Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Kernel of Rotten Truth at the Centre of the SNC Lavalin Scandal

Michael Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council

Here are snippets from a very cogent post written by Dan Donovan and published in  Please read and I will have more comments to follow:
"....Desperate to avoid being held accountable for their alleged criminal activity, SNC hired Kevin Lynch in December 2017. Lynch is a former Clerk of the Privy Council (2006-2009), Secretary to the Cabinet, and Head of the Public Service of Canada as their new Chairman. Elected as Director and appointed as Vice-Chairman in May 2017, Lynch had been Vice-Chair of BMO Financial Group since leaving government in 2010. He still serves on the BMO Board. Mr. Lynch is neither a contractor, engineer, nor construction worker, but he is familiar with how government works and how laws are made. Canada's former highest “public servant”—generously paid and pensioned off by taxpayers after a 33-year career—was now one of the key executives running SNC-Lavalin.
Lynch had decades of expertise and a large network of contacts, and as the new Chair of SNC-Lavalin, he saw it fit to use his experience to lobby senior government Ministers and officials to pass DPA legislation. Lynch was not breaking any laws in doing the bidding for SNC. However, the ethics of Canada former "top civil servant " becoming the main maestro and strategist for a criminally convicted firm that was now lobbying government of Canada officials is another matter entirely. Working with SNC’s executive team and other lobbyists, a two-step process was devised to ensure SNC could avoid a criminal conviction in Canada. First, they would lobby the government to pass a DPA law. Then, SNC would utilize the DPA legislation to avoid criminal prosecution and potential jail time by paying a fine. Lynch and other Ottawa lobbyists (two of whom were key advisors to previous Prime Ministers) persuaded influential Trudeau Ministers to support DPAs under the ruse that by doing so they were protecting the jobs of innocent employees of SNC who might be affected by the fraud of company executives. Doing this, they said, was quite normal. Similar types of remediation agreement legislation had been passed in the United States, France, Brazil and Great Britain after the 2008 financial crisis. Interestingly, the only key Minister they did not lobby was Jody Wilson-Raybould, the Attorney General and Justice Minister of Canada.....

"...The lobbyist registry stated the reason for all these meetings was “justice and law enforcement.” However, Lynch and the SNC lobbyists never met with Wilson-Raybould or anyone from the Department of Justice. They were using their Deep State influence to do an end run on the Attorney General of Canada. It is not known whether or not SNC Chairman and Former Clerk of the Privy Council Kevin Lynch and current Clerk of the Privy Council Office Michael Wernick had any private one-on-one conversations or phone conversations related to SNC. [NOTE:  YES THEY HAD ONE TELEPHONE CONVERSATION LAST OCTOBER!]  Most troubling of all is Wernick’s admission that he tried to convince Attorney General Wilson-Raybould to support a DPA for SNC. Wilson-Raybould told the Justice committee that Michael Wernick, the clerk of the privy council, said “there is a board meeting on [Sept. 20] with stock holders” and warned that the company “will likely be moving to London” without an intervention. Incredulously Wernick and Finance Minister Bill Morneau could not produce one document to verify the veracity of any of that claim. They apparently did not consider that this was a veiled threat by SNC to get their way. The idea that SNC would move its corporate office to London England in the middle of the Brexit crisis is beyond absurd. Trudeau himself made the same claims without any evidence, stressing that he represents an electoral district in Quebec where SNC employs people.However he too could cite no proof or evidence to support SNC was moving. SNC employs about 9,000 people in Canada and has expressed publicly that it’s looking to relocate. Neil Bruce, chief executive of SNC, was quoted in a fourth-quarter conference call on February 22 saying the exact opposite “We've got plenty of opportunities to grow the business, outside of Canada. But also we are committed to the Canadian market and to our Canadian employees as well.” Further, SNC has a number of legal and commercial agreements that require it to stay in Montreal until at least 2023. So the whole "moving thing" was a ploy that Wernick and Trudeau fell for hook, line and sinker. Many questioned why Wernick, Canada’s most senior “public servant” and Finance Minister Bill Morneau were so intimately involved in shilling for a large corporation without at least doing some basic due diligence. Wernick told the Justice Committee that he raised concerns about SNC having an impact on the Quebec elections—which is absolutely none of his business as the “apolitical” Clerk....


