Canada: SNC-Lavalin approached Quebec's justice minister about DPA as part of wider effort to lobby government - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaSNC-Lavalin approached Quebec's justice minister about DPA as part of wider effort to lobby government

05:35  15 march  2019
05:35  15 march  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Western premiers say Ottawa preoccupied

Western premiers say Ottawa preoccupied Western premiers say the SNC-Lavalin affair is distracting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a time he should be focused on jobs in their region. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has taken aim at the prime minister's comments about the 9,000 jobs tied to the Quebec company. Moe says Trudeau needs to be reminded he is not the premier of Quebec and that thousands of jobs have been lost in the energy sector. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley released a statement this week about China blocking shipments of Canadian canola to say Trudeau needs to get back to work defending jobs and farmers. She suggested the federal government is navel-gazing at its own controversy.

SNC - Lavalin had been lobbying the government to introduce DPAs , effectively plea deals for A solid effort , and one that fits well with a government that has proven itself to be just as cynical This column is part of CBC' s Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read our FAQ.

After former justice minister and attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould was shuffled SNC - Lavalin , Canada’s largest engineering and construction management company, is one of Quebec ’ s biggest Since the beginning of 2017, representatives of SNC - Lavalin met with federal government officials

SNC-Lavalin approached Quebec's justice minister about DPA as part of wider effort to lobby government© Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press Quebec's economy minister, Pierre Fitzgibbon, centre, speaks with Bombardier president Alain Bellemare. SNC-Lavalin 'has done its homework,' said Fitzgibbon, arguing the company deserves a DPA.

SNC-Lavalin approached Quebec's attorney-general last fall to enlist her help securing a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) from the federal government.

This was part of a broader effort by the company to get the newly elected Coalition Avenir Québec government to take up its cause with Ottawa.

The senior executive in charge of SNC-Lavalin's lobbying strategy, Erik Ryan, had a phone conversation on Nov. 9 with Justice Minister Sonia LeBel's chief of staff, Marc-André Ross.

Quebec doesn't rule out buying SNC shares

Quebec doesn't rule out buying SNC shares BROMONT, Que. - Quebec Premier Francois Legault says his government isn't ruling out buying shares in SNC-Lavalin in order to prevent the company from being sold or dismantled. Legault said Friday that all options are currently on the table when it comes to saving the troubled Montreal-based engineering giant and the thousands of jobs it provides. The province's pension fund manager already has a stake of about 20 per cent in the company, but not enough to form a blocking minority.

SNC - Lavalin ' s lobbying efforts to change the Criminal Code in the wake of fraud and bribery The Quebec MP, now the infrastructure minister , was at the time the parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Bill Morneau. The government launched consultations to discuss a DPA regime in Canada.

The justice minister can’t give the DPP orders on election matters, but in any other kind of case, the minister can issue directives to them or even take SNC - Lavalin : CEO Neil Bruce told The Globe he was unaware of any political pressure related to their DPA request, and didn’t comment on how Mr

During that conversation, Ryan said he wanted to meet with LeBel to discuss a DPA, which would allow SNC-Lavalin to avoid prosecution on federal fraud and bribery charges.

The account of the conversation was provided to CBC News by Lebel's office.

"We find it important to be transparent and to communicate this [information]," said spokesperson Nicky Cayer.

SNC-Lavalin approached Quebec's justice minister about DPA as part of wider effort to lobby government© Graham Hughes/Canadian Press Graham Hughes/Canadian Press

LeBel's office did not follow up on SNC-Lavalin's request for help and has not had further contact with the company, Cayer said.

The November phone call came as LeBel's federal counterpart, then justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, was also being urged to offer a DPA to SNC-Lavalin.

Wilson-Raybould was resisting attempts by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his staff, the Clerk of the Privy Council and the finance minister to get her to overturn a decision by federal prosecutors to prosecute SNC-Lavalin.

