Breaking: Peter Kiewit and Sons ULC, two former managers charged with criminal negligence in the death of Sam Fitzpatrick

It’s been a long time coming  and this week ends on a high note.

Today, charges of Criminal Negligence causing the death of Sam Fitzpatrick, contrary to s.220(b) of the Criminal Code, were sworn today on Vancouver Provincial Court against Gerald KARJALA, Timothy RULE, and Pieter Kiewit Sons ULC ( dba Peter Kiewit Sons co.)

A first appearance is scheduled for the corporate defendent, Peter Kiewit, July 17th at 2pm in Vancouver Provincial Court.

Warrants have been issued for the accused individuals and sources indicate to me that both individuals have been or are currently located in the US.

Bethany Lindsay of CBC has a full report up on this here:

“Unprecedented criminal negligence charges have been filed against a major construction company and two of its managers in the 2009 death of Sam Fitzpatrick on a B.C. worksite.

Peter Kiewit Sons Co., Timothy Rule and Gerald Karjala are all named in an indictment sworn Friday morning and provided to CBC News.

Fitzpatrick was 24 years old when he was crushed by a falling boulder on a Kiewit hydroelectric construction project on the Central Coast on Feb. 22, 2009. His younger brother, Arlen, was watching when it happened.

Fitzpatrick’s family and friends, along with the United Steelworkers union, have spent the last decade fighting for accountability in the tragedy.

Family friend Mike Pearson described news of charges as bittersweet but very welcome.

“It’s an example of the system working. The justice system has been heavily criticized in the last little while, and this is an example, so far, of it working the way it’s supposed to and people taking a stand and being brave and standing up for what’s right,” Pearson told CBC.

This, has been a long time coming. I met Mike and Brian long ago in their journey to this day and this has been one of the most compelling stories I have worked on and it led to an examination of many other projects Kiewit has worked on here in BC, ( )

I for one, will have a bittersweet weekend on this one but it sets precedent in BC and Canada for all workers who have been hurt or died on the job doing something they shouldn’t have been doing. It also brings to mind the sawmill explosion in BC, where conditions were known to be unsafe yet workers continued to work.

Kiewit has a long history of getting the contracts over and over again in BC, despite a number of issues that have plagued them here and in the US.

I’ll add more shortly. And sorry for the extended absence but there are only so many hours in a day 🙂


Dear John…

~ an open letter to Premier John Horgan ~


Dear John,

It’s been a while since we chatted. If you recall, you called me quite a few years ago when I was riding you over fracking. ( I think I even referred to you as the frackmaster because  you were such an eager advocate)

You were reaching out to bloggers trying to make connections with the only friendly coverage the NDP had while the BC Liberals were in power, and we ended up in a long discussion over fracking in BC. It ended with you promising that if the NDP were elected, you would do a complete review of fracking and if the science didn’t support it…you would call a moratorium.

Well John, we know how that turned out….  . 

What you didn’t say back then, was that you would go onto order a BC review that expressly left out the impact on human health, a failure that doesn’t serve the public interest. Worse yet, it fails everyone who lives near fracking operations, including the workers who run them.

But I digress because although it’s a travesty that seems to be forgotten and it shouldn’t be ( pretty sure Michelle Mungall wouldn’t ever choose to live near the fracking she now supports)  It’s not why I’m writing you today.

I went to the forest yesterday, as I often do, because I find my soul in forests….in the beauty, the peace and the lush green of forest floors and canopy….and while I did again find my peace yesterday…I also felt a deep concern.

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While it looks lush at first glance in this area, the forest is not well. Those here who know their woods like the lines on the palm of your hand, and have a strong connection to the land, will know  when things aren’t quite right, wherever they are. Things are not in balance here. The forest floor is tinder dry. The salal is dying here too, like it across the island .  Some are musing it’s the cold snap we had. Others say drought. I’m wondering if might be some kind of pathogen that causes a plant virus not unlike the one killing the Kauri trees of New Zealand.

The creek is dry. The marsh is dry. There are hardly any slugs in areas where slugs usually are found among the mossy limbs. And the moss itself, usually lush and dense and soft….is feeling parched like you might find it in late July or early August.

