3.5 C
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

SNC-Lavalin scandal indicative of corporate culture, politics


Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

End of an era for MP

Two weeks having passed since the federal election, Harold Albrecht has had time to reflect on his...

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta Rebiszewski Five candidates are vying for your vote in...

Harold Albrecht back to MP’s duties after suffering a minor stroke

Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht is back to work after recovering from a stroke earlier in the month. Albrecht, 69, was...


overcast clouds
3.5 ° C
5 °
1.7 °
64 %
90 %
2 °
3 °
4 °
3 °
6 °

Bribery. Corruption. Words now equally as applicable to the federal government as they are to SNC-Lavalin (and most other large corporations that make a business of lobbying weak politicians).

Trudeau is under scrutiny now for allegations the Prime Minister’s Office put pressure on Jody Wilson-Raybould, at the time justice minister and attorney general, to essentially drop charges against SNC-Lavalin, the Quebec-based engineering and construction firm.

Equally troubling, the way to circumvent the criminal charges related to bribery of government officials in Libya – and not Lavalin’s first rodeo – was a so-called “remediation agreement” inserted under the radar as part of the 2018 budget omnibus bill. The new option would see a company pay fines to compensate for any wrongdoings, without admitting to such wrongdoings, facing a trial or legal convictions.

The company seems to have spent a few years lobbying for the deferred prosecution option to be included in the Criminal Code. The efforts paid off. Surely because of the inherent value of the legal option, not because it donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Liberals over the years, including more than $100,000 it later admitted was illegal and the party had to return.

Of course, the fact the company is based in Quebec and the fates of thousands of employees would be up in the air if it were forced to shut down because of a conviction didn’t come into play, either. Particularly as it’s an election year.

The growing scandal emerged after Wilson-Raybould was demoted in a cabinet shuffle, with speculation arising that was the result of her refusal to a soft-ball treatment of Lavalin despite pressure from the PMO. This week, she resigned from cabinet entirely and retained the services of a former Supreme Court judge.

Something is brewing, and that something isn’t anything good.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing is commonplace; corporate greed, intense lobbying, politicians for sale and zero accountability – it’s a combination we’ve seen many times. Successive politicians campaign on cleaning up the past, closing loopholes and governing differently. In the end, they all disappoint, and then the system disappoints us even more by failing to jail or even punish them remotely in line with the crimes they’ve committed.

While the details of the SNC-Lavalin issue have yet to be known, we have a good idea where this leads. And we can be pretty sure, no matter how many mea culpas may surface, that there will be no substantial changes made to protect the public against unethical, illegal corporate actions or the self-interested politicians who back them.

We need only look at the United States to see a system corrupted by large donors, lobbyists and groups attempting to bypass the intent of democratic principles.

The goal of such politicians is to avoid being indicted for their offenses and to fool enough of the electorate in order to stay in power at least long enough to collect a pension and latch on to the public teat indefinitely, ideally double-dipping with a patronage appointment. Better still if there’s corporate money continuing to line their pockets, shifting from campaign donations to plum board appointments or lobbying gigs that skirt laughingly inadequate regulations – ethics being only a suggestion.

A harsh outlook on our political system? Perhaps, but a certain skepticism – a great deal of it, actually – is what’s needed rather than the apathy and inattentiveness politicians and bureaucrats count on to let them get away with poor governance and equally poor conduct.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


New watering system is powered by the sun

Many hands may make light work, but automating the process really lessens the load. That’s especially helpful when the work involves relying on volunteers to provide the manual labour.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

New St. Clements fire station officially open for service

The new fire station in St. Clements was officially declared open for service last Saturday. The $1.3-million project...

EDSS looks to make use of new push for skilled-trades training

With measures taken on the provincial level to encourage high school students to enter the skilled trades, EDSS is in the process...

Virgil Wins the Lottery … but, then again, maybe not

It’s easy to day dream about striking it rich quick by winning the lottery, and all the possibilities that come along with...

Pair of convincing wins sees Jacks improve record

A pair of wins last weekend saw the Wellesley Applejacks jump a notch in the PJHL standings to claim second place in...

Woolwich stays course with economic development

Woolwich’s vacant economic development and tourism officer (EDTO) position will be retained, councillors decided this week despite any numbers or measures to show...

Sugar Kings turn the screws on Brampton

Another home-and-home winning weekend helped the Elmira Sugar Kings solidify their hold on top spot in the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference. A pair of...
- Advertisement -