SNC Lavalin takes further ( damage control ?) action, replaces Gwyn Morgan and 3 directors.

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.

~snip~

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.

~snip~

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 : https://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 : https://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 :

“Money and corruption are ruining the land…”

34 thoughts on “SNC Lavalin takes further ( damage control ?) action, replaces Gwyn Morgan and 3 directors.

  1. johnsaghast

    In spite of all the railing and wailing it seems to fall on deaf ears! We in the choir are all familiar with the scene, thanks to your good work Laila. But what does it take get to get an inquiry, or something to show for all the hours and diligence you’ve expended?

    One thing at a time I guess. My priority is to get rid of Christy and her gang before she selve destructs.

    I just got a call from the Liberal Headquarters asking me I I’d considered voting for the Liberals.

    “Damn sure!” I said. They neglected to ask me what I considered! Next question, “Are you happy with the direction the party is taking?” Ooooh YES! Annihilation never looked so good!

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    1. Laila

      It doesn’t fall on deaf ears John, if it did, the SNC and corruption posts wouldn’t be the most popular.

      Remember, corruption, like investigations, are like icebergs. What we see at the surface is a tiny fraction of what is going on underneath. It’s not until you look underneath that you see how big either really are.

      I’m not worried about Christy,or the Liberals. I’m more interested in the people and corps that allow it all to continue.

      By the way, SNC was dropped on a contract. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/first-quantum-severs-mine-contract-with-snc-lavalin/article10755610/ Interesting….

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  2. Phil

    Just spent the better part of the afternoon reading your work,and frankly I’m in awe,particularly after reading all of this as well as the playing with the dragon columns.Keep up the good work.

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  3. cfvua

    Great work keeping us informed of Mr. Morgans exploits. I would say that due to Campbell and his band of liberals extreme generosity through royalty credit/subsidy programs and the pathetic gifts from the Pacific Carbon Trust, Encana got most of their “big cheque” back if not more. Now just think if all of that was mostly, well….pre-arranged to help paint a rosy financial picture. Ironic now that th liberals can’t balance a budget without a fire sale on public assets.

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    1. Laila

      Thanks cfvua, always nice to see you 😉 Hope you are well my friend.

      When you have the context of the past history combined with more recent events, it certainly paints an interesting picture, doesn’t it?

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      1. cfvua

        Yes, yes it does! Now that he has some free time watch for him to start fearmongering in Calgary over the potential for government change here in BC and to start helping Shepard at CC4BC.

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    1. Laila

      You see, this is where occasionally it gets mixed up.

      Bid rigging for legal purposes,is very clearly defined in your link and that is very accurate.Under that definition,we see the formation of Cartels where all companies bidding agree ahead of time on what kind of bids they will submit.

      Now, for example, hypothetically speaking of course….

      If an executive at a company were to give donations to a candidate, or a party or perhaps tickets etc… whatever it may be… and in exchange they get information or promises to get contracts that still go through the bid process… but the other two bidders have no idea the one bidder has an inside track…. while most people call that bid-rigging, legally that would be collusion,a crime also punishable by law via the competition bureau.

      It would be the same if a government ministry allowed certain bidders to write their own request for proposals so they could then perfectly design the winning bid… without the other honest bidders knowing.

      Hypothetically speaking, of course.

      And yes, SNC still does have the BC Ferries contract and there don’t seem to be any details on that.

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      1. nonconfidencevote

        Hmmmmm, I guess thats why the BC Ferries seem to “break down” during the busy holiday season with alarming regularity even though the office staff at the Deas Dock BC Ferries maintenance yards are at their largest staffing levels ever.
        SNC excels at loading up on staff that they deem “critical”. You know, people like Human Resources, Safety officers, telephone operators, …..critical staff like that. They dont seem to excel at fixing things.
        What, in God’s name, can SNC possible offer in the way of “improvement” to BC Ferries?
        MORE bloated beaurocracy?
        And the media wonder why BC Ferries is in the red.
        Time for an audit?

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        1. Laila

          A colleague sent me an interesting link this morning, from Quebec- unfortunately it is entirely in French http://affaires.lapresse.ca/economie/quebec/201304/04/01-4637758-hydro-rompt-un-important-contrat-avec-snc-lavalin.php

          But here is the translated version: http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.lesaffaires.com/secteurs-d-activite/energie/hydro-quebec-annule-un-contrat-de-snc-lavalin/556086&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dquebec%2Bhydro%2B%252B%2Bsnc%2Blavalin%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1600%26bih%3D774&sa=X&ei=aQlfUfvFCOr3igLu34G4DQ&ved=0CF4Q7gEwBw

          Hydro-Québec cancels a contract SNC-Lavalin

          lesaffaires.com . the affaires.com. 05-04-2013 (modified 05-04-2013 07:33)

          Hydro-Québec, which last week said to be free of corruption, has decided to retire at SNC-Lavalin contract management of its grant program for energy efficiency.