"...The SNC-Lavalin affair raises several governance and ethical issues that strike at the heart of Canada's democracy. More importantly, the scandal raises questions about the actions and integrity of some of Canada's most senior public servants and elected officials:
1. Why was the Clerk of the Privy Council, Canada's top public servant, Michael Wernick so personally engaged in a lobbying process to get SNC a DPA?
2. Why didn’t the Commissioner of Lobbying take notice of the 80 meetings and inquire as to the efficacy of these meetings?
3. How is it possible that the two key government MPs on the Finance Committee including the Chairman, Liberal MP Wayne Easter did not know that new DPAs legislation that would dramatically change Canada’s laws with regards to corporate fraud and corruption had been included in the budget bill?.
4. Why did the Chair of the House of Commons Finance Committee Wayne Easter vote for DPA's in the budget bill after he raised concerns about the ethicality of these agreements being put in a budget bill?
5. Why did the Justice committee not review the DPA legislation in an open and transparent manner before it was passed?
6. Why and when did lobbyists meet with the then-President of the Treasury Board, Scott Brison, in this matter? Did Kevin Lynch promise Scott Brison anything for supporting DPAs? Brison resigned from cabinet in his role as Treasury Board President in February 2019 to “spend more time with his family,” yet within weeks, he announced that he had taken a new job as vice-chair of investment and corporate banking with the Bank of Montreal. Kevin Lynch is on the Board of Directors at the Bank of Montreal.
7. Has the Commissioner for Lobbying or the Ethics Commissioner at the House of Commons asked to see records of all correspondence, calls and meetings between Kevin Lynch and Scott Brison between 2016-2019? If not, why haven’t they requested this information?
8. Why did SNC press for a DPA for economic reasons when the legislation explicitly states that job dislocation is not a qualifying reason to obtain a DPA?
9. Why did SNC Lavalin representatives report meeting for lobbying communications on “justice and law enforcement,” with Canada’s ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton on Oct.17 and Nov.7, 2018? Before being named US Ambassador, Mr. MacNaughton was the Chairman of StrategyCorp, a communications, public affairs and lobbying company in Ottawa. What was discussed at the meetings with MacNaughton, and did he push for the DPA for SNC with the PM and PMO? If so, why? Was he acting in his role as Ambassador or in some other capacity? The real point is—why is Canada's Ambassador to the United States involved in helping SNC at all?
10. Why were Prime Minister Trudeau, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Principal Secretary Gerald Butts, PMO Chief of Staff Katie Telfer, and Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick — all non-lawyers pressuring the Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada to interfere in a criminal case?
Greencrow says:  The formatting problems with Blogger seem to have resolved themselves and I thank readers for their patience. IMO, the above snippet from a longer post by Ottawa blogger Dan Donovan is but a small kernel of truth amidst all the smoke, mirrors and obfuscation we've seen lately from Ottawa politicians and beaureaucrats regarding the SNC Lavalin scandal. The old boyz in backroom Deep State Ottawa knew they couldn't get their shyster DPA scheme past Attorney General/Minister of Justice Jody Wilson Raybould.  So they avoided "lobbying" her altogether. This is how politics really works, folks.  "End runs" being the order of the day.  

No matter how Trudeau/Butts/Wernick try to spin it, there was absolutely NO valid reason to demote JWR from her position at Justice.  Logic dictates that they did it to push through, not only the SNC Lavalin Corruption, but several other "sticky wicket" files that JWR was juggling, including the Meng Wangzhou extradition and, now, her lawsuit of the Federal Gov re her arrest.  And I will repeat my hope that perhaps JWR was motivated to find out what monstrous systemic evil lies behind the serial "Travesties of Justice" that Canadians have had to shell out millions of taxpayer dollars for in the past decade or so...including the Nuttall/Korody case, the Mahar Arar and Omar Khadr false tortures and imprisonments--and several other similar atrocities.

In the end, Trudeau and his ilk decided that JWR was too squeaky clean to hold the so-called "Justice" portfolio.  I note that Andrew Scheer is still calling for Trudeau's resignation and while I agree with this call...I now believe it will take a few more caucus/cabinet resignations before that happens.  Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

According to my linked article Freeland is to replace Trudeau, and Larry Summers and Freeland are 'old friends'. A good read, did you like the morning snow ?

greencrow said...

Hi Anonymous:

I read your post and, while I have grave doubts about the entire space exploration arena because NASA is such a liar...I found your arguments about the Belt and Road initiative much more compelling. As my past posts on this topic attest, I have always been a supporter of the Belt and Road extension to North America. I have said many, many times that this would be a great empowerment for our northern indigenous First Nations. I think that Harper and then Trudeau's dismissing of Russia's extended hand of friendship regarding northern development is nothing short of grave governmental negligence [which we've seen far too much of lately].

And yes, the morning snow was surprising and kept me in all day. : (


Penny said...

Hey Greencrow:

this whole DPA thing looked to have had all three parties involved in getting it done..

Lobbying the opposition

Around this time, SNC Lavalin broadened its lobbying efforts again. The budget bill was tabled but it still needed to pass through the House and the Senate.

So the company secured meetings with officials in Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's office, with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and top senators — including Peter Harder, the government's representative in the Senate. Once again, the topic listed in the lobbyist registry was 'justice and law enforcement'.

The budget bill passed through Parliament and was given royal assent on June 21, 2018, making DPAs a viable legal option in Canada. Step one in SNC Lavalin's efforts to save itself had been successful.

Step two would be to secure a DPA for itself. That would prove to be more difficult.

So SNC lobbied all the parties. It seems with success so it's pretty hypocritical or politics as usual for Scheer to be demanding Trudeau's resignation etc. Singh seems to be relatively quiet (or ignored by the media?)
The fact that DPAs were made a legal option in Canada last year means Trudeau wouldn't have done anything illegal in trying to have one applied to SNC- since DPA's were made legal..

This is looking like the beginning of the next election campaign.

Penny said...

You had snow?
It's frigid here for this time of year
Got up to -18 C or -1F- Two weeks till spring?

greencrow said...

Hi Penny:

Even though DPA's were legal and SNC Lavalin had the right to apply for one, it turns out it did NOT meet the minimum requirements for a DPA and so the Department of Prosecutions sent it a formal letter saying it did not meet requirements and the trial was going ahead. That was in early September, 2018. After the letter was sent, the PMO started asking JWR to convince the Dept. of Prosecutions to change its mind. She said she considered the idea and the answer was NO. Any efforts to convince her/them after that point could be considered interference. Interference in a judicial procedure USED to be a major scandal...apparently now they're making it so that it's just bidness as usual.

Yes, we had what they called a "Thunder Snow" yesterday and last night. Tons of wet, slushy snow. Weird weather for March in these parts. Usually it's just rain at this time of year.