Why Punish SNC-Lavalin?

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Pondering
Why Punish SNC-Lavalin?

Who besides powerless shareholders and employees will be hurt by it? What happened to the people who made the decisions? I hear upper management has been changed so was getting fired their punishment? 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Who besides powerless shareholders and employees will be hurt by it?

If the alleged wrongdoing did happen, weren't they also beneficiaries of it?

Quote:
I hear upper management has been changed so was getting fired their punishment?

I guess all we'd need to know is whether they were, in fact, fired, and whether or not they received a severance.  If they got a few hundred thou then it's not much of a "punishment", is it?

quizzical

omg you can't be serious pondering. 

got no use for people who think corruption is ok.

cco

I'm gobsmacked by the fact that people (and I'm not talking about you, Pondering, but about the stream of pundits and politicians that have been on my TV over the past two weeks) can even ask questions like this with a straight face. The CEO of SNC-Lavalin makes $6,412,211/year. He makes that money through government contracts; SNC-Lavalin press flacks are saying outright that a ban on bidding for Canadian government projects would cause their business to fold. 11 years after the financial crisis, the majority of people are still apparently okay with the concept of "too big to fail". They're racketeers stealing tax money – that is to say, our money – to finance their board's opulent lifestyles. They're apparently impossible to prosecute, thanks to carefully structured illegal campaign donations and holding jobs hostage in key swing ridings. People like Pierre Duhaime get punished by house arrest at the palaces bought with the money they stole, Pablo Escobar-style.

This is straight-up gangster capitalism. If the government needs a corporation like SNC-Lavalin to build infrastructure (which is the government's job), then the government, not private businessmen, should own it. This is where neoliberal logic has brought us. If the government decided that instead of providing health care through a ministry, it should just pay everybody's Blue Cross bill, and then Blue Cross embezzled and broke all kinds of laws while saying it couldn't be prosecuted since that'd mean Canadians would lose their health care and all Blue Cross employees would lose their jobs, I hope people would take to the streets with pitchforks. But when it's the construction of the Jacques-Cartier bridge or the McGill superhospital, well, everybody just kind of sighs that these things happen everywhere. Canada needs to stay "competitive" by having a justice system that's for sale. This whole public/private partnership thing is the way of the future, y'know? The private sector gets things done more efficiently. At least $6,412,211 more efficiently. The idea of having engineers work directly for the government, where their budgets would be public record and open to parliamentary scrutiny, is just more damned socialism. Let's get the government's hands out of it and let the private sector do the hard work of lobbying the government to give it money.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Tell the Justice Committee to vote for full investigation

BREAKING: Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould just resigned from cabinet -- amid explosive allegations that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) pressured her to meddle in a court case to help a billionaire corporation dodge a criminal trial.[1]

According to reporting in the Globe and Mail, she refused to cave into the PMO’s pressure -- and shortly after, she was shuffled from the prestigious Attorney-General post to another cabinet position, which she resigned from today. [2]

If it’s true that the PMO tried to pressure her -- and that’s still a big if --  it’s cause for alarm. Independent courts are part of the foundation of our democracy, and stories about political operatives meddling behind the scenes could dangerously erode the public’s trust in our institutions.

But the truth is that we simply don’t have enough information to determine what did or didn’t happen, and with our democracy on the line, we need to get to the bottom of it fast.

Tomorrow, members of the House of Commons Justice Committee will vote on whether to hold investigations where they could compel witnesses -- including PMO staffers -- to testify under oath. [3]

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Pondering wrote:

Who besides powerless shareholders and employees will be hurt by it? What happened to the people who made the decisions? I hear upper management has been changed so was getting fired their punishment? 

What's the alternative?  Invoking the "too big to fail" doctrine?  Simply deciding that all corporations above a certain size are not exempt from both accountability, the law, and reality?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Powerless shareholders? Do you mean all the to executives who for decades have been getting stock options to avoid taxes?

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Powerless shareholders? Do you mean all the to executives who for decades have been getting stock options to avoid taxes?

