Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The SNC-Lavalin "Non-Scandal"

Just so we're clear: The "Deferred Prosecutions Agreements" thing was quietly slipped into a Liberal omnibus bill and received no public scrutiny. DPA's were desired by SNC-Lavalin:

There, a giant engineering multinational — SNC Lavalin — is engaged in a campaign to import deferred agreements into Canada.
Well, for one thing, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has charged the SNC Lavalin and a number of its former executives with corruption.
If convicted, SNC Lavalin would be barred from government contracts.
What is such a multinational to do?
Do what American corporations did when faced with criminal prosecution.
Change the game so that instead of forcing a company to plead guilty to crime, the company instead could enter into a deferred prosecution agreement.
Under a deferred prosecution agreement, the company is charged with a crime, but the charge is deferred for a period of years. If the company pays the fine and implements certain compliance programs, then the criminal charge is dropped.
Corporations don’t mind paying fines. They don’t mind compliance programs. But they don’t like pleading guilty. They don’t like pleading guilty because a guilty plea has a certain reputational stain that a deferred prosecution agreement doesn’t.
And if found guilty, there is the possibility of probation. And then a judge is involved. And then a judge can sentence the company to do all sorts of things while on probation — like for example, take out advertisements in newspapers and on television telling the world about its criminal activity and the damage it caused.
SNC Lavalin doesn’t want to face any of that and in particular, being the largest engineering firm in Canada, they surely don’t want to be barred as a corporate criminal from government contracts.
So, the company has launched a public campaign for Canada to adopt deferred prosecution agreements.
But DPA's weren't automatic. Certain factors were not relevant as to whether the state pursued a DPA rather than criminal prosecution. Among them:
But SNC-Lavalin didn’t get everything it wanted. Despite its extensive lobbying efforts, the law ended up including a section barring prosecutors from considering the national economic interest when they consider offering deferred prosecution to companies accused of bribing foreign officials....SNC also hoped the bill would allow prosecutors to consider DPAs if prosecution would lead to “substantive economic/commercial damage to the organization,” as well as “lower revenues from debarment by governments and/or exclusion by key clients, impairment of competition in contested markets, negative impacts on the Canadian supply chain, negative impact on governments’ procurement, defence and infrastructure markets, and substantive redundancies of innocent personnel.”
The law does give prosecutors latitude to consider the national economic interest in their deliberations. But the legislative summary for Bill C-74 makes clear that prosecutors can only do so in cases that don’t involve bribery of foreign officials, which is exactly what SNC stands accused of doing.
Got that? (Bonus read here and here.) And it was CANADA that was getting a bad international reputation for being the home of SNC-Lavalin and other corporate scofflaws. Elsewhere in one of those links yeez all can find out that the decision to prosecute is up to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The DPP can be overruled by the Attorney-General but this has to be done with public notification and with an explanation.

So, according to Michael Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council, PM Trudeau asked Wilson-Raybould what she was planning to do about SNC-Lavalin's request for a DPA. He said the decision was hers, and hers alone. Then someone from the PMO asked her about it the next day. Not long after, Wernick himself spoke with her and [irrelevantly] reminded her of the likely economic consequences of SNC-Lavalin being found guilty of corruption charges.

Nope. No pressure. Because, you see, unless Wernick grabbed Wilson-Raybould by the throat and pressed her against the wall and said: "Listen bitch! You ease up on SNC-Lavalin or you're out of a fucking job! Capisce!?! ... then there was no pressure.

And the fact that she was demoted afterwards? Well that's easily explained! She was incompetent! Some Liberal shills said so! And in this context, well, that's enough for Montreal Simon! You see, in this context, there is absolutely no possibility that a Liberal hack would try to smear Wilson-Raybould.  I see nothing wrong with accepting the official government story at face-value and moving on as if all is right with the world.

It's just like Wernick said in his testimony about how political animosities have gone beyond incivility to outright violent threats. People are losing faith in the system!

Uh, ... Earth Wernick: Canadians have lost faith in the system because the system is rigged and corrupt. stephen harper failed every test of the minimum of democratic accountability and integrity and our corporate media endorsed him. Criminal scum like the Westons and the Thompsons engage in brazen daylight thefts and our "justice system" falls all over itself pretending not to see and doing everything it can to help them avoid consequences. Then, when a firm like SNC-Lavalin takes its sense of entitlement out into the world and brings international opprobrium down upon us, then Dreamy Justin Trudeau inserts a DPA clause into a massive omnibus bill, but SNC-Lavalin is so fucking corrupt that it still can't avoid prosecution and so lobbies hard to have the decision to prosecute overturned and then the Attorney-General who refuses to do this is demoted and, well, there's nothing to see here! It's a "non-scandal" just because Dreamy Justin Trudeau says so.

But Wernick is right about the dangerous levels of violent rhetoric being employed. The stupid people are angry. And "conservative" parties know that they can offer them nothing to remedy the situation other than tax-cuts which leave a little more money in the pockets of ordinary people [at least at first] and a LOT more money in the pockets of the rich. And leaving more money to the rich was and is the whole point of the tax-cuts obsession anyway. Knowing they can't and won't do anything for their shlub voting base, these cynical assholes/scumbag "conservatives" stoke their anger towards the poor, immigrants, minorities and "libtards."

And so Canada gets to treat itself to the sight of dozens of "yellow-vest" racist idiots holding signs calling for the murder of Justin Trudeau. And nazi idiot/truck-stop beauty queen Faith Goldy speaks to them, and then Christo-fascist Howdy-Doody impersonator Andrew Scheer waddles out and says he loves them.

Neo-liberalism is fucking us all over. And our voting-age demographic appears happy to divide itself mainly between the neo-liberal Liberals who refuse to tolerate bigotry from anyone, including from among the majority of the people who they're fucking over; and the Conservatives who encourage bigotry because it distracts people from who's fucking them over. (Not that I hold any great hopes n' dreams with the NDP or the Greens by this point.)

But Montreal Simon keeps calling the SNC-Lavalin thing a "non-scandal." In that he sounds just like the harpercon apologists. Abusing the power of prorogation to avoid a vote of non-confidence? Not a scandal! Abusing the power of prorogation to avoid investigation into the abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan? Not a scandal! Abusing the defence of "national security" to cover-up the abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan? Not a scandal! Stealing an election? Non-scandal! Prove it fuck-heads! Duffygate? Not a scandal!

Yep. The repulsive era of stephen harper was just one non-scandal after another. At least to hear "conservatives" blather on about it.

And, before I go: Just who the fuck is this "Jackie Blue" idiot? "She" is pretending to be a US-American Hillary-bot who claims to be too fucking stupid to understand that Hillary Clinton was a shitty candidate who discouraged Democratic voters from coming out to vote for her. And, as a US-American citizen, she [?] has a detailed, encyclopedic knowledge of current Canadian politics and comments daily, at length on a Canadian blog.

The whole thing seems farcical. It sounds like something a paid Liberal hack would think up.

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