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ISSUES IN THE NEWS


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Copyright Pegasus Publications Inc. The SNC-Lavalin affair continues to unravel.


way or another, the government will have explained it all away by saying that what they did was in the interest of the “greater good”. In this case, the greater good being the fate of SNC-Lavalin. Without going too deeply into the boring details of legislation that allows bureaucrats to negotiate a “remediation agreement”, it essentially paves the way to reduce what- ever penalty may have been assessed on a company’s transgression, in this case, brib- ery in another country. The penalty was a 10-year ban from bidding on Canadian government work. The changes to the law were heavily lobbied for by – you guessed it, SNC-Lavalin, who began their efforts back in 2015.


B The question arises: When is it okay, or


is it ever okay, to basically turn a blind eye to a criminal act if the corporation (or the individual) is “too big to fail” (or jail)? Defenders of the pressure put on the


Dorothy Dobbie


former Attorney General will surely argue that they were merely trying to preserve 9,000 jobs in Quebec, plus save from harm all the other suppliers and innocent bystanders the penalization of SNC-Lavalin would have affected. This is a sort or Robin Hood theory of government: It is okay to steal as long as you give the proceeds to the poor. But is it? I would argue, no. There are many reasons for this,


among them the fact that the perpetrators did not do what they did to benefit anyone but themselves. But more than that, you cannot have two sets of morality. Either bribery (not to mention all the other things the folks at Lavalin have been accused of doing over the past decade and a half) is wrong or it is not wrong. It cannot be wrong for some but not for others.


y the time you read this, the issue will have passed over our heads like a distant, fuzzy cloud. Jody Wil- son–Raybould will have told her truth and, one


To allow the law that the Liberals passed to stand is to slip the thin edge of the wedge into the rule of law that Canada prides itself on upholding.


The defenders will also say that Canada is just doing what some other countries have already adopted. As the Toronto Star put it in defending SNC-Lavalin and the Prime Minister, “The DPA is a legisla- tive tool, long available in the United States and Britain, to be used when an organiza- tion is charged with an economic crime and where the consequences of proceeding with the prosecution could cause major job loss, harm pensioners, or even trigger an eco- nomic downturn on a national or interna- tional scale.” The premise, we are told, behind asking


Wilson-Raybould to invoke the DPA (de- ferred prosecution agreement) is that to punishing SNC-Lavalin will have dire con- sequences for thousands. This is simply non- sense. SNC-Lavalin is an engineering firm. Its assets are people. If there is need for en- gineering services, the very same people can supply those needs simply by reorganizing


under a different corporate structure or by working for another firm. There will be some disruption, certainly a few corporate execs may be indisposed or maybe even by deposed, but few jobs will be “lost” and the suppliers will just as quickly supply the new entities. I am not trying to be righteous or pretend to a greater


virtue, here. I am sure any government would have been tempted to succumb to the persuasions of this power- ful company, their money and the honey-tongued and high-priced lobbyists. I am just pointing out that simple reason dictates that there can only be one law. That thin edge of the wedge mentioned above can crack open a dangerous Pandora’s Box of exceptions that could quit quickly destroy the rule of law that we live under.


Gillian Aldous Podiatry


Podiatry treatments available Monday to Friday in the office, home visits arranged:


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Is the “greater good” a valid reason to let SNC-Lavalin escape prosecution for financial crimes?


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