That is what I am asking.  Are executives getting punished or just the company? My point is the company didn't commit a crime the people running the company committed a crime. They are the ones that should be punished not the company and you can't put a company in prison. Did those executives who were fired stay unemployed or did they just move on to different companies? Did they get severance packages? 

WWWTT

Thanks to cco for revealing the ceo’s annual salary of over 6.4 million dollars!  Is this person (probably a man) worth it? Fuck no! There’s no one anywhere whom is worth this outrageous hoarding amount of wealth. Also, I’m sure there’s a lot more upper management and executives at SNC-Lavalin hoarding wealth! Just imagine if this was a public company. A lot more infrastructure could be built in Canada for the same money!

Sean in Ottawa

It is a fact of life that investors are those who take on the risk of the actions of a company. It is too bad for them but that is the risk they take. We could look at measure to protect and reduce the risk of shareholders -- regulation and investigation to make sure companies are not doing this could be stronger. Shareholders perhaps ought to be able to demandsome kind of compensation from those who run the company rather than pay more for the actions of a few.

The reason to take action against the company is to make sure that companies cannot do this without fear of action. Shareholders as a group are not passive -- they can demand action to avoid such things and this is basic accountability.

Those who made the decisions, if criminal, should face prosecution.

But this is what accountability looks like in this context at this time. The state suffers and nonshareholders suffer from the actions of this company -- the shareholders should bear more of the burden than nonshareholders.

Besides all that -- corruption is not in the interest of small shareholders. Having consequences for bad behaviour is also generally good for shareholders -- not when the action is taken but in terms of a detterent, the onyl actions possible are taken once it is found out.

All that said -- Pondering should not be attacked for the question. These conversations ought to be had and the way we react to wrongdoing and who pays ought to be considered. In this case there will be economic damage to individuals and the public for this. It is the right thing to do for now (I believe) but questionning actions like this ought to be part of thewhat we do here. It is also not right that a few people should be able to make such decisions to their benefit that cost a wider base of shareholders -- or the public. I imagine that many here who might hold mutual fund RRSPs might not even know they are part of paying for the decisions of these people. Employees will also suffer whether or not they have stock options. People who work for those contracting to this company will suffer. The public may also suffer given that this company is involved in public contracts (but the public by the same token has an interest in making sure the company cannot behave this way.) the people of Canada (this is an export cmpany) and the people of Quebec and Montreal in particular have a right to ask this question of who should pay the cost here.

It is always good to ask what tools and responses are the right ones and that the right people are paying the right balance of the cost. It is a good question as to whether criminal prosecution ought to be increased and perhaps new criminal laws passed to make sure that the burden goes squarely on those who make the decision. Perhaps where there are enough consequeneces to the individuals, some of the penaltieis to the entire company and shareholders could be mitigated where an investigation proves that those people are no longer there. I think the problem in this case is that the consequences for the individuals are not strong enough so we rely on (threat of) action against the entire company. With greater powers of investigation and stronger laws this burden could shift slightly, however, never entirely away from the shareholders.

I think this is exactly the kind of quesiton we should ask in a place like this that cares about the public interest, workers, smaller shareholders with little-to-no power. This question, a good policy one, is more valuable to ask than the many political horse-race threads. I am disturbed by the tone of the responses that seek to discourage this kind of question without enough thought. We are here to ask these questions and at times to ask to verify questions that may come back and confirm the original policy. It does not mean they are not important to ask.

Pondering's question is very thoughtful about whether the right people are paying the cost the proportion of wrongdoing, the issue of rehabilitation, and if there are better means. This is what the thread, I think, is for. Shouldn't we explore that rather than imediately run down our rightful bias of concern about large companies that commit wrongdoing? It is a little to easy just to say make the company pay. The question of how and how to protect and mitigate those not involved in the situation by making those responsible pay more is extremely valuable.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Would we all worry about the innocents if it were Lockheed-Martin Canada, or Kinder Morgan?

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Would we all worry about the innocents if it were Lockheed-Martin Canada, or Kinder Morgan?

Why not?

These are big companies in portfolios and many jobs are involved.

This is not to predetermine the conclusion of the question -- it is merely saying the question should be asked.

