To the editor:
In his column headlined Controversy brewing in Ottawa, MP Dan Albas has resorted to the old conservative trick of introducing inaccurate (or indeed wrong) and incomplete information.
He makes this statement: “In 2016, it was also revealed that SNC Lavalin had illegally donated close to $118,000 to various political parties. Of this $118,000, close to $110,000 was donated to the Liberal Party of Canada or various Liberal riding associations or candidates.”
Albas chose not to mention the following critical facts:
• It was the Liberals (under Chretien or Martin) and not the Conservatives, who introduced the law that made it illegal for companies and unions to donate to political parties;
• The so-called 2016 revelation related to donations made by employees of SNC between 2004 and 2011 at the suggestion of SNC. SNC reimbursed the employees through their expense system.
• The company acknowledged and accepted responsibility for these acts. There was no suggestion that the political parties could or should have known what was going on.
One can only assume that the Albas intent was to smear the Liberals by presenting an incomplete story that suggested that the Liberals were big offenders having received the largest share of the funds.
The Albas article also implies that the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) is a Liberal invention to protect SNC.
Two very simple facts:
• Many OECD countries have DPAs.
• The Harper Government had the original idea of introducing a DPA. Alas, like so many other things they never got around to doing anything about it.
So Albas has yet again chosen to either manipulate or mischaracterise facts or just not bothered to do a bit of fact checking.
Fact checking Albas is quite easy. It did not take me long to gather the facts for this letter.
The Albas, and indeed his party, seem to be incapable of fact checking or, worse still, deliberately misrepresent information, should be a concern to all voters.
The environment in which international engineering companies find themselves operating is highly competitive and complex with, in some circumstances, ethical challenges.
It is also true that overseas contracts are a source of profits and many thousands of jobs. For whatever reason, SNC appears to have been “accident prone” and has not conducted itself in the most intelligent of ways over a number of years.
It is time to promote, and indeed facilitate, the creation of a second major international contracting company in Canada.
It should not be based in Quebec and ideally could be based in the West.
Quite how this is to be achieved is not clear to me but one proposal should be to stop SNC acquiring other Canadian engineering companies for a period of time and for the Export Develop Corporation to come up with a program to encourage the development of a new contracting and engineering company.