If the Conservatives were caught doing what the Liberals I would want them called out and punished for it.

Would you be happy if the Conservative’s punishment was that they lost the upcoming election and “Mr. Dressup” took over? So far I think this controversy has been driven too much by partisan politics and not enough by a sense for justice.

Paladin1 wrote:

Liberals changed our laws to accomodate SNC, slimy. They continue to exhibit a born to rule attitude while brushing off the notion of ethics.

Weren’t our laws changed legally by our Parliament?

 

Paladin1

Yes they were. Do you think the way they buried the change affecting snc and their future way of doing business was sneaky?

quizzical

there's a new discussion happening now about changing the 10 year law and leaving it up to parliament to decide what the punishment will be. 

 

JKR

Paladin1 wrote:
Yes they were. Do you think the way they buried the change affecting snc and their future way of doing business was sneaky?

I think Conservatives and most others in the know were well aware of the changes and had no problem with them.