Shareholders do need some protection from the decisions of companies that do not follow the law or act in the itnerest of the company.

The national interest, the interest of workers, the interest of small shareholders, the interest of Indigenous peoples, the interest of the public, the interest of the environment --- All are worthy. In posing the question we ask to look at the effects, we ask to determine which reactions create the best result over time, we ask for justice, we look at how best to address prerequisites (what is on Indigenous land or risks the environment is a higher priority than the workers and the workers should have higher priority than the shareholders -- but we should ask anyway). We should not assume that what we have done in the past is necessarily the best.

what is wrong with posing the question, mitigating somewhat the effect of those who did not make the decision and increasing the penalty on those who did?

So yes. If we are to look at policy this is a very good example of something we should ask.

Powerful interests set the rules and powerful interests decide who pays when they are broken. It is fair that this be considered periodically --- even if we determine that the best action is the one being taken.

The idea of saying here is an organization we do not like or have a bias against so we should not ask the question is a huge problem. It may be in the cases of those companies that we need to ask this question first.

Point being that clearly what we have done in the past did not prevent the present conflict or problem or imbalance etc.

Maybe we need to review where we draw the line between limited personal liability and corporate liability when individuals make decisions that affect so many others. Maybe we need to ask, when the top people make off well even in bankruprtsy if the ultimate penalty should only be destruction of the company rather than penalties on the individuals.

In some cases where large companies make decisions in other countries that are corrupt in Canada, even considering extradition to those countries is worth looking at -- even if we decide in many cases that would be too harsh.

You don't have to agree with any point of view to acknowledge that there are issues here worth looking at. But if you consider that rules tend to be made to favour the wealthy against the interests of the people, the environment -- when the rules allow the people who did wrong to avoid the bulk of the responsibility and walk away -- reviewing these rules is never a bad idea especially considering that they did not prevent the behaviour.

Unionist

I share the concerns expressed by Sean and Pondering.

Let me put forward some ideas very briefly (need to think them through more):

1. Corporate entities should not be subject to criminal charges for bribery, fraud... maybe for anything.

2. Each and every individual, whether an executive, a manager, a representative, a worker, or a shareholder, who knowingly participates in bribery, fraud, etc. on behalf of a coroporate entity (or on their own behalf) should of course be subject to criminal charges.

3. When a corporate entity wins a contract, makes a sale, or earns an ill-gotten return through the criminal activity of its agents/executives/etc., the courts must have the power to annul or recuperate accordingly.

3. Where a corporate entity is found to engage (through its representatives) in bribery, fraud, etc. beyond a certain threshold, or repetitively, or over a period of time, then a legal mechanism should be established by the appropriate level of government whereby that entity can be placed in "trusteeship" - meaning that the governmental body set up for that purpose will assume all functions of the executives, shareholders, and the assets, for a period of time or to a degree determined by the appropriate tribunal.

It makes no sense to halt production and throw workers on the street when the problem can be solved by punishing the guilty and/or placing control of the enterprise in public hands.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
what is wrong with posing the question, mitigating somewhat the effect of those who did not make the decision and increasing the penalty on those who did?

Nothing, I suppose.  It's just that concern for the success of huge corporations and the stock portfolios of their investors is a new thing around here.  You'll need to give people time to get used to it.

 

Unionist

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
what is wrong with posing the question, mitigating somewhat the effect of those who did not make the decision and increasing the penalty on those who did?

Nothing, I suppose.  It's just that concern for the success of huge corporations and the stock portfolios of their investors is a new thing around here.  You'll need to give people time to get used to it.

Let me know what you think of my proposal above. It avoids any concern for the success of huge corporations and stock portfolios. If shareholders and their elected executives screw around too much, they lose control of the corporation.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

It's a reasonable idea, but complicated.  I think it would be difficult, for example, to know who on the board of directors voted for some (dodgy) thing and who opposed it, or who was just following a directive from above, or what have you.  I'm not sure these things can reasonably be investigated with that kind of necessary granularity.  But in terms of assignment of responsibility and culpability, it makes sense.

