Wednesday, February 13, 2019

SNC-Lavalin and the Death of the NDP in Quebec

In my last post I explained why the Con attack on SNC-Lavalin and its workers was going to cost them most of the few seats they have in Quebec.

And will almost certainly hand Justin Trudeau another majority. 

Which needless to say would please me greatly, except for one thing. It would also doom the NDP, the party I have always voted for, to extinction in that province.

And now I have my NDP friends in Toronto, the ones who don't know Quebec, saying they don't understand how that could happen.

So this is what I tell them.

1) The NDP somehow failed to understand that Quebecers consider SNC-Lavalin a so-called heritage company. They are proud of the way it helped the province become the modern society it is today.

And the thought that 9,000 good Quebec jobs could be sacrificed by the Cons and the NDP for crass political purposes, makes them really angry.

Or just puzzled as you can see in this pundit round up. 

Since the Globe and Mail published a report last week alleging the Prime Minister’s Office pushed Wilson-Raybould to help the company avoid prosecution, a chorus of voices in Quebec has sought to defend the Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, its importance to the provincial and national economy and the appropriateness of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s desire to save some 8,600 Canadian jobs. 

“I can’t help but wonder whether English Canada’s punditocracy would be as indignant if the prime minister’s office had seemingly been trying to save a Toronto- or Calgary-based multinational corporation instead of a Quebec one,” wrote Lise Ravary, in English, for the Montreal Gazette on Tuesday. “SNC-Lavalin is Canada’s largest engineering firm. Not just Quebec’s.”

2) The NDP failed to rein in the rabid partisan instincts of MPs like Nathan Cullen, who in his never-ending desire to destroy the Liberals, is always cuddling up to the Cons.

And making a spectacle out of himself.

Just like he did today at the Justice Committee.

Where he rejected any talk about a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, that could save all those jobs. At times appeared to be quivering with anger, or pent up toxic Trudeau rage.

And horrors of horrors seemed to be singing from the same songbook, or should I say prayer book, of the far right Con Michael Cooper...

Who made a monkey out of his position as co-chair of the committee, 

(3) They failed to understand that there really is nothing sinister about the Trudeau government trying to save SNC-Lavalin.

What risks getting lost in the mess the Trudeau government may have created for itself is the need to distinguish between the crass politics and the sound policy principles that led the Trudeau government to include measures in its 2018 budget bill that allow Canadian companies to seek remediation agreements in the first place.

So they failed to appreciate, that the law can be an ass.

It is somewhat baffling that the director of public prosecutions chose to reject the company’s application for such a deal and opted to subject SNC-Lavalin to a potentially endless criminal proceeding that could sound its death knell.

Especially since SNC-Lavalin has worked hard to clean house.

It has taken extensive actions – overhauling its management, board and compliance procedures – to qualify under Ottawa’s remediation-agreement regime.

So seeking to punish a company for the actions of one or a handful of corrupt employees makes absolutely no sense.

In the case of SNC-Lavalin, this includes jeopardizing the very survival of an otherwise outstanding company, with 52,000 global and 9,400 Canadian employees, by depriving it of the ability to bid on federal contracts for a decade. Even if the company was acquitted – a strong possibility given the burden of proof – a lengthy trial would subject it to years of uncertainty, with considerable fallout.

And at a time when the company is already weakened.

A long trial, and a ten year ban could finish it off, for no sane reason.

It’s too bad the mess in Ottawa now risks souring public opinion on a worthy policy. It could cost the country a global engineering champion.

And also finish off the NDP...

You know, there's a statue of Jack Layton down by the Toronto waterfront where I live.

I pass by it almost every day, and sometimes when it's really cold I put a scarf on him, or a tuque.

And these days I feel sorry for Jagmeet Singh, and can almost hear him asking "Jack, Jack what went wrong?"

Just like I can almost see Layton showing him this:

And then asking " But where are the people, the ones who are about to lose their jobs and their families? You know the workers."

"And doesn't that last picture look familiar?"

But of course Jack can't talk, he died a long time ago.

And now sadly, in Quebec, it's the NDP's turn....


Anonymous said...

Only problem is your last post was bunk. Polls as proof, polls that were conducted before the scandal broke.

JWR resigns, “open and transparent” Liberals making a committee investigation with no teeth. But hey, keep trying to convince yourself that this is some faux scandal cooked up in the CPC and NDP back rooms to try and make the Prime Minister look bad.