Legault says Quebec could buy SNC-Lavalin shares to save company, jobs

Legault says Quebec could buy SNC-Lavalin shares to save company, jobs Quebec Premier François Legault says his government could buy shares in order to prevent the company from being sold or dismantled. Legault says all options are on the table when it comes to saving the troubled Montreal-based firm and the thousands of jobs it provides. SNC-Lavalin is currently facing fraud charges stemming from alleged dealings with the Libyan regime under Moammar Gadhafi between 2001 and 2011. A conviction would mean a 10-year ban from bidding on federal contracts, which could cripple the company.

that sources close to the government said that the Prime Minister ' s Office allegedly had attempted to influence Jody Just before retiring from SNC - Lavalin in May 2012, Gwyn Morgan—who had been Chair since 2006 symbolic impact as it was part of the "larger social and political context of the Quiet Revolution in Quebec . SNC - Lavalin ' s lawyers began a process to request a DPA in April, 2018

The SNC - Lavalin affair (French: L'affaire SNC - Lavalin ), also known as the SNC - Lavalin controversy, SNC - Lavalin scandal or simply LavScam

Under a DPA, the company would be able to admit wrongdoing and pay a fine in exchange for avoiding a trial on charges that it bribed Libyan officials to secure lucrative engineering contracts between 2001 and 2011.

A guilty verdict at trial could lead to SNC-Lavalin being barred from federal contracts for 10 years, which it says would be devastating for its business operations.

Wilson-Raybould said she was stripped of the justice portfolio earlier this year because of her refusal to grant the DPA. Trudeau's former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, denies that was the case.

SNC met with premier, economy minister

In early September, federal prosecutors informed SNC-Lavalin's lawyers that a DPA was not going to be an option. After pleading with prosecutors for another month, the company made the decision public.

But it did not stop lobbying the federal and Quebec governments to have that decision overturned.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confronted allegations of political interference by his office on Thursday, saying he did not “direct” Jody Wilson-Raybould when Opinion: Trudeau chooses not to be clear on what happened with SNC - Lavalin . The Quebec engineering and construction company has sought to

This article is part of a series about. Justin Trudeau. The ministers of Justice and Public Safety and the minister of Health would work on legislation to legalize cannabis. in an inappropriate effort to secure a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with SNC - Lavalin ."[60] She named 11 people involved

The extent of the company's outreach to federal officials — which included meetings and phone calls with Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick — became evident in testimony last week before the parliamentary justice committee.

But little has been revealed to date about SNC-Lavalin's parallel lobbying campaign directed at the new Quebec government.

While the company was rebuffed by the provincial attorney-general, other members of the CAQ government, including Premier François Legault, were more receptive.

Legault met with Ryan and SNC-Lavalin's CEO Neil Bruce on Oct. 22 at the premier's Montreal office. A spokesperson for the premier declined to offer details of what was discussed at the meeting.

The spokesperson also declined to say whether Legault raised DPAs with Trudeau.

But an official in the prime minister's office said Legault and Trudeau have at least twice discussed efforts to save jobs at the Montreal-based engineering firm.

The issue came up in their first meeting at the Francophonie summit in Armenia in early October. It was raised again at a Jan. 17 meeting in Sherbrooke, Que.

Liberals on justice committee say it's time to end SNC-Lavalin probe

Liberals on justice committee say it's time to end SNC-Lavalin probe Liberal MPs on the Commons Justice committee say their work is done and any further examination of the SNC-Lavalin affair should be left to the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner. Opposition leaders say the Liberals are trying to hide the truth from Canadians.

3.3 Minister of Veterans Affairs (2019). 3.4 SNC - Lavalin affair. 3.5 Awards and recognition. Canada' s legal approaches , positions and decisions taken in civil litigation involving Aboriginal and As part of her Mandate Letter commitment to "undertake modernization efforts to improve the

Quebec has never been a part of the Constitution, though it was initially in favour, explained And that was when then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau and Chrétien lost Quebec ’ s support. Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has spent a few years working on his approach to this bid to reopen the

In his public statements, Legault has repeatedly expressed concern that prosecuting the company could weaken its value and make it vulnerable to a foreign takeover.

A stated priority of his government is preventing large homegrown companies, like SNC-Lavalin, from moving their headquarters outside the province.