But until this change happens, what shall we do regarding SNC Lavelin?  If we can't use the existing laws to address their behaviour because "Jobs!!" then do we just tell them "there will be NO seventh warning!!"?

Pogo Pogo's picture

Corporations need to pay the price.  People even at the top are disposable, and losses can be viewed as the cost of doing business. The company and its shareholders hold the ultimate blame.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Workers lose jobs and communities lose economic drivers, shareholders lose part of a portfolio. The corporate veil says that shareholders will only lose their initial investment in the stock. That is a bargain for capitalists it becomes absurd if you get to buy stocks and think the government will intervene when you might lose money on a stock in your portfolio. No matter what else the individuals who are responsible for the corruption need to go to jail not get bonuses for getting themselves off the hook.

Clearly the problem is who owns the means of production. Fuck the shareholders fire everyone in the corporate chain that was involved in the corruption and turn the company's various divisions into worker owned cooperatives.

Sean in Ottawa

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Workers lose jobs and communities lose economic drivers, shareholders lose part of a portfolio. The corporate veil says that shareholders will only lose their initial investment in the stock. That is a bargain for capitalists it becomes absurd if you get to buy stocks and think the government will intervene when you might lose money on a stock in your portfolio. No matter what else the individuals who are responsible for the corruption need to go to jail not get bonuses for getting themselves off the hook.

Clearly the problem is who owns the means of production. Fuck the shareholders fire everyone in the corporate chain that was involved in the corruption and turn the company's various divisions into worker owned cooperatives.

I think this is a bit simplistic. One of the few things workers can do in terms of investment is RRSPs - to stay ahead of inflation they use mutual funds. I don't agree with this screw the shareholders mentality given that the situation is more complex than wealthy capitalists vs workers.

I think shareholders who are small in scale ought to be able to sue the managers personally for any illegal acts they do in the name of the company. Strip these guys and their bonuses and final packages to nothing.

Stripping this down to a means of production argument is to suggest that there is absolutely nothing we can do more than we are now to prevent the tops of companies from screwing the bottom unless we win the war over means of production. The us and them argument is really out of touch when it comes to things like this. I am all for your argument in principle and generally but I cannot support it when it comes to situations like this. The union workers and leaders we hold up -- they own mutual funds too and have no control to stop this. Legally they should have that control to make sure that any person who makes decisions like this with a company is bankrupted and leaves pennyless/ Not these escape hatches that leave workers and citizens with nothing while they take the retirement packages on the dregs of the companies they ruin -- built by the workers you talk about and owned by working people as well as the capitalists.

Sometimes things are not as simple as a slogan might make them look.

quizzical

huh. so QC pension funds own 20% of SNC Lavalin. Canadian pension 2%.

no wonder the majority of Quebecers want this to go away and think shareholders should be protected by the bs dpa.

i see they own a Kansas pipeline too.

https://m.marketscreener.com/SNC-LAVALIN-GROUP-INC-1411719/company/

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caisse_de_d%C3%A9p%C3%B4t_et_placement_du_Qu%C3%A9bec

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:

I think this is a bit simplistic. One of the few things workers can do in terms of investment is RRSPs - to stay ahead of inflation they use mutual funds. I don't agree with this screw the shareholders mentality given that the situation is more complex than wealthy capitalists vs workers.

I think shareholders who are small in scale ought to be able to sue the managers personally for any illegal acts they do in the name of the company. Strip these guys and their bonuses and final packages to nothing.

Problem is, if you're an investor in a mutual fund (or, if your pension is being invested in one) then you're not actually a shareholder in SNC Lavelin, the fund is.  You're an investor in that fund.  The fund could, I suppose, sue SNC Lavelin (as could an actual stockholder, i.e. someone who directly invested), but I would expect that the only legal recourse for a fund investor would be to sue the fund -- and I can't see that being successful too often.

cco

quizzical wrote:

no wonder Quebecers want this to go away and think shareholders should be protected by the bs dpa.


I'm a Quebecer and don't want anything of the sort.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:

I think this is a bit simplistic. One of the few things workers can do in terms of investment is RRSPs - to stay ahead of inflation they use mutual funds. I don't agree with this screw the shareholders mentality given that the situation is more complex than wealthy capitalists vs workers.

