SNC-Lavalin made $15,000 in political donations to Conservative candidate Michel-Eric Castonguay in the Montmorency-Charlevoix-Haute-Cote-Nord riding despite the fact that the Canada Elections Act prohibits corporate donations. The donations were given by 14 executives or their relatives on April 30, 2011 just before the national election on May 2nd. These donations amounted to 2/3 of the candidates campaign finances. Despite this money, the Con candidtate lost to NDPer Jonathan Tremblay.
SNC claims these donations were made by personal choice of their executives coincidentally on the same day two days before the election.
"However, CBC News began investigating federal contributions after revelations last week by an SNC executive at the Charbonneau Commission in Montreal. Yves Cadotte explained to the inquiry on corruption how SNC-Lavalin had its executives make political contributions municipally and provincially and then compensated them through their bonuses.
Furthermore, now-retired SNC-Lavalin executive Georges Boutary, who is listed as making a $1,100 donation to Castonguay, told CBC News he had never heard of Castonguay nor did he remember donating to his campaign. ...
NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice told the CBC the donations could indicate a broader scope of corruption: “What we are learning in Quebec right now is really amazing and maybe, maybe we have that same pattern at the federal level.” Boulerice says it seems like more than a mere coincidence. “It's really strange that all those employees of SNC-Lavalin are giving almost the same amount of money to the same local association on the same day. "It looks like an organized action from a company to give money to a political party."
During Tuesday’s Question Period, Boulerice asked the Tories about a similar donation cluster from 2009, where 13 SNC-Lavalin executives and their family members donated $14,300 to the Conservative’s Portneuf-Jacques Cartier riding association. Pierre Poilièvre replied that the contributions had "nothing to do with this party or this government."
Conrad Winn, a political science professor at Carleton University and president of Compas Research, says it’s not about the $15,000, and it smacks of "attempted corporate corruption. Governments make contract purchases in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Winn, "and choosing a company because they happen to have favoured a politician"