I’m worried John. Worried that unless we get whats known here on the island as June-uary ( a wet and chilly June) we’ll lose even more of the western Red Cedars that are dying along the drier east coast of the island due to drought conditions several years in a row.  I’m worried we’ll see another fire year like last years, and the year before when skies remained a dusty orange grey red like one might expect on Mars, not Earth.

This province really is an amazing place John and I think you know that. I’ve seen most of it except the north coast and the Kootenays and every area is unique and remarkable in its own way. The commonality between all of us living in rural BC, outside of the Metro Van and Fraser Valley area, is that sometimes policy makers like yourself, don’t do what’s right, they do what’s easy or what keeps corporate donors/unions/supporters happy.  We saw a lot of that kind of policy and decision making under the BC Liberals. They are part of why so much of Vancouver Islands  crown lands ended up in private hands and access to lakes and even mountain trails, are locked up by gate access.

When it comes to social issues, your party has excelled in many areas, with a lot of work still to be done. Yet when it comes to environmental issues, including fracking and logging, truly it’s been status quo from the BC Liberals or worse… and it’s not going unnoticed. 

Does it surprise me? No. I know you have always been part of the brown wing of the party, but you are getting into dangerous ground now on several issues and I think you likely know that. Dangerous because once gone, it will not regain its magnificence in  many lifetimes. Case in point is the crazy amount of old growth logging going on all over this island, including the cuts planned here

This, is insanity John, and you can’t allow this to happen to a community that has struggled and is facing new challenges. People come to see these trees, hike the trails and simply just sit in awe for the same reason I and thousands of other go to the forest… to find their soul. Their peace. To reconnect to a place so wild and untouched and old that it gives one a feeling of reverence. These old forests on the island are increasingly becoming economic boons to small resource communities smart enough to see the writing on the wall….and see that these beautiful forests are more valuable standing than cut, as people come from all over to find solace and peace like I do.

This story is far from over though John, because despite your governments efforts to keep timber cut in BC, in BC, its still going overseas right now. And mills have been closing in various areas, some for short periods now, but lets be realistic, they are delaying the inevitable: Forestry is a dying industry in some areas of BC and it’s time to act to help the most vulnerable communities plan for a future that isn’t dependent on mills. This was back in  November :

This is now:

The mountain pine beetle took almost half of BC’s harvestable timber. People who havent seen northern and central BC would be stunned to see the massive swaths of land left largely barren in areas. Several extremely bad fire seasons has taken even more marketable and young timber. It takes time for second and third growth trees to mature to size and frankly, even massive reforestation isn’t going to save many of these smaller communities futures. Compounding it all? Spraying glysophate on fire resistant aspen in regenerating forest stands so growing timber doesnt have to compete! This actually makes the second growth less fire resistant.

This is an opportunity for government to act and create a forest industry transition task force and fund, to immediately assist communities like Clearwater and others, strategically plan away from traditional forestry industry and retrain workers. Temporary shutdowns will inevitably lead to permanent ones in some communities based on these conditions, and instead of delaying the inevitable it’s time to show leadership.
This task force should be given a time sensitive mandate to:
1. Identify impacted and at risk communities in BC, and meet with mayors/councils.

2. Partner with key community persons to evaluate community strengths, marketable assets to identify potential market investments in other industries. Likewise, challenges and hurdles must be identified with potential solutions.This is time to think out of the box, not give false hope.

3. Reach out to unique and complementary sectors that are growing with community specific marketing campaigns.

Etc. Etc.

Growing up in a town and family dependent on forestry makes me particularly sensitive to the needs of these communities and how quickly entire communities can bust if immediate action isn’t taken. Finding new markets for wood fibre isn’t enough. It’s time to talk transition, to make sure small town BC doesn’t die. There is unique opportunity here to get on top of this, whether its stopping the cuts in Port Renfrew, or looking at what unique qualities these other communities have to offer.

Sometimes the tough decisions and talks no one wants to hear because they strike – fear, fear of change and fear of failure – are the ones that need to be done, John. The climate is changing faster than we have been adapting  John.