I think shareholders who are small in scale ought to be able to sue the managers personally for any illegal acts they do in the name of the company. Strip these guys and their bonuses and final packages to nothing.

Problem is, if you're an investor in a mutual fund (or, if your pension is being invested in one) then you're not actually a shareholder in SNC Lavelin, the fund is.  You're an investor in that fund.  The fund could, I suppose, sue SNC Lavelin (as could an actual stockholder, i.e. someone who directly invested), but I would expect that the only legal recourse for a fund investor would be to sue the fund -- and I can't see that being successful too often.

The fund cannot effectively sue the company as that sues their asset. They need to be able to sue the individuals. By allowing this the detternet to do this is reduced plus any assets they have get pulled in.

Noops

kropotkin1951 wrote:

 Fuck the shareholders fire everyone in the corporate chain that was involved in the corruption and turn the company's various divisions into worker owned cooperatives.


Like Huawei?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Noops wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

 Fuck the shareholders fire everyone in the corporate chain that was involved in the corruption and turn the company's various divisions into worker owned cooperatives.


Like Huawei?

I did not know that was its business structure, tell me more.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Why is SNC different than any other investment. If you bought Bre-X you made a fortune until you found out the company was a fraud. Then the bottom dropped out of the stock despite many idiots having their RRSP portfolio stuffed with them.

If you want to provide pensions to Canadians then it needs to be universal so start with a raise in the OAP and not a bailout of a company with a decades long record of corruption.

Sean in Ottawa

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Why is SNC different than any other investment. If you bought Bre-X you made a fortune until you found out the company was a fraud. Then the bottom dropped out of the stock despite many idiots having their RRSP portfolio stuffed with them.

If you want to provide pensions to Canadians then it needs to be universal so start with a raise in the OAP and not a bailout of a company with a decades long record of corruption.

Excuse me but why are you determined to mischaracterize this as a proposal of a bailout?

Sean in Ottawa

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Why is SNC different than any other investment. If you bought Bre-X you made a fortune until you found out the company was a fraud. Then the bottom dropped out of the stock despite many idiots having their RRSP portfolio stuffed with them.

If you want to provide pensions to Canadians then it needs to be universal so start with a raise in the OAP and not a bailout of a company with a decades long record of corruption.

This could be true of all investments -- where any criminality have a civel penalty of all of the personal assets of those making the decisions. Only after that should the shareholders pay.

I never, never, never, never, never, suggested that the public would pay. I want to know why you are mischaracterizing the conversation? Are you not interested in relating to what people say? Is it that you just want a chance to do some virtue signalling or sharing your propaganda? You can do this without lying about what others are saying you know.

WWWTT

Hey kropotkin, I already posted the links about the HuaWei model last December (I think). It’s part of the reason why it’s the most successful company in the world. But lots of posters here at babble chose to ignore it. Including you. But perhaps you and others missed it?

Either ways, who gives a ratts ass anyways? The stock markets are a scam for the elite 0.0001% to extract wealth. And the provincial/federal governments are in on it.

The nice thing about this thread is that the true neoliberals can’t help from exposing themselves. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Why is SNC different than any other investment. If you bought Bre-X you made a fortune until you found out the company was a fraud. Then the bottom dropped out of the stock despite many idiots having their RRSP portfolio stuffed with them.

If you want to provide pensions to Canadians then it needs to be universal so start with a raise in the OAP and not a bailout of a company with a decades long record of corruption.

Excuse me but why are you determined to mischaracterize this as a proposal of a bailout?

