Canada’s SNC Lavalin bribery scandal strikes at the heart of the legitimacy of capitalism operating presumptively under the rule of law. It also strikes at the foundations of credible accountability—read honesty and lawful conduct—in the office of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
It’s been common knowledge for years that SNC Lavalin engaged in corrupt practices, both at home and abroad. The immediate focus is the company’s payment of $48 million in bribes to secure contracts in Libya. It’s not just Canada that has laws against paying bribes to foreigners. The World Bank barred SNC Lavalin from its contracts for ten years because of the company’s corruption in Bangladesh. There was also bribery at home. They paid $2.3 million to Michel Fournier, former head of the Federal Bridge Corporation, in relation to a $127 million contract to upgrade the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal. Recently, he pleaded guilty. Chief financial officer Pierre Duhaime also pleaded guilty to breach of trust in the bribery case arising from construction of Montreal’s $1.3 billion McGill University hospital project. The company paid illegal contributions almost entirely to the Liberals in the last general election. The list goes on.