“Moral hazard is when they take your money and then are not responsible for what they do with it.”~ Gordon Gekko

I loved the movie Wall Street. Loved it. It is a great look at human behavior and character. Money, greed, power… choose your evil – I’m talking about the original  1987 movie of course, never did see the more recent release since nothing could have beat the first.

One of my favourite scenes from the movie is when Gordon Gekko( Michael Douglas) begins his education of young broker Bud Fox( pre-crazy Charlie Sheen) and tells him this:

 “The richest one percent of this country owns half our country’s wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It’s bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you’re not naive enough to think we’re living in a democracy, are you buddy? It’s the free market. And you’re a part of it. You’ve got that killer instinct. Stick around pal, I’ve still got a lot to teach you. “

Ahhhh, brilliant, isn’t it? So true. And I’ve seen enough not to be naive to think we are living in a democracy anymore as well. On that note,let me introduce to you, SNC-Lavalin

Long time readers will be very familiar with the name because of the close relationship they have fostered with the governing BC liberals for years, via a number of projects around the province. In picking apart these deals, it’s been clear that SNC is a preferred bidder of the provincial government even before the tendering process starts.

With the news that SNC is now the target of a proposed class action lawsuit on behalf of investors, the company and it’s directors are again in the spotlight.

This is not the first time the business practices of SNC Lavalin have been called into question –  in fact there have been a number of allegations that have dogged the engineering empire for some time. 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.”

The matter to which the RCMP raided the offices of SNC, is one of great concern to many in Bangladesh, where the World Bank initiated an investigation into allegations of corruption in the bidding process for the construction of a bridge. This Wall Street Journal article details that concern:

“A World Bank spokesman said RCMP executed search warrants in “several locations” following a referral by the Bank’s anti-graft unit, which is investigating allegations of corruption in the bidding processes for the Padma Bridge Project in Bangladesh.

The World Bank signed a deal in April to lend $1.2 billion to Bangladesh to build the four-mile bridge over the river Padma. The bridge will link Bangladesh’s underdeveloped south with the capital, Dhaka, and the country’s main port, Chittagong. Once completed, it would be the largest bridge in the country.

“We have been informed that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is investigating employees of SNC-Lavalin for violations of Canadian law,” the World Bank spokesman said. “We commend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for its robust response to the World Bank referral and look forward to the outcome of its investigation.”

I could go on. There is the scandalous saga in Kerala India with SNC Lavalin, documented with BC Mary like dedication at this site, and reported in detail here at the Indian Times .

However, the best compilation of everything we love to hate about SNC Lavalin is undoubtedly at this absolutely-must-read-immediately link http://retasite.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/reta-bourque-newswatch-art-sept-6-2011.pdf

This is not a question merely of ethics, in many instances the allegations are of criminal activity. And considering that during the Campbell era, 90% of SNC’s international transportation divisions activities were projects in BC, perhaps it is time to take a very close look at every aspect of those projects.

Here is where I thank Phil for rounding them all up together so I don’t have to go back and forth between this post and older ones… ( hats off to you!!)

“SNC Lavalin’s subsidiary Profac profits greatly from government service contracts and has been in the news for questionable invoices:



Canada Line stations General Contractor was SNC Lavalin Profac.

And of course SNC’s InTransit BC and its partners Caisse de Depot, BC Investment Management Corp were awarded a 35 year contract by CLCO and Translink to design, build, finance and operate the Canada Line.

SNC’s InTransit BC then contracted out the operations and maintenance of the Canada Line to another SNC Lavalin…Protrans.

Protrans subsidiary Protrans WRB Bridge operates and maintains the William R. Bennet Bridge in Kelowna.  Protrans WRB Bridge is owned by SNC Lavalin.

BC Investment Management Corporation, which manages pension funds from BC’s government employees unions, has more than $100 million invested in SNC Lavalin.

Other SNC Lavalin BC projects involvement: Sea to Sky Highway, Airport Connector, Coast Meridian Overpass

SNC Lavalin Chair, Board of Directors, is none other than Gwyn Morgan, one of Premier Christy Clark’s advisors

Yes indeed, despite having a direct benefit from being a director and chairman of the board of SNC Lavalin, Christy Clark chose Gywn Morgan as her strategic advisor when becoming our unelected premier.  Or perhaps, did Gwyn choose Christy ? To me, this is not even a perception of conflict of interest, but a very real one.