Please stop the old growth logging on Van Isle. We don’t have much left.

Don’t log the planned cuts near Port Renfrew. Listen to that community and see they have found a new way to evolve economically, using those trees as an attraction.

Help interior forest communities transition to new economies where second growth industry industry isn’t currently sustainable.

I’ve had my say John, so I’ll leave you with this.

“It’s not by accident that people talk of a state of confusion as not being able to see the wood for the trees, or of being out of the woods when some crisis is surmounted. It is a place of loss, confusion, terror and anger, a place where you can, like Dante, find yourself going down into Hell. But if it’s any comfort, the dark wood isn’t just that. It’s also a place of opportunity and adventure. It is the place in which fortunes can be reversed, hearts mended, hopes reborn.” 
― Amanda Craig



Best regards,

Laila Yuile



These following photos were taken by Mark Worthing, Sierra Club, in the Tsitika watershed, showing old growth clear cuts.




P.S. :  How is it that after a just few weeks of high gas prices you call for an independent investigation by the BCUC into the situation ( hello price gouging) ….

Yet after nearly a year of  news investigations, whistleblower reports, FOI revelations, police investigations and the German reports into money laundering & corruption… still haven’t called a public inquiry  AND aren’t sure if that’s the best route??! #facepalm

SNC Lavalin tried to manipulate the law… then the PM…and now you.

There’s a standard old saying that no one is above the law, but it’s pretty clear with this latest discovery by Integrity BC, that SNC Lavalin feels that they are above the law.


Arrogance knows no limits when it comes to SNC Lavalin… they tried to manipulate the law, which hasn’t worked for them. Then they tried to manipulate the Prime Minister and his office, which really didn’t work out well for them. And now they take out an ad buy of the Globe and Mail opinion piece written by esteemed criminal lawyer extraordinaire, Brian Greenspan?

Greenspans opinion piece is yet another in a long series of opinion pieces that read like hit jobs questioning Jody Wilson Rayboulds knowledge and skill. As I was reading it, I couldn’t help but think it felt like the cliche ‘yet another old white guy explaining how things work in the world to the women’. Seriously. And I also thought about what a disservice he was doing in glossing over some really serious stuff here, when another lawyer I know shot over this piece for me to read.

Bingo.  “ Mansplaining to the Honourable Jody Wilson Raybould”  is a must read and I sure as hell hope this gets picked up on a national level. Written by Robert Harvie, family lawyer, mediator and arbitrator, he gets right to the heart of what’s wrong with Greenspans opinion piece.


In his article, he suggests, rather strongly, that the concerns raised by Ms. Wilson-Raybould, and her supporters, reflect a “fundamental misunderstanding of the responsibilities of key participants in our justice system.” In his article he writes that to question the appropriateness of outside influences on prosecutorial discretion exhibits a serious misunderstanding about how “justice” works.

Perhaps. Or, perhaps Mr. Greenspan’s article is a bit of “mansplaining.”


I would be so bold, as someone who is only a family lawyer, to suggest he has perhaps glossed over the issue a bit.  And, in my opinion, as a lawyer who has spent some time working to improve access to justice and fairness in our legal system, the larger truth is too important to ignore or dismiss.

And this is the thing about that.

Mr. Greenspan is completely correct. Prosecutors cannot live in a bubble, devoid of contact or influence by the world around them — including very direct influence by the actors involved.  As Mr. Greenspan writes, “isolation breeds tyranny” and advocacy — the testing of the Crown regarding their perspective on a prosecution — is healthy and fundamentally important to assure full consideration by the Crown of all factors to be considered as they engage their duties.

But. And here’s the big “but.”

When our jails are populated by people without the means to hire someone like Brian Greenspan to assure that the Crown is challenged appropriately — particularly for example, by Indigenous people in grossly disproportionate numbers — there is a fundamental concern about the efficacy of the Rule of Law.  About the reality of the theory that “all people are equal before the law.”

And it’s a growing and legitimate concern that Mr. Greenspan, with all respect, ignores completely.