Steve said...

Simon I like Jack Layton and would have been very happy to see him as PM. However he put Harper in power with his political greed. Dont blame the player blame the game.

Anonymous said...

First of all JWR cannot speak because this is before the courts. ANYTHING she says will screw that in spite of W Kisella's bloviating. And he knows that. Or if he (of Adscam) doesn't he's an ass.


Jackie Blue said...

Because that's exactly what it is! That's what it was in 2006 and what's going on now! They dragged Goodale through the mud once before. They've demonstrated their willingness on other occasions to form a pincer movement against the Liberals. The media -- and I should add, Fife is a known liar, just ask Mahar Arar -- is running with an anonymous allegation that NO OTHER OUTLET has been able to corroborate. It's probably from an ambitious, rogue cabinet minister with an axe to grind, or a dirty trickster with a grudge against Trudeau. And it is SO OBVIOUSLY THE EQUIVALENT of what the "Crooked Hillary" meme was all about in 2016.

It's right out of the Republican playbook. The Cons share American advisors and are cribbing from GOP tactics because they saw that it worked and want to replicate the results in Canada. And those polls are proof enough that the Cons needed something desperate to hang Trudeau with. Just like "Crooked Hillary." Now it's "Crooked Justin." Already we're hearing the chorus of "Lock Him Up." Just like "Build That Pipe" aka "Build That Wall." Soon he'll be accused of having Satanic spirit cooking rituals at a pizza restaurant. No matter the facts, the narrative got enough Bernie-or-bust fauxgressives to believe that she was the She-Wolf of Wall Street and condemn the US to a REAL crook because they weren't going to "hold their nose" and cast their ballot for someone who was so "impure." Which I'm sure is the goal for the NDP.

That you don't see what's going on here is proof of your own blinders. That's the only evidence of anything we have. It's Trughazi! She cooperated in good faith and so is he. But that's not good enough. That's never good enough. Not the Liberals' fault that no one expected the Hamish inquisition. You'd rather have a PM Scheer because Justin is soooooo awful and sooooo "out of touch." You're not going to get a PM Singh or a PM Cullen, so you'd rather punish the whole country with something far worse.

And for a big pile of NOTHING. No evidence, no on-the-record allegations -- just sloppy semantics, specious rumors, and a jealous cabal of hacks who want to drum up ratings and subscriptions and make themselves look important in an election year. And bring down a government who makes THEM look bad.

You learned nothing from 2016 by design. Instead you're copying it. You put party before country, and to hell with everyone else. Shame on you. Shame on you all.

Jackie Blue said...

And why has Angry Tom been making the rounds again all over the bobblehead shows? Something tells me he never got over having his ass handed to him by Trudeau either. He was all set to move into 24 Sussex until he started going negative and tanked in the polls. Harper with a beard. Talk about "both parties are the same."

This whole thing reeks of a mean-girl setup concocted out of petty jealousy. Justin beat them all fair and square, so now they have to cheat to tear him down. And it looks as though they have a complicit mole in JWR who's willing to help them do it.

Fuck all of them. I don't engage with Bernie or Stein supporters anymore, and I don't doubt the NDP's betrayal will be forgotten soon in Canada if this rabid pile-on ends up burning down the Liberal government and leading to "Harper Jr." Especially not in Québec. Their motto, after all, is Je me souviens. "I remember." And I'm sure they will.

Anonymous said...

Yeah sure. Blinders?? Take a minute from your self righteous shrieking and conspiracy theory and go look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

Angry?? Again, go look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

I expect the corporate media to copy-paste from SNC-Lavalin's latest news releases, but it's really weird to see Simon do the same thing. SNC's been trying to whip Canadians into fearing huge job loses if the company and its execs are prosecuted.

Well, guess what? Two weeks ago, former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime pleaded guilty in the bribery scandal surrounding the construction of the McGill hospital in Montreal. He'll likely be joining former SNC-Lavalin exec Riadh Ben Aissa who's already serving a 51-month stretch in the pen.

The moral of the story is that a company is perfectly capable of carrying on under new management if its corrupt leaders are jailed. There's no need for DPAs that avoid holding individuals to account. Prosecuting and jailing criminal executives sends a much stronger message "pour encourager les autres." JW-R was on the right track in deciding to take the SNC Libya bribery case to trial over the pathetic mewling of the Lib leadership and their corporate cronies. But keep up the good work on behalf of Canada's 1% gorging themselves on government contracts, Simon.

hinofan said...