          Press has learned that the corporation put an end, mid-term, contract of $ 80 million over five years granted to a subsidiary of Montreal-based engineering, ÉnerCible.

          According to the newspaper, Hydro-Québec will begin shortly Buildings repatriation program for business clients.

          ÉnerCible may have to make layoffs. SNC has not confirmed this information.

          Crown corporation had initially told the program ÉnerCible Buildings in 2010, because he seemed “more appropriate” to let the private care to distribute on behalf of millions of dollars in grants.

          But according to a spokesperson for Hydro-Québec, the context has changed. “The distributor made great efforts to improve efficiency of its processes. This improves our ways, which makes it is internal resources who are competent in the field and will soon be available to carry out program activities Buildings. ”

          The spokesman of the corporation argued that setbacks SNC, whose indictment for corruption of its former CEO, Pierre Duhaime, did not influence the decision to Hydro-Québec.

          However, this decision was issued on the day of the hearing before the Commission Charbonneau Vice President and General Manager of the Transportation division, building infrastructure and SNC-Lavalin, Yves Cadotte. It was recognized that SNC had developed a system of illegal donations to political parties.

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          1. nonconfidencevote

            Laila, as you’re aware, I used to work for SNC.
            My experience there was THE most frustrating, demoralizing, exasperating exercise in futility I have ever experienced. My work experience with other previous employers was highly regarded, my opinion sought after, the jobs enjoyable. I lasted about a year before leaving. My sanity required it. Staff are drones, dissenting opinions are frowned upon and mark you as a troublemaker.
            My best advice to anyone thinking of working for SNC is ……….dont.
            OR, if you need the job for the money, use them as a stepping stone to a better career as most of the smart staff there seem to be doing. ( their “roll over” rate amoung employees is unbelievable) Dont believe me ? Google SNC ex employee opinions…. 🙂
            The company has legions of “retired'( read downsized) ex government employees. These people know the ins and out of govt beaurocracy.
            However, they bring the govt “mindset” with them. Several of my friends are still at SNC. The latest exercise in “waste and inefficiency” is “Stop Check”.
            A new safety program where employees are expected to :
            Stop and look at what job they are required to do no matter how trivial.
            Check for any dangers involved in doing that job.
            Write down a plan of how they will safely perform their job ( potential dangers, tools required, etc.).
            Then they may do the task required.
            All this is supposed to save the private sector client money due to less ….Work Safe BC injury claims.
            Well, all I can say is.
            After 20+ years in the industry and NEVER having a injury claim and only knowing of 2 other incidents of claims.
            This is a grotesque waste of time and money. BUT SNC gets to invoice all those “billable hours” dont they……….. 🙂
            Obscene doesnt even begin to describe that company.

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  4. What about the Evergreen Line contract? Doesn’t SNC Lavalin have that as well? In fact, wouldn’t it be easier to list the infrastructure projects that weren’t ‘given’ to Lavalin?

    I was shocked to read that Gwyn Morgan was ‘stepping down’ as Chairman of the Board, and can hardly wait for the next instalment of this saga…….or should I say ‘soap opera’?

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    1. nonconfidencevote

      Yeah, SNC helped build the Millenium line back in the late 90’s so they were a “shoo in” for the Canada line when THAT juicey contract came up. They paid the “up front” cash for the Canada Line as a P3 ( Public Private Partnership) but will be generously reimbursed over the (30 year?) life of the Canada Line contract. THATS where the big money is. Monthly Govt taxpayer funded payouts to this company is in the millions of dollars per month.
      Not a bad return on your investment if you ask me. Donate a couple of hundred thousand to the party in power and get BILLIONS back.
      Where do I sign up?

      And Canada is soooooo smug about its laws and politics

      We are nothing more than a 3rd world banana republic with better roads.

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  5. Curt

    Running down Dix has everything to do with BC assets, taxpayers $$$$ and Greed. Who gets to control the ‘bank’? The Shepherds, Hocksteins, Kinsellas and crowd do not want to lose their freeloading privileges at the trough. Where else but in BC can you get a railway for political donations? Pay ‘slave’ wages for outside labour. And loot public funds from schools, hospitals and colleges for businesses.

    We could add more names to this now couldn’t we?

    A comment from another blog. Couldn’t have said it any better myself. Thanks to a “Burgess.”

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  6. Gary

    You obviously have great contacts and have done an incredible job of getting this out. It becomes overwhelming reading all of it and others created by the Liberals. But it is sure fun sticking it in the faces of Liberal voting friends, who quite honestly have no idea of what and how these deals are and were being made. Fun watching their jaws drop.