I thought you were trying to say that this corrupt company should not be punished properly for corruption and defrauding the public purses of Canada and foreign nations because it would be bad middle class peoples mutual funds. I am sorry you are right it is not a bailout it is a get out of jail free card.  My logic was that if I invest in a mutual fund I take my chances on how the companies in that fund will perform. If a large holding in the fund tanks then my RRSP is reduced. I get that which is why I think that RRSP's are the worst option for the government to be promoting for providing pension money. I know that as a taxpayer my money will never be recovered from this corrupt corporation to make restitution for what they stole from the public purse. I just don't think that rewarding fraud is a way to build a proper society and unfortunately if you invested in Enron you lost your shirt. Do you think Enron should have been protected from fraud charges because its stock was widely held?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

WWWTT wrote:

Hey kropotkin, I already posted the links about the HuaWei model last December (I think). It’s part of the reason why it’s the most successful company in the world. But lots of posters here at babble chose to ignore it. Including you. But perhaps you and others missed it?

Nope I missed the links. Could you repost them if they are easy for you to find again. I will have to read it because the answer to the question depends on the details.

Martin N.

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Would we all worry about the innocents if it were Lockheed-Martin Canada, or Kinder Morgan?

Simple answer: the innocents profit from the actions of the guilty just as they suffer from the consequences financially but it is incumbent upon the federal government to protect the innocent from corporate malfeasance NOT to protect corporate malfeasance from the innocent.

The reality of this scandal is that it exposes the inappropriate access to power, fuelled by illegal political donations, that exists for corporate malfeasance to thrive. It is not only SNC but also the ease with which Brison was given a golden parachute by BMO and Irving has access to the federal treasury and why Bronfmans, Eatons and Irvings can take their government assisted skimming 'trusts' offshore tax free while the average nook pays for it.

It also exposes why Canadians pay such high cell phone charges, mutual fund mer's and never-ending bank fees. It explains why banks and other financial institutions are allowed to naked short sell, cross trade ( selling and buying at the same time to themselves to manipulate stock prices) and otherwise manipulate stock prices to fleece their own clients!

Pondering is right but just a little off the mark. SNC and the Quebec government are attempting to make that case, to 'save' the corporation including the criminals, not excluding and convicting them. "Oh, Canada, you stand on guard for SNC".

Corporate entities are inanimate and, as such, bear no criminal responsibility. It is the CEO and Board of Directors who bear responsibility but clever access to power prevents any law that seriously threatens to hold them responsible. As usual, ordinary Canadians pay the bill.

Drain the Swamp!

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Damn. I think I might have to agree with pretty much everything MartinN just posted.

Pogo Pogo's picture

If Lavelin fails the work will still be there.  Likely someone will pick up the pieces and it will become part of another company or part of many companies. To blame a few bad eggs excuses a corporate culture of criminality.  It is not just a number of lawbreakers but a corporate enitity that shields lawbreaking.

Martin N.

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Damn. I think I might have to agree with pretty much everything MartinN just posted.

I'm not surprised. Another poster somewhere took me to task for calling the Liberals "Libranos" because the Libs, while corrupt, are nothing like the mafia. If one takes the time to see past history in perspective, the damage, not only the Liberals but also past Conservative governments have done to the "innocents", is corrosive to Canadian values.

The Corporate agenda feeds both political machines and corrupts the process from the inside, using their creatures to bypass the peoples' representatives and guard the levers of power. The only party that could stop them is always too busy tripping over its own feet or tilting at windmills to notice. The only leader that could stop them sadly passed on.

While Canada's Parliament contentedly blathers on, Canada's corporate interests blithely continue on concentrating the country's wealth in their own hands, secure in their stranglehold on the PMO and unconcerned with the peasantry babbling in the streets. 

This is the revolution we need to have if Canadian steeple can ever draw their attentions away from the serial adventures of a Clown Prince, anointed by the criminals to distract us while the robbery is in progress.

Martin N.

dp

Martin N.

Pogo wrote:

If Lavelin fails the work will still be there.  Likely someone will pick up the pieces and it will become part of another company or part of many companies. To blame a few bad eggs exuses a corporate culture of criminality.  It is not just a number of lawbreakers but a corporate enitity that shields lawbreaking.

So then what does that make a PMO that shields a corporate entity that shields lawbreakers? The PMO needs to be neutered. Gender neutral neutered.

WWWTT
Sean in Ottawa

So let us make the shareholders, employees all equal in paying alongside the people with high executive multi-million dollar salaries who make the decisions? Let us continue to let them drive companies into the ground for their own profit or at least taking care of themselves and not be personally responsible? Let the bigwigs at companies like this bilk shareholders and employees and take care of themselves?