Either way, over at Rail for the Valley, they are asking some very serious questions today about why a proposed project for Victoria is so high here, considering the cost to build the same kind of LRT in France was far less. It was revealed that none other than SNC Lavalin conducted the initial cost study, which might explain a lot.  And they have posed some very serious questions that certainly demand some answer from our premier:

Three important questions must be asked:

  1. “Is Premier Christie top adviser Clark’s Gwyn Morgan (who also donated $10,000.00 to Ms. Clark’s Leadership campaign), also a director on the SNC/Lavalin Board?
  2. If the answer is yes; “Is the Premier’s close relationship with Mr. Morgan, is giving the green light for SNC Lavalin to grossly over-engineer Victoria’s proposed LRT?
  3. If the answer is yes; “Is the BC Government allowing SNC Lavalin to reap huge profits from the BC Taxpayer by deliberately over engineering transit projects in BC, such as Victoria’s proposed LRT and or SkyTrain light-metro in Vancouver?

I have some serious questions as well, because of the similarity between how SNC  has approached projects in BC -many of which are P3’s – and how Macquarie has set up deals, using the now infamous ‘ Macquarie Model’.

The Macquarie model is all about making deals, most often with governments, that produces fee’s, fee’s and more fee’s. And Campbell’s government loved it.

From the Power Index:

 “…specialty was infrastructure deals, in which Macquarie would finance and/or purchase roads, railways, ports and power stations and sell them on to Mac-run satellite funds. Using this model, Macquarie collected multimillion-dollar fees for buying the assets, multimillion dollar fees for selling them to the satellites (at a profit), and multimillion-dollar fees for managing them over the next 25 years (on contracts that couldn’t be broken). There were also performance fees if values went up, plus fees for advice. ( sound familiar? L.Y.)

In banking, they call this “clipping the ticket”. But Macquarie’s genius was to build the train to take punters for the ride”

And take us for a ride they did, us being the taxpayers in the end, of course. I will be bringing you a very telling presentation of that ride tomorrow as a follow-up.

And while SNC is still pocketing profits from deals made years ago, and undertakes to do more business in BC, the question of  Gwyn Morgan,chairman of the board of SNC Lavalin, having a close working relationship with our premier must be called into question – and examination – immediately.

But then again, maybe I am naïve enough to believe we still live in a democracy after all.

35 thoughts on ““Moral hazard is when they take your money and then are not responsible for what they do with it.”~ Gordon Gekko

  1. Brilliant research and writing!
    Thank you Laila. You are the best.
    Between convicted criminal Jaspal Singh Atwal, SNC Lavalin Chair Morgan and the Liquor Lobbyist Kinsella we must be close to the end. My sense is that if the BC Liberals are even going to be around to fight the next election they need to realize that they are approaching the point of no return and they need to immediately dump Clark.

    The Falcons and the Abbots of the world can’t allow this to continue to happen. By not standing up and doing the right thing they are condoning this behavior. The citizens of BC have seen what has happened here. It has gone from Bad to Worse. In my opinion, my personal prediction is that this will be Clark’s last week in office. The rest of the party cannot stand by and allow this to happen if they are to have any credibility come the next election. This is the worst kind of criminal collusion and corruption.

    Social media like Laila and others have revealed the Truth to the public and in doing so have sidestepped the elite media (why do we even call them MSM anymore when they refuse to report the facts that they see happeing right in front of them? What is Main Stream about that?). The sad truth is that as bad as Clark is she is simply symptomatic of the political rot throughout the system. Combine what we have happening in BC with what is happening at the federal level with 31,000 complaints to Elections Canada and you have to think that yes, Democracy has died in Canada and i guess we missed the obituary.
    By now most know the story about what happned when the Cons showed up and Clark won the BC Liberal leadership race and i am hearing more and more about what happens at the municipal level when there are no independant third party observers and the highly politicalized city halls are left to run their own elections. You have to wonder how late we really are to realizing what has been happeing for some time now. The great news is that we are in accelerated freefall, about to crash and the citizens can see what is really happening. Once we hit bottom and exploding i look forward to helping others build a new decocracy in BC that is all about what is right for the citizens of BC…ross


  2. It appears to me (after I managed to get my jaw put back in place) that SNC Postscript 11 is the most relevant to British Columbians right now. And although I’m happy to hear the RCMP are conducting an investigation on certain activities, I hope it doesn’t turn out like the B.C. Rail debacle.