Legault's point person on this file is Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, who has been sharply critical of Ottawa's reluctance to offer a DPA to SNC-Lavalin.

Fitzgibbon acknowledged that, like LeBel, he was approached by SNC-Lavalin to lobby the federal government.

"Of course Mr. Bruce came to see myself and others to pledge that we should encourage the federal [government] to go through a DPA," Fitzgibbon said in an interview this week.

"This is about influencing; obviously we have no authority."

But unlike LeBel, Fitzgibbon did speak with several federal cabinet ministers on the company's behalf.

He did so, he said, a "few times" but stopped after Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last month.

A spokesperson for the economy minister refused to specify which federal ministers Fitzgibbon spoke with.

Quebec's political landscape was invoked by Wernick, the federal government's top bureaucrat, as one of the reasons he kept insisting to Wilson-Raybould that a DPA should be considered.

‘Let her speak’: Conservatives drown out Bill Morneau while he delivers budget

‘Let her speak’: Conservatives drown out Bill Morneau while he delivers budget As Morneau rose in the House to deliver the budget, members on the Opposition benches loudly clapped and chanted "Let her speak, let her speak," almost entirely drowning out the finance minister's voice.

Intensely worried that the SNC - Lavalin case could harm his reelection prospects by moving out of Quebec and Any divisions within his government on the matter could be fatal for efforts to convince voters the The finance minister said Thursday it was Wilson-Raybould who approached him, and

SNC - Lavalin Group Inc. is pressing Canada' s new Liberal government to adopt corporate SNC is expending significant effort explaining its situation and Canada' s legal system to potential clients, Mr The issue could a key early file for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his minister of justice , Jody

He told the justice committee last week that "new facts" emerged after federal prosecutors told SNC-Lavalin there would be no DPA.

These included the company's plummeting share price, Wernick said, "and communications from the new premier of Quebec and the government of Quebec."

A spokesperson for the Privy Council refused to clarify whether Wernick was referring to public statements by Quebec politicians or direct conversation.

Justice minister's past scrutiny of SNC-Lavalin

Fitzgibbon — a former board member of WSP, another Montreal-based engineering giant — has been unwavering in his belief that SNC-Lavalin deserves a DPA.

"The company has done its homework, has acknowledged the fault, has remedied that fault with proper procedures with its ethics code, has changed management, and has new board membership as well," he said.

LeBel, on the other hand, has said she will not intervene in the event provincial prosecutors opted to take SNC-Lavalin to trial.

The RCMP is co-operating with Crown prosecutors in Quebec as it continues to investigate a $127-million contract the company received to refurbish the Jacques-Cartier Bridge in Montreal.

A federal government employee pleaded guilty in 2017 to receiving more than $2 million in bribes to help make sure SNC-Lavalin won the contract.

"I have no intention whatsoever to intervene in this matter," Lebel told reporters last month. "The rule of law is very important, and we all live under it."

Before joining the CAQ, LeBel came to prominence as the lead prosecutor of a wide-ranging inquiry into corruption in Quebec's construction industry.

The inquiry exposed, among other things, SNC-Lavalin's involvement in a number of bid-rigging schemes, including in the awarding of a $1.3-billion contract to build a mega-hospital in Montreal.

It was LeBel's office that contacted CBC News about the Nov. 9 phone call from SNC-Lavalin.

CBC News initially filed an access-to-information request to determine whether LeBel had ever met with SNC-Lavalin officials.

When that request came up empty, LeBel's spokesperson informed CBC News that phone calls are not disclosed under Quebec's access-to-information legislation.

SNC-Lavalin did not respond to a request for comment.

Special adviser to Trudeau on splitting attorney general-justice minister role promises impartiality.
Anne McLellan, the former Liberal justice minister and attorney general who Justin Trudeau has tasked with exploring whether the dual role she occupied should be split, says Canadians can count on her for an impartial review of the position. "I am taking the emotion out of this," she told Chris Hall, host of CBC Radio's The House. She added the details of the SNC-Lavalin controversy may have drawn this issue to the surface again, but she's studying it more widely than that. "I am, as much as possible, divorcing myself from what one reads in the paper day after day.

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