So lets get this straight.
Because of the "rule of law" Canada wants to prosecute, or defer prosecuting a company to save jobs, because that company's executives bribed officials of a regime that Canada, under Harper, has since helped destroy in violation of [U.N.] resolution 2625 (XXV): “no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State”.
Further Canada has been guilty of violating this same UN resolution more recently in Venezuela, under Trudeau's Liberals.
What do you call imposing sanctions that cause hardship to an economy and then offer humanitarian aid?
I knock you on the head and then offer a bandaid.
Does that make me a good guy or guilty of assault?
No wonder the Honourable Jody Raybold Wilson quit cabinet, she probably could not stand the smug hypocrisy and misplaced priorities.
Canada's foreign policy sucks and this SNC Lavalin affair is a cynical smokescreen to divert from Canada's illegal interference in Venezuela's internal affairs.
Chrystia Freeland should resign or be fired.

Jackie Blue said...

Don't talk to me about self-righteousness. All you Cons, or left-wing revolutionary purists no different from right-wingers, know how to do is slash and burn. Burn the country, burn up jobs, burn innocent people, and burn up a good man's reputation and career.

Go look in the mirror yourself. I bet you'll have no reflection because you have no soul.

Anonymous said...

SNC lobbied both the Liberals and Conservatives for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement. Lobbying is legal and it seems Scheer was on board as there wasn't a peep when the DPA was passed into law and no mention of his meeting with the president of SNC and what was discussed. My impression is that Scheer seemed somewhat confused when the story first broke but recovered with the fake spin that its illegal for the prime minister to discuss prosecution options with his appointed justice minister. Its likely it wasn't the Smearmonger that launched the story, but if not the Cons then who?
JWR made the decision to reject the DPA proposal and continue with the prosecution but her handling of this file as well as other files ( pipelines, aboriginal, ?? ) likely signaled that she was narrowly focused and refused to consider other equally legal but perhaps more appropriate options. She should have resigned instead of expecting the rest of the team to resign or commit political Hari-kari. With a little help from the propaganda machine it seems she expects her team to fall on the sword one way of the other. Hopefully that is not the case.
There is a lot to be said for sock puppet appointments to key political positions... bet Trudeau will verify there is at least one or two stings attached to any future appointments. An open independent thinking team player with persuasive communication skills to win the team over is a rare bird.

e.a.f. said...

The NDP's position as "player", even a minor one, in Quebec is fairly new. It wasn't until Jack Layton came along and the rest of the Parties weren't impressing the Quebecers. They were so disillusioned, one NDP candidate went to Vegas on vacation, didn't speak French, and still won. That was an anomaly. If the NDP looses all its seats in Quebec, they are back where they started from. No big deal. It will still be several decades before the NDP ever comes to office federally in Canada.

Outside of Quebec, SNC Lavalin isn't such a "wonder" company. You mention the name, and most either don't recognize it or they go, oh right the corrupt ones. Now in Quebec, they may be fine with that, the rest of the country not so much. SNC Lavalin may have "tried" to clean up their act, but really, who is going to believe it. the rot goes so deep, its part of the corporate culture, in my opinion.

Quebec may have a different view on corruption, given its history. yes, they had the inquiry, but did it deal with all the corruption?

Although none of us truly know what was said between Wilson-Raybould and Trudeau and may never know, for many it doesn't matter. Its just another case of Quebec corruption which needs to be weeded out.

The NDP failed to "reign in the rabid instincts of Nathan Cullen". OMG, I couldn't stop laughing. If that is some one's opinion, they need to adjust their meds. It some times happens that two parties on opposite sides of the fence do agree on one or two things. This may have been the case, but it is very doubtful Cullen "decided" to side with the Cons.

Lets remember this is politics. All the parties are in the fight of their lives in this election and its a no holds barred fight. Refeering to Nathan Cullen as "rabid" is simply old style leftist baiting. He is expressing his opinion and supporting his party. The NDP doesn't owe the Liberals anything, especially these days. One ought to remember Trudeau could have announced a bi election date way sooner than he did for Burnaby/Singh.

Most of this is just eastern drive shit. The east may have the highest population but there is another part of Canada, the west and we view a lot of things differently.

e.a.f. said...