    Gwyn Morgan is a very dangerous man. Christy Clark is surrounding herself with some of the most notorious thugs ever to disgrace our country. If she’s not careful, she may very well end up in the same position as the woman that SNC Lavalin threw under the bus in Mexico.


  3. Let’s also not forget the shenanigans that have included the Emerson Group and it’s related companies and shared Board members. All of them including Seaspan have been tied into the SFPR, BC Rail land deals, ALR land optioning, massive rezoning of industrial land in Delta and Deltaport expansion. If you start looking at Boards of Directors for all the major companies and their subsidiaries, include BC Hydro, BC Ferries, BC Transit, etc, there is a crossover of huge proportions. Then check out who the is now and has been connected to the BC Liberals. It’s actually a pretty small club.
    We are starting to make headway here because they’re all connected and once it starts to unravel, as it is, the magnitutude of this corporate power grab of our Province will overwhelm.
    BC Ferries and the Fastcat fiasco was baby steps. And just look where Clarke ended up after that. Running with th rich and powerful. I guess he did watch Wallstreet but decided to change the ending.
    Way to go Laila and all you learned and patient researchers. The path to the truth is long and complicated on purpose.


  4. Laila, thank you for making it easy for British Columbians to see the connections we would never see on our own. You are brave and bold. You must carry the torch for us now and let it shine light on truth. There is an angel watching you.


  5. Ross Buchanan is sadly mistaken if he thinks the Falcons and Abbots can or want to change the direction the Lieberals are going, they have been a large part of this government and intricately involved with their shenanigans. So many people are looking towards Falcon as displacing Snookie Clark but I see a man that is just as complicit if not more so than what we are stuck with. His “negotiations” on the repayment of the federal HST monies is proof of where his loyalties lie. Anytime we use the term Premier Clark it MUST be preceded by UNELECTED or INTERIM. Having not called an election immediately she has far exceeded any mandate she might think she has. Keep up the great work Laila, we are all lucky to have such great bloggers to get the real news from here in BC.


  6. What I see happening in BC is that the government gives the ‘wink, wink – nod, nod’ to their corporate friends to over engineer infrastructure projects, or build build needless infrastructure as a ruse to divert taxpayer’s monies to their corporations.

    In Victoria, SNC Lavalin did a study that said the cost to build LRT in Victoria would cost over $60 million a km. to build, yet there is ample evidence that shows that LRT could be built much cheaper, over $25 million/km. cheaper.


    Rail for the Valley engaged Leewood Projects (UK) to do a study on reinstating the interurban service from Vancouver to Chilliwack and found that by using TramTrain , the cost to reinstate the valley interurban varied from just over $5 million/km for diesel LRT to just over $7 million/km. for a 138 km, full build Richmond/Vancouver to Rosedale electric line.

    Click to access chilliwacktosurreyinterurbanfinalreportr.pdf

    The Gateway highways project is so greatly over-engineered, that it is obvious that the project is a sop to the Road Builders Association, with massive over engineered interchanges with Highways 17 & 99 and many needless overpasses. What was supposed to be a truck relief road has tuned into a major highway project.

    It seems by over-engineering transportation infrastructure, the provincial government has found a legal way of paying their political cronies and corporate friends, two or three times more money than they should. When the costs of these projects are into the billions of dollars, it is safe to say that the taxpayer is being gouged by several billion dollars on needless construction.