It might be reasonable to ask yourself, for example, what are the odds than an impoverished Indigenous person charged with a criminal offence in this country would have the pull to cause the prime minister himself lean on the minister of justice to, in turn, to lean on the prosecution to “cut him a break.”

Or, to use Mr. Greenspan’s example, what are the odds that same individual might be able to hire Brian Greenspan himself to meet with the attorney general to consider his case?

Zero to none are those odds.

And, perhaps, Ms. Wilson-Raybould — being a woman and an Indigenous person – was somewhat sensitive to this reality.

So. It might do for some old white guys in our profession like Mr. Greenspan and myself to consider that perspective with a little more charity.

With the greatest of respect to Mr. Greenspan, he ignores, completely the growing sense of frustration of many Canadians that there often appears to be two sets of laws in this country — one for people with deep pockets or friends in high places (usually both), and one for everyone else.

Did Prime Minister Trudeau “lean” on Ms. Wilson-Raybould, or did he simply provide “perspective”? Who knows?

But the questions raised in this case are legitimate and undeniable.

Or maybe, like our former attorney general, I just don’t understand.


Brave Mr. Harvie, brava. This is exactly it. No one is above the law and the ease of which those corporation and individuals who have the money, the connections and the power to influence the law in a way you or I could not, is wrong.

( And this is where I mention Greenspans past representation in another SNC bribery case )

I’ve written about this SNC issue with respect to Jody Wilson Raybould several times, and I have written about SNC Lavalins activities in BC, along with former board director Gwyn Morgan, at length. Avoiding a trial on the current charges isn’t about keeping innocent employees from suffering the consequences of a few bad apples, it’s about keeping the former board of directors off the stand. It’s about not letting any further people get questioned and CBC recently ran an excellent piece getting right to that.

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…There’s no question that millions of dollars in bribes were paid to the Gadhafi regime in Libya to win lucrative contracts for SNC-Lavalin.

The former head of the company’s global construction arm admitted to bribery, corruption and money laundering in 2014. He pleaded guilty in a Swiss court.

But the Quebec-based engineering firm has long insisted that Riadh Ben Aïssa was acting alone and in secret.

“The Libyan bribes were disguised by Riadh Ben Aïssa as part of normal project costs,” former board chair Gwyn Morgan told CBC News in a recent email. “There was simply no means for board members to detect them.”

Ben Aïssa has a very different story to tell. He is back in Canada after having spent more than two years in prison in Switzerland.

He has turned on his former executives and board of directors and has been co-operating with police and prosecutors.

If called to testify at an SNC-Lavalin trial, he could expose who else in the senior ranks may have known about $47.7 million in bribes and $130 million in fraud tied to projects in Libya — crimes the RCMP alleges were committed by the company between 2001 and 2011.

SNC-Lavalin has been lobbying hard behind the scenes to secure what’s called a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) to avoid going to trial. The company, as well as its supporters in government, argue thousands of jobs are at risk if it is convicted and barred from bidding on federal contracts.

But a CBC News investigation reveals why 12 top directors who left the company years ago also have plenty at stake if the case goes to trial. SNC-Lavalin’s former board is an influential who’s who of the corporate elite that includes former senators, banking executives and members of the Order of Canada. They will all likely face close — and very public — scrutiny if called to testify about whether they knew of any corruption happening on their watch…


Still think this is all about saving jobs?  Or saving their own asses?

Remember: ” Trials are designed to detail wrongdoing by government and corporate officials alike and to mete out justice in a transparent forum that the public can understand. Deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) are designed to cover up details of wrongdoing and replace jail time for corrupt government and corporate officials with fines for corporations…”  ( from )

For too long in Canada, major corporations have been running the show with provincial and federal governments. They make big donations and when those big donations are banned, they find other ways to get the money to those politicians….something SNC Lavalin knows all about too.

…Canadians may never know the details of an elaborate scheme orchestrated by engineering giant SNC Lavalin to funnel more than $117,000 to two federal political parties after one of the key players quietly pleaded guilty a few weeks ago.