    This Province needs a separate public body to investigate this Government in it’s entirety of term of office, like Quebec and these people have to be held accountable. The smugness and arrogance is too much at times to take. I hope the public and voters get out and vote, and not stay home and consider their vote wasted or against their political ideology, Just get out and vote and deal with this crowd that currently occupies ‘our’ Legislature.

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    1. Laila

      Thank you Gary – it is an eye-opener to a lot of people,I know. In particular with the events in Quebec where we see exactly the same thing that is going on here… but there far more of it is illegal.

      Regardless of whom is in power,I will continue to call for a similar commission in BC,based in part on the corruption report I’ve linked to in one of the above links, and other items. Corruption and graft takes many forms, from over-inflated bids,to over-billing,to more serious forms of collusion and cartels.

      Think we are any different from Quebec with so many of the same players? Ha. We are simply under the radar and less concerned. Quebec and in particular Montreal is now dealing with the results of years of corruption in the construction/infrastructure industry : Crumbling infrastructure,bridges and overpasses in need of massive repairs due to issues with poor quality concrete and rushed jobs to make performance deadlines on overinflated bids approved by officials who were bought off and or received political funding in exchange for contracts. While I do not think we have reached that widespread level here.. yet… if not checked immediately we are on our way.

      It is also important to recognize that while the news of politicians being involved in Quebec is what catches the media attention largely,that level of corruption cant exist without deep and varied levels of complicit behavior in many arenas,including bureaucrats and public servants.

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      1. Keith E.

        HI Laila & Gary, much has been said regarding an inquiry into these appalling people, however I think it’s important to state what kind of inquiry. If we have an inquiry after much time and expense that has an outcome of ” we have learnt from this and it won’t happen again” maybe useful but won’t reflect the damage deliberately and with calculation inflicted on the province and it’s people. Whatever terminology is appropriate should be used as well as the word inquiry, (judicial, legal, criminal.) but it’s time to make the NDP aware any investigation must have legal consequences with legal penalties.

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            1. nonconfidencevote

              I doubt Mr Braidwood is interested in a mullti year inquiry. He’s semi retired. I ran into him the day his report was due to be released and when I asked him if he was glad it was over he smiled and said something to the effect of ,” I’m going fishing”

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          1. Keith E.

            Precisely Laila, that’s what we need, but I’m concerned we will end up with a watered down version of a commission that will make a lot of noise but end up with a lot of flowery language and recommendations, but no-one in the end being held accountable.

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            1. Laila

              Funny how that seems to happen here in BC, doesn’t it? That is my concern with the BC rail sale and the pay-off, oops I meant payout 😉

              In an interesting turn with the ever shadowy activities of SNC Lavalin, it seems the anti corruption commission is coming to Canada to get documents from the RCMP relating to corruption ( why does that word keep coming up?) in the Padma Bridge project overseas….http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130406/padma-graft-acc-team-visit-canada-soon

              As well, a fabulous, tongue in cheek op-ed written about SNC Lavalins very lucrative dam contract in Newfoundland Labrador… and how lucky the people there are because certainly all these numerous cases of corruption with SNC are very limited to those instances..lol… I think every government who has done extensive work with this global corporation has to be concerned at this point. http://www.thetelegram.com/Opinion/Columns/2013-04-06/article-3214855/On-the-trustworthy-company-Nalcor-keeps/1

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  7. Laila

    And so you should. However, I must say it is rather ironic that I don’t see anyone protesting those foreign workers, often from Mexico, who pick our apple crops, cherrys or labour on farms all over the lower mainland…. seems to me no one here wants to do the hard work.

    I guess foreign workers are only acceptable when it is work Canadians don’t want to do.

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  8. Laila

    File this under Laughable Irony – The Shriners have awarded a hospital construction contract to SNC Lavalin. They defended their decision in part by offering this bit of comfort:

    ” Anyone named at the Charbonneau Commission or in the media as having been involved with bribery or collusion was (and will be) purged from the list of potential contractors or sub-contractors, Gantt said.

    Everyone but SNC-Lavalin, that is, whose vice-president, Yves Cadotte, admitted in March to having given $200,000 in illegal donations to Union Montreal, the party associated with Gérald Tremblay and current Mayor Michael Applebaum.

    “Unfortunately, life is not all easy decisions and it’s not always black and white,” Gantt explained, when asked why the Shriners nevertheless went with SNC-Lavalin. “There’s a balance of the pluses and the minuses and where you’re going to end up, and we felt like we structured the (bidding) and got the biggest benefit all around

    Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Shriners+stands+decision+Lavalin/8227582/story.html#ixzz2QSHzEzQQ

    So anyone named in Charbonneau Commission for bribery or corruption has been removed from the potential contractors/subcontracters list….. everyone BUT SNC Lavalin!!!

    Mon Dieu!

    Like

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