  7. When one looks at the SFPR you also need to look at the land flipping done all along the line. Millions of dollars have gone into the pockets of Liberal friendlies and the overpasses and interchanges correlate to planned industrial developments along the “truck route”. You are correct when you say that Kevin Falcon and the other Liberal alumni are just as heavily implicated in this corporate grab.
    Here’s what I predict (and I have some pretty good sources). Christy will resign after having been stuck with the Liberal past mistakes and all the knives have been used. Kevin Falcon will come in to save the day. Then a snap election will be called. Talk about the Ides of March.


  8. More comment to come when my wits are about me, as I ( we) have had some shocking news today. But Debbie, it is time to send the links around of Falcons Follies, to all again as a reminder ( on my best of page) however, someone has deleted my SCRIBD account, and so any missing links will need to be directed to me for forwarding. I do have backups of everything. Game on Debbie.

    Will reply to all the rest, shortly.


  9. My best to you Laila, I miss Mary, but she would want this story to go far and wide, this I know. Please find it to keep blogging immediately in her memory. You will serve us well.


  10. Rail for the Valley has done a second post which more clearly gives a picture of deliberate over-engineering which is taking place with government projects, especially transportation projects, with a focus on Victoria’s proposed light rail line.


    It seems that the various provincial governments for the past 20 years or so, have found a legal way of giving political supporters large portions of taxpayer’s monies and the present government in power is now doing it with impunity. But this phenomenon doesn’t rest solely with the BC Liberals, notice the NDP’s support for the SkyTrain Evergreen Line, which will do little to alleviate congestion in the region.

    The result of this has been carbon taxes (which are not true carbon taxes), higher property taxes, higher user fees and transit fares and coming soon, road tolls or road pricing!

    The government’s friends have an insatiable appetite for the taxpayer’s money and the government is ever more ready to please their friends and cronies.


    1. Thank you for this update Zwei, and please keep sharing this post everyone. Mary would have wanted us all to have our moments of grief and soldier on, as she was fond of saying. The relationship between the province and SNC is something that needs exposure and pressure.


  11. Sorry everyone, I missed some peoples comments in the news of Marys passing…

    Ross, thank you for the kind and thoughtful reflection. Yes social media has really done much to uncover truth,in fact I think it has kept the Jaspal Atwal/ Christy Clark debacle going further and pressed for more answers than most of the MSM. I certainly would like to think this is Christy Clarks last week, but I fear she doesnt even have the sense to know when shes past her expiry date.

    I doubt Falcon or Abbot would ever step into this mess, in fact since Falcon is behind so much of the financial condition BC is in currently, as I have shown in todays post. He is on the record as stating he doesnt have an issue with the contractual obligations this province has committed to, that has stolen any change of future governments bailing out unless they find some miracle to do so. Remember, Campbell and Falcon, in his time as transportation minister, were behind so many of the super-projects in BC that our grandkids will be paying for.

    I look forward to rebuilding a new democracy with others, in fact I would recomment that everyone check out Integrity BC, they have a great and telling video up today with some points many would rather us all forget. Accountability is the key to keeping all governments on track.

    Curt, thank you for your link, weasels get into every corner, dont they?

    GIni, hope you have your jaw back in place – shocking and yes I think Morgan is anything but good for BC.

    !i – civil forfeiture office eh? ..hmmmm wouldnt that be a lovely thing. Unfortunately Canada has anything but a good and effective white collar crime unit, to handle corruption etc.

    Thank you, A Friend. I think we all have an angel looking over us now. Each of us. Shes going to be giving us a helping hand from above.

    Kevin, thanks for the kind words… and thanks for reminding me to put our UNELECTED premier there. She certainly isnt what I would have picked!!

    Debbie, I will do everything I can to ensure Falcon never gets anywhere, and will remind everyone of what his hand is into.

    Dean, Thank you for those wonderful words. I will do my best to honour her memory. We all will continue the work, made that much harder by one less on the team.


  12. Long time reader, first time commenter. Thank you for providing this blog as one of the most valuable resources to everyone in B.C. along with Norman and Harvey and Gazeteer and his links, I have come to depend on your posts for what is increasingly indicating to me at least, a dark element in our legislature.
    This is very serious, what you have compiled here. I have sent it to many, including the press.Why are they not asking Ms. Clark about this right now, when she is feeling more heat than ever? Why is she surrounded by men with questionable motives?