Normand Morin, the 76-year-old former vice-president of the company, took advantage of a routine court appearance in late November to plead guilty to two of five charges of contravening Canada’s election financing rules. The prosecution dropped the remaining three charges.

Morin was given 60 days to pay $2,000 in fines.


A compliance agreement signed by SNC Lavalin in 2016 refers to a system that involved “certain former senior executives” of the company. Employees were encouraged to donate to federal political parties, then were reimbursed by the company through “false refunds for personal expenses or payment of fictitious bonuses.”

Under federal election financing laws, companies are not allowed to contribute to parties or candidates. The scheme allowed SNC Lavalin to circumvent the law by making political donations indirectly through its employees.

The vast majority of the money contributed between 2004 and 2011 went to the federal Liberal Party. According to a 2016 compliance agreement with SNC Lavalin, the Liberal Party of Canada received $83,534 while various Liberal riding associations received $13,552.

Contestants in the Liberal Party’s 2006 leadership race got $12,529.

And before the Cons out there get all excited, SNC used the same scheme to donate to your party as well, so shut it.

It’s time for this government- all governments, in fact – to send SNC and companies like SNC a message that corruption won’t be tolerated. This is the law. This is beyond egregious. And this company and its former director Gwyn Morgan, have a long history with the BC Liberals and Christy Clark that has raised questions…most of which are still unanswered.

It’s time for you to demand your elected officials remember who actually votes them into, or out of, office. SNC Lavalin has no loyalty to anyone or anything but profit. Why anyone would go out of their way for them, is beyond me.

But then again, maybe like Greenspan mansplained to the attorney general ,  I just don’t understand how it all works either…



Truth to power on International Womens Day


There are few photos of Jody Wilson Raybould from this perspective and when I finally saw this one from Macleans, it reminded me so much of the Fearless Girl statue.

Ms. Raybould is indeed taking on a behemoth not unlike this bull, one that extends beyond partisan circling of wagons around their leader. She’s exposed that the patriarchy is alive and well in Ottawa, entitlement rife in Wernicks testimony – his second btw, while the Liberal dominated committee voted down a motion to have Raybould Wilson brought back.

From the now infamous, exasperated eye rolling of Anthony Housefather in the allegedly non partisan position of Committee chair,during that vote…

( hard to find a source for this moment that isn’t using it for partisan purposes, including this guys tweet) the pompous entitlement of Wernicks testimony… to the smirks of Trudeau’s friend, Butts during his…to the same smirks of Trudeau’s odd, ‘not sorry but trying to be contrite’ press conference which reminded me so much of Clarks note ” humble” on her speaking notes way back when….

It all just left a bad taste in my mouth because I expected better than old boys club politics when I voted for Trudeau…something I won’t do again. Emerging as the voice of reason amid a flurry of reaction following yesterdays press conference was another strong woman, Elizabeth May. She saw exactly what I saw, and said so:’s-non-announcement-snc-lavalin-affair

Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) said today she was astonished by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first full statement on the SNC-Lavalin scandal. “It is clear that the effort to get SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) continues to drive all aspects of handling the issue,” said Ms. May. “We are not in a position to look back at mistakes made. We are in the throes of an ongoing effort to get a DPA for SNC- Lavalin.”

Greens believe that the opportunity to learn lessons starts with understanding the principle of prosecutorial independence. The primary decision on whether to prosecute rests on the Director of Public Prosecutions. The DPP’s decision is based on a legal analysis of the evidence against  a corporate defendant. The Attorney General’s job is to review the DPP’s decision to ensure that the evidence and legal principles are properly applied.

“In his evidence to the justice committee yesterday, the prime minister’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts demonstrated that he did not understand this principle when he spoke dismissively of the former Attorney General’s review of ’12 days.’ That ignored the work that had already gone into the Section 13 analysis by the DPP,” said Ms. May.

“We have now moved from inappropriate pressure on the former Attorney General to a propaganda campaign preparing Canadians for the new Attorney General to do what Jody Wilson-Raybould refused to do. And we still don’t have a single independent review confirming a threat to 9,000 jobs.”