A 9:47 pm. ya, you have a point there. Canada is not the U.S.A. AND although we know the Cons have used American political strategists, this is not like an American election. First of all we have at least 4 political parties in most provinces in Canada, Quebec, having another, making 5.

Jackie, too you it may be a big pile of nothing, but to Canadians, its a big something. We don't like corruption and its what caused Paul Martin to loose the electon and Harper to win. What has gone on needs to be cleared up. Most people I know don't think Trudeau is out of touch. Scheer is considered to be more out of touch than Trudeau. The other thing which may impact the election is the Ford effect. At the rate things are going, people will be afraid to vote for the Cons, because of ford. They don't want a re do of Ontario.

Our country, nor our democracy depends upon Justin Trudeau being P.M. Yes, it might be better if he were, but we did get through 9 years of Harper and we're still standing. My take on things, if this sticks to Trudeau, all he will wind up with is a minority government.

e.a.f. said...

Mulcair didn't loose because he was angry Tom, it was because the strategists made him likeable and not angry. When he was in Parliament going tong and nail at Harper and the Cons, his polls moved up. come election time, they wanted him to be nicer. that didn't work.

There is no NDP betrayal. The NDP and prior to that the CFF was a small political party. It did manage to become government in a number of provinces, but it was the west and once in Ontario. they are left of the Liberals and at one time were much more of a working person's party. This isn't like the American political system nor is the NDP like the Democrats. Quebec voted NDP more as a protest vote. Prior to Jack Layton, the best the NDP every did federally was under Broadbent.

Quebec may remember, but they always manage to know which side their bread is buttered on. they won't care what Trudeau does, as long as he delivers the goods. that has been Quebec's game for most of my adult life.

If the Liberals are complicit in any "game" with SNC lav., then you can expect most Liberal voters in other parts of Canada won't be voting NDP or Con. They'll vote Green. They are the party many Canadians now vote for to register a protest vote. this whole thing may result in Elizabeth May and the Greens picking up a few seats and that won't be a bad thing either. You'll note Elizabeth May hasn't said a word about any of this. Wise woman she is.

e.a.f. said...

hell the whole company could go under and the country would survive. It is after all only 9K and change jobs. Its a lot on one level, but B.C., back in the 1970s/80s were running with 15% to 30% unemployment as the forest industry took a huge hit. We survived. Alberta has lost around 100K jobs. they're still standing. Well perhaps more of a slant, but no province shrivels up and dies over the lose of one Company which has 9K and change employees in the province unless of course its in the Maritimes.

it would be easy to break up SNC Lavalin and the company could continue. A. 9:54 p.m. refers to the 1% gorging themselves on government contracts. Yes, there is a bit of that going around all over the country. One company may just have gotten too greedy and politics being politics..........

Anonymous said...

Jackie Blue just can’t accept that Trudeau isn’t the messiah she thinks he is.

Jackie Blue said...

A. 11:45 -- Wow, what a low blow. If you had to live under a fascist regime, you'd be an emotional basket case holding out for a sympathetic hero too. And yes I do stand with Justin Trudeau, and always will. I was "with her" and will forever be with her predecessor. But Barack Obama is gone. Hillary Clinton is gone. Emmanuel Macron is a lame duck. Angela Merkel put in her retirement papers. Brexit is a catastrophe. Trudeau and Trudeau's Canada is all that's left. Nobody wants Scheer's Canada, Harper's Canada, Trump's Canada. Except Scheer, Harper, and Trump.

So excuse me if I'm a little miffed and skeptical about the "righteousness" of an untrustworthy right-wing GOP North cult that has its own far worse skeletons right out in the open, and a corrupt media establishment with its own willful blinders as to the danger they pose, gleefully leading the charge -- based on flimsy hearsay -- to bring down one of the last remaining "good guys" in a world full of Salvinis and Bolsonaros on the march. Especially after three-and-a-half years of nothing but lies and even death threats directed at this man and his family. I witnessed this perpetual campaign of mudslinging, projection, double standards, and outright personal venom go on for eight years with Barack Obama, and you're damn right I'm angry about witnessing it with Justin Trudeau.

But you know something? If Canada doesn't want him, he is more than welcome to come to America and bring the whole family along. You have no idea how beloved he is around the world and especially in the shithole country to the south. We'll gladly waive our 3rd Amendment rights not to quarter a "security threat" and take him in as a "refugee" any day. And I'm not "sorry."