I know it is awkward realizing that some people make in salary each year more than others will have in their investments in their lives -- but we consider the person making a decision making a 7-figure salary to be equal in this?

Well I guess if we want to call them all capitalists even if their holdings amount to only a couple thousand dollars in a fdund we can blame them on principle.

And what exactly would it cost us to set up a mechanism to allow small-time investors to sue the big executives of these companies personally?

Also no consideration for the employess or the employees of companies that sell to them -- becuase that is the way the cookie crumbles?

Of course the parties of the rich will take care of the CEOs. They don't care about the people with a handful of RRSPs  maybe saving to buy a house. So the people on the left -- on principle -- should say screw you to them as well?

Good we had this little chat.

 

Martin N.

Mr. Magoo wrote:

It's a reasonable idea, but complicated.  I think it would be difficult, for example, to know who on the board of directors voted for some (dodgy) thing and who opposed it, or who was just following a directive from above, or what have you.  I'm not sure these things can reasonably be investigated with that kind of necessary granularity.  But in terms of assignment of responsibility and culpability, it makes sense.

But until this change happens, what shall we do regarding SNC Lavelin?  If we can't use the existing laws to address their behaviour because "Jobs!!" then do we just tell them "there will be NO seventh warning!!"?

Directors have insurance for breaking the law but they don't have a stand-in for prison time.  The point is that the PMO runs interference for the lawbreakers rather than protect the victims. Taking power back from the PMO and returning it to Parliament is beneficial to reducing corruption, if only due to the number of people requiring bribes.

Martin N.

I'm an investor and manage my own portfolios. I buy and sell Canadian stocks. If a corporation like SNC has a whiff of poor governance or lax management, any investor should avoid it. Moral or legal issues aside, capital preservation is the game and crooks are not worth the risk. In this regard, SNC has been smelly for years. Anyone holding it gets what they deserve for poor decision making.

 

Unionist

cco wrote:
quizzical wrote:

no wonder Quebecers want this to go away and think shareholders should be protected by the bs dpa.

I'm a Quebecer and don't want anything of the sort.

Me too. You know, quizzical, generalizing about "Quebecers" is really a bad idea. Stop it please.

swallow swallow's picture

Me three.

wage zombie

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

So let us make the shareholders, employees all equal in paying alongside the people with high executive multi-million dollar salaries who make the decisions? Let us continue to let them drive companies into the ground for their own profit or at least taking care of themselves and not be personally responsible? Let the bigwigs at companies like this bilk shareholders and employees and take care of themselves?

I know it is awkward realizing that some people make in salary each year more than others will have in their investments in their lives -- but we consider the person making a decision making a 7-figure salary to be equal in this?

Well I guess if we want to call them all capitalists even if their holdings amount to only a couple thousand dollars in a fdund we can blame them on principle.

And what exactly would it cost us to set up a mechanism to allow small-time investors to sue the big executives of these companies personally?

Also no consideration for the employess or the employees of companies that sell to them -- becuase that is the way the cookie crumbles?

Of course the parties of the rich will take care of the CEOs. They don't care about the people with a handful of RRSPs  maybe saving to buy a house. So the people on the left -- on principle -- should say screw you to them as well?

It sounds like you're suggesting that the government should be insuring stock market gambling losses.

cco

Another bizarre manifestation of late-stage capitalism: people who have bought so deeply into the "stocks, bonds, and real estate are the only rational way to make money!" ideology that they're brought to the brink of tears and demand socialist intervention when the guaranteed payoff doesn't arrive. Hell, once upon a time, the idea was to save for retirement. Now all pensions are invested, and the population's financial well-being is dependent upon things like the Caisse de dépôt, the CPP, and the Ontario Teachers gambling on things the majority may not support at all, to create consent for unpopular policies based on financial self-interest. Hey, you could oppose a new pipeline, but your retirement might be spent at the food bank if you do.

quizzical

Unionist wrote:

cco wrote:
quizzical wrote:

no wonder Quebecers want this to go away and think shareholders should be protected by the bs dpa.