Ms. May said that Justin Trudeau still has an opportunity to restore Canadians’ trust. “In the next Cabinet shuffle, restore Jody Wilson-Raybould as Minister of Justice and Attorney General, ask Jane Philpott to take up the reins at Indigenous Services, promote the current Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Board, Joyce Murray, to President of the Treasury Board and let Seamus O’Regan go to Veterans Affairs.

“The failure to grasp the importance of prosecutorial independence and the failure to seek evidence before succumbing to job blackmail are at the heart of this scandal,” said Ms. May. “We still require an independent review of the inappropriate pressure on our former Attorney General.

Shes correct. The heart of this lies in prosecutorial independence…and in a surprise move yesterday the Public Prosecutors office asserted itself online.


Brava. This is a critical and key point for two reasons.

1. In the charges laid against SNC Lavalin, no extenuating circumstances must be considered

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And 2.  Considering its highly unlikely SNC would pick up and leave-they have ongoing current work all over Canada-what other motivation could there be for avoiding a lengthy trial? Tom Parkin has thoughts on this:


Indeed. The Financial Post piece he linked to details what’s really on the line with a trial, and why government might want that not to happen:

Trials are designed to detail wrongdoing by government and corporate officials alike and to mete out justice in a transparent forum that the public can understand. Deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) are designed to cover up details of wrongdoing and replace jail time for corrupt government and corporate officials with fines for corporations…

…The company claims that past misdeeds can be entirely laid at the feet of a few so-called “bad apples” who have since been removed. If SNC-Lavalin were nevertheless found guilty through an exhaustive examination of witnesses and the presentation of evidence, that claim could be eviscerated — the “bad apples” in question have already said they were carrying out widely employed company practices. If so, the company not only stands to lose federal government contracts over the next 10 years, its officers stand to be incarcerated….

…But a trial here or elsewhere would not only expose who knew what and when within the firm; it would also expose who in government might have been involved.

Hmmm. Is the worry really  9000 jobs from a company with current and ongoing jobs across Canada that will keep them here? Or is the worry what will be exposed by a trial? This changes the entire perspective presented by Trudeau, by Butts and by Wernick.

And therein, lies the heart of why any pressure on Wilson Raybould or the DPP, ( also a woman) whose decision she upheld, must be examined more closely. Sandy Garossino weighs in with some excellent analysis on why this is the most important prosecution Canada has ever undertaken on corporate corruption.

This matters. There is something much bigger at stake here, the very integrity of the rule of law, our basic tenets of justice, and two women whose independent power and authority is being challenged.

That’s why, I’m #stillwithJody. The committee must bring her back, the PM must allow her to speak about the period after her shuffling and SNC must not bully their way into a deferred prosecution agreement.

Until they do, its important this brief video of her testimony is kept front and centre, keeping in mind the Financial Post piece posted above. I’ll post the transcript in the comments as well.

This has turned into a long piece but there was so much to say. And I may add to it because there’s more I need to share, but now I’m going to wrap.

To Jody Wilson Raybould, I see you. Thank you for speaking truth to power. To the DPP, Kathleen Roussel, hold the line – I think you know something we don’t.  To Elizabeth May, thank you for being one of the most diligent voices in Ottawa on many issues, including this one.

And to all women blazing paths and challenging patriarchy to the chorus of voices on both sides of your path calling you difficult, not a team player or worse yet, crazy….I see you too and honour the fortitude it takes to follow that path.


From a friend and reader:

“After listening to those trying to discredit Ms, Wilson-Raybould I thought that by sharing two of my several personal life stories it might help others understand the kind of inter-personal  dynamics that people can face when those who simply want to  direct and not lead seek to impose their version of the right way to proceed. Party whips use this all the time and that is why proportional representation is being withheld….

….Over a life time of working on lots of different matters it is clear to me that there are always those in positions of authority who regularly abuse their privileged status by having subordinates carry full accountability for all decisions. It seems that moral issues are the most troublesome for those in charge, so when someone like Ms Wilson- Raybould seeks to do what is morally correct we need to give that person our unconditional support.”