Stunning news this morning in the business world.
Gwyn Morgan, chairman of the board of SNC Lavalin, will be stepping down following the 2013 AGM in May : http://www.snclavalin.com/news.php?lang=en&id=2055&action=press_release_details
In addition, three more directors will be replaced : David Goldman, Pierre H. Lessard and Edythe A. Marcoux.
This comes following recent revelations and allegations during Quebec’s anti-corruption Charbonneau Commission that SNC Lavalin executives financed political parties and activities in exchange for contracts.
Gwyn Morgan has maintained a long relationship with the BC Liberal government via his positions with EnCana and SNC Lavalin.
A history touched on in this older article from the Financial Post:
Back in the fall of 2003, Gwyn Morgan was the chief executive of Encana Corp. when he phoned the Liberal premier of British Columbia with news that a big cheque was on its way.
The government of Gordon Campbell had just implemented major reforms to encourage oil and gas investment, providing Calgary-based Encana with the right political foundation to make a huge bet on Cutbank Ridge, the natural gas shale play that eventually grew into one of North America’s largest.
“Mr. Premier, you are going to have some $400-million more in your treasury tomorrow than yesterday,” the founder of Encana recalls telling the politician after the company revealed itself as the main buyer in one of the richest oil and gas rights auctions in the province’s history.
“You and your government can take this as an endorsement of your policies,” Mr. Morgan said.
And of course, billions more slid in after that.
Mr. Morgan is just as committed to nurturing a pro-business environment in the province.
That’s one of the reasons he said he got involved in B.C. politics, supporting Christy Clark’s bid to succeed Mr. Campbell as the province’s premier, which she won in February. An expert on business, finance and energy, Mr. Morgan then served on Ms. Clark’s transition team and remains engaged, although he said his role is not official at this point.
The point is that we see the damage that was done by the NDP for so long, and you can spend decades building wonderful structure of some sort, but you could tear it down very quickly. The province is still recovering from those things, even though it’s 10 years later. So, first and foremost, I felt that Christy had the best chance of keeping the province from going socialist in the next election.”
The relationship with Ms. Clark allowed Mr. Morgan to continue to help shape public policy at a time the province has never been so crucial to the Canadian energy sector, which needs to build new infrastructure through B.C. to reach new customers in Asia.
Read the rest of this insightful article here: http://business.financialpost.com/2011/04/25/capitalist-among-socialists/?__lsa=875d-ac35
First, in my opinion, Gwyn Morgan has had no business assisting in shaping or influencing public policy in BC at all, nor advising our premier in any form while having active contracts and pursuing new ones via SNC Lavalin or EnCana.
As a keen observer of the Charbonneau Commission, which one can watch live if you can speak French, it is my opinion this latest move is designed to deflect any further examination of the companies activities beyond the jurisdiction of Quebec, as it has already been stated that the Commission can not act outside the province.
While corporate and personal donations of large amounts to political parties are not illegal in BC – they should be in my opinion- it is not unreasonable to ask if the same ‘favours’ are expected from those donors here, as were expected in Quebec.
In Quebec’s commission, it was revealed that not only executives were donating, but also spouses in order to fly under the radar of laws limiting political contributions. ie, ‘We fund you, you give us preferred contracts.’
As I have chronicled on this site many times,most recently in this post when EnCana’s name popped up yet again with relation to the Pacific Carbon Trust, the relationship of Gwyn Morgan with the BC liberals is via EnCana and SNC Lavalin, is one worthy of examination – and I have examined it well, here : http://lailayuile.com/2013/03/27/auditor-generals-long-awaited-report-on-pacific-carbon-trust-finally-released-and-surprise-surprise-there-are-big-problems-all-around/
And here, the continuing relationship of Gwyn Morgan, SNC Lavalin and the new premier, Christy Clark : http://lailayuile.com/2013/02/11/friends-helping-friends-the-story-of-how-the-bc-liberal-snclavalin-connection-persists-with-christy-clark/
And even here, examining the activities of SNC Lavalin, and the persistent denials of any unethical activities by their company by former SNC head Pierre Duhaime, who has now been formally charged with fraud.
Interestingly enough,it was in that last post that former SNC head Pierre Duhaime revealed his hand for the world to see:
Last year, in what I considered an odd reaction, the head of SNC, Pierre Duhaime, reacted publicly to a report on corruption and organized crime in Quebec’s construction industry, even stating that while the allegations were troubling, they did not warrant a public inquiry…
“Duhaime didn’t want to question the author’s credibility, but said most of the information came from anonymous sources.He said the measures taken by the Quebec government were sufficient to counter corruption.
He insisted the system of collusion described in the report does not affect SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) which has “zero tolerance” for ethical misdeeds. Duhaime acknowledged, however, that SNC-Lavalin is currently investigating allegations of corruption concerning a project in Bangladesh. The RCMP recently conducted a search of SNC offices in Ontario in connection with this matter.”
A clear cut case of ‘He doth protest too much.’ Considering the allegations from Quebec in recent weeks, it is no wonder he didn’t want a public inquiry.
The question now is, will the departure of Gwyn Morgan and the three directors quell further examination of the companies vested interests in projects across Canada?
Or will it prompt more, particularly here in British Columbia where Morgan is on the record of being involved in both shaping and influencing pubic policy,and financially supporting the Liberal government and Christy Clark personally to further achieve the business environment both SNC Lavalin and EnCana profit from.
Time again to re-visit the top post of 2012 here on LailaYuile.com, which contains a copy of the Public Safety report on Corruption in Construction that also examinations the likelihood of corruption within the BC’s construction and infrastructure industry….
Read it again if you need a reminder, and ask yourself why so few people questioned and contacted in BC wanted to talk about the issue at all :