I'm a Quebecer and don't want anything of the sort.

Me too. You know, quizzical, generalizing about "Quebecers" is really a bad idea. Stop it please.

nope. i've been watching and reading commentary everywhere from Quebecers and they all sound like pondering.

you even spoke for letting it go above unless i misinterpreted you badly.

 

voice of the damned

quizzical:

You CAN just say "a majority of Quebeckers" or even "the overwhelming majority of Quebeckers". That still leaves room for those Quebeckers, however many there may be, who disagree with the consensus.

 

quizzical

voice of the damned wrote:

quizzical:

You CAN just say "a majority of Quebeckers" or even "the overwhelming majority of Quebeckers". That still leaves room for those Quebeckers, however many there may be, who disagree with the consensus.

 

ok i put 'a majority' instead.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Unionist wrote:

I share the concerns expressed by Sean and Pondering.

Let me put forward some ideas very briefly (need to think them through more):

1. Corporate entities should not be subject to criminal charges for bribery, fraud... maybe for anything.

2. Each and every individual, whether an executive, a manager, a representative, a worker, or a shareholder, who knowingly participates in bribery, fraud, etc. on behalf of a coroporate entity (or on their own behalf) should of course be subject to criminal charges.

3. When a corporate entity wins a contract, makes a sale, or earns an ill-gotten return through the criminal activity of its agents/executives/etc., the courts must have the power to annul or recuperate accordingly.

3. Where a corporate entity is found to engage (through its representatives) in bribery, fraud, etc. beyond a certain threshold, or repetitively, or over a period of time, then a legal mechanism should be established by the appropriate level of government whereby that entity can be placed in "trusteeship" - meaning that the governmental body set up for that purpose will assume all functions of the executives, shareholders, and the assets, for a period of time or to a degree determined by the appropriate tribunal.

It makes no sense to halt production and throw workers on the street when the problem can be solved by punishing the guilty and/or placing control of the enterprise in public hands.

I'm not in favour of corporations being allowed to exist in the first place, but until such time as it becomes politically feasible to get rid of them, I'm in favour of Unionist's proposal.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Workers lose jobs and communities lose economic drivers, shareholders lose part of a portfolio. The corporate veil says that shareholders will only lose their initial investment in the stock. That is a bargain for capitalists it becomes absurd if you get to buy stocks and think the government will intervene when you might lose money on a stock in your portfolio. No matter what else the individuals who are responsible for the corruption need to go to jail not get bonuses for getting themselves off the hook.

Clearly the problem is who owns the means of production. Fuck the shareholders fire everyone in the corporate chain that was involved in the corruption and turn the company's various divisions into worker owned cooperatives.

Either worker owned cooperatives, or better yet, government owned and worker manged enterprises.

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

Unionist wrote:

cco wrote:
quizzical wrote:

no wonder Quebecers want this to go away and think shareholders should be protected by the bs dpa.

I'm a Quebecer and don't want anything of the sort.

Me too. You know, quizzical, generalizing about "Quebecers" is really a bad idea. Stop it please.

nope. i've been watching and reading commentary everywhere from Quebecers and they all sound like pondering.

you even spoke for letting it go above unless i misinterpreted you badly.

I told you, as did cco, that we don't want anything of the sort (the whole thing to go away and shareholders to be protected).

You follow up by saying that "you even spoke for letting it go above unless I misinterpreted you badly".

So even after I tell you where I stand, you don't believe me - because you've been reading and watching and you know how Quebecers "all sound".

So I'll tell you what: Stop generalizing about people. And using VOTD's clever trick of saying "the vast majority" doesn't make it the slightest bit less offensive or xenophobic.

Agreed?

Now, how about weighing in on my proposal: 1) Charge and punish all individuals involved in bribery and fraud. 2) Create a legal mechanism to put the company in trusteeship - run by the public - take all power away from the bosses and the shareholders who created the problem. That way, work can continue, jobs can remain, taxes can be paid.

Or did you actually have an alternate proposal?

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