    1. Hi Larry, nice to see you finally commenting! Blogs are funny things, with like 1% of people who read, actually commenting, so I love seeing new people speak out and find their voice. I agree that the blogs you’ve named are some of the best and there are many more on my blogroll.

      I agree that it’s serious, and again, who is asking Christy about this ongoing relationship and the implications of the allegations of SNC’s activities in Libya? A smart woman would be distancing herself or perhaps would have chosen someone else to advise, so there is your answer right there..lol..

      Maybe send it to Stephen Smart ; )


  13. Laila if my italien is right,this idiot is saying you better shut up.Maybe he better shut up and take a hike.Don’t be bullied!


    1. I’m keeping track too – of SNC Lavalin…lol… No worries,to be expected to get some hostility when the private feed at the public trough is threatened or revealed. There is no place for our unelected premier to be so snuggly with a man like Morgan. Our future as a province depends on these kind of conflicting relationship being revealed and terminated.


  14. Interesting to note, in Briony Penn’s recent blog, Gwyn Morgan’s wife, Patricia Trottier, was implicated in third party advertising for Gary Lunn in the 2008 federal election Saanich/Gulf Islands that the Liberals alleged were illegal campaign financing. Facinating read here, by Ms. Penn.


    It’s the whole country they’re after, they just developed the MO here in BC, under Campbell.


  15. Falcon is in it up to his eyeballs. All the contractors doing preliminary work on the South Fraser Freeway were the ones showing up at his leadership fund raising functions. Shirley Bond too. She was giving them all awards. Good work as always Laila. Would love to see the answers to some of the hard questions you are asking, but doubt our current government has the courage since answering would reveal the mess that they have created.


  16. Why doesn’t this kind of news surprise me anymore? It’s so proliferate now that the shock and surprise effect doesn’t occur. I wonder if that’s what’s making people so complacent around it, having it happen so often they almost expect it now?

    Great job Laila, I’m fascinated by your (and others) ability to scoop so well, to keep facts straight and focus on the important issues and not get sidetracked by the little things (although keeping notes on these as they may become bigger things later in the game) that seem to be the only focus of our mainstream media. You have my greatest respect.

    WHY aren’t people who ARE aware, ARE in power to do something with/about it, NOT asking questions or taking the abuses of power and privilege seriously as by law they must?
    That, to me, is the big question/picture.

    Wishing you a great week, I look forward to the follow-ups on this!



  17. Nicely put, Laila. Unethical? Maybe. I’m struggling with the following, though: if SNC-Lavalin has so insinuated itself into the back pockets of the Liberals, that doesn’t do a lot to explain how SNC didn’t win contracts for SFPR (Ledcor), PMH1 (Kiewit), Golden Ears Bridge (Bilfinger-Berger), Sea-to-Sky (Kiewit), Pitt River Bridge (Kiewit) and Vancouver Convention Centre (PCL). Looks like the dollars might be spread around more than indicated above.

    But much of this is beside the point. If my friend Joe Blow works as a maintenance technician on the Golden Ears Bridge for the next 20 years, I don’t think he cares whether it’s Bilfinger or SNC who signs his paycheque. What matters is that he puts food on the table for his kids and pays his mortgage, and it would all be thanks to our public dollars, corporate loyalties be darned.


    1. Kiewit, kiewit, kiewit…lol… there is yet another in the backpocket. And people do care, and you have seen here and elsewhere. The bidding practices in BC have been under examination for some time, you will enjoy my new post to come shortly on corruption in the BC construction industry…


  18. Read the book on Mulroney, I’m sorry but don’t recall the title something like ‘bought and paid for’, Lavallin was named for corruptive practices and possible murder


  19. This is quite possibly, the most arrogant corporation in the world. If I have this correct the head of SNC is warning police? If the RCMP or any other law enforcement agency find evidence of criminal behavior, doing anything less than laying charges and initiating a full and sweeping investigation of other relationships,bids and jobs would be an endorsement for corruption to continue.

    A must read. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/snc-lavalin-chief-warns-criminal-charges-could-force-closure-or-sale/article20975104/


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