Anonymous said...

Jackie 10:59

Not a con nor a left wing revolutionary. I’ve voted Liberal, NDP, PC/CPC. Next time around it will be Green.

Meanwhile, given your reactions to my comments, it’s obvious you’re nothing more than a hardcore, rabid partisan who as far as you’re concerned, the Prime Minister can do no wrong. It would appear you have the party talking points down perfectly. Yes, that what all this is, some fake scandal cooked up in the back rooms of two parties in cahoots with each other and the media as a willing partner. Matter of fact, the resignation and the response by the government as far as a committee investigation are all scripted parts of this plot. But hey, stick with the self righteousness if it helps you sleep at night.

Meanwhile a shout out to e.a.f for his/her well written posts.

lagatta à montréal said...

Jackie, you don't live in Canada; you live in a shithole with tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee parties where everything even moderately to the left is marginalised. The NDP is not a revolutionary party; it is simply a social-democratic one. Its existence, and the relative strength of labour and social movements in Canada are why we have healthcare and your giant shithole doesn't, even though you have a higher GDP per habitant.

Hate and death threats should not be exerted against any political figure or any human (or other sentient) being for that matter. One can be critical without being a hater with a MAGA hat.

You talk about haters but you are pretty much a hater with respect to Bernie Sanders, who is the longest-serving independent senator in US history and one of the most serious advocates of the healthcare and other social programmes (such as affordable housing, in places where even middle-class workers such as teachers can't afford a flat or a modest bungalow). And fortunately there is a younger generation of democratic socialists behind him now.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 9:54

Has SNC completed ANY projects without massive corruption/bribery?

It's just scandal after scandal with this "company".

lagatta à montréal said...

The Bloc has gone all identitaire of late with its disgusting niqab=oil well ad, but in earlier times on social issues it was at least equally to the left as the NDP, if not more so. We all owe a great deal to Francine Lalonde, campaigning for assisted suicide while she was suffering from bone cancer. I remember her from the CSN. Quite a few of their members were trade unionists or from social movements, similar to NDP member profiles. The Bloc also deliberately sought allophone and other diverse members.

Anonymous said...

*sigh* It's times like this I really wish that my membership in the Ontario NDP didn't automatically come with Federal Membership because I have no freakin' clue what Jagmeet's doing.

I'd say if there's an underlying mistake that the NDP continue to make (and they make many), it's that they refuse to identify their enemies with any consistency. The Liberals merely disappoint me, but the Tories would sell me for a wooden nickel in a heartbeat. Yet they consistently focus all their ire on the government to the extent that they repeatedly lend political cover to the Tories. If they're trying to make a statement about the toxicity of corporate lobbying, then make that statement with a broader policy proposal that indicts both the Liberals and the Cons for their wealthy connections, don't let the Tories' propaganda machine let them look noble by comparison! Jeez, do you guys in charge have any political instincts? You don't gain from this! The Tories do!

And from what I've seen from Jagmeet in interviews, he really thinks it's just a matter of being more Trudeau than Trudeau in terms of the touchy-feely stuff. Jag, buddy, it's not happening. Take a page from AOC south of the border and run on the stuff the matters: challenging the late-stage capitalism we're all suffering from.

lagatta à montréal said...

I think we'd need Niki Ashton to take some pages from AOC.

RRH said...


You are absolutely 100% correct.

Anonymous said...

But it IS a faux scandal. As Neil, MacDonald points out, no law was broken, no money changed hands, and Wilson-Raybould had the last say and her decision was not overruled, but still, corruption, corruption, end of democracy, etc.

And now Philpott says it could have been prevented if Trudeau had apologized.

Anonymous said...

Prosecuting the company for a culture of criminal behaviour has some drawbacks which are unwise to ignore. First of all, the government could lose. Secondly, SNC might decide to split off a large part of its Canadian operations and relocate, and remove a pile of corporate and personal tax revenue from our government. Thirdly, all the uncertainty surrounding the prosecution will hurt the stockholders, including the Quebec pension plan, which is heavily invested in SNC.

The employees you refer to, Duhaime and Riadh Ben Aissa, are long gone from SNC, and are being prosecuted/punished for their crimes. Best to jail the crooks, and settle out of court with the corporation to minimize collateral damage.