One of the biggest challenges faced today by the average citizen in most countries is the absolute massive volume of information and data that one needs to filter and make sense of on a daily basis. Little wonder that we are misdirected and waylaid by this daily avalanche of facts that, deliberately or otherwise, distract and distort our vision of what is happening in our country and our world, as well as blur the lines between what we instinctively know to be true and what is nothing more than a concerted effort to subvert our better instincts. How can any single citizen parse the current flood of data and make an informed opinion on issues that should matter to every Canadian? I am attempting to understand our current Canadian scandal better known as the SNC Lavalin affair, winter 2019.
How do we understand who and what SNC Lavalin is in terms of its apparent legal misconduct or behaviours that have helped to bring this corporation to our national attention besides the current misadventures of your cabinet and government? Additionally, how do we make sense of what appears to be a massive red herring with respect to the oft repeated phrase in this national conversation of the moment, “but what about the possible loss of 9000 jobs if we proceed to prosecute this company”. This misleading centre-piece statement has been repeated in the federal political conversations as well as being mirrored by less-ethical political hacks and our dear former premier of British Columbia.
The National Observer does not pull any punches in its attempt to list a litany of scandal attached to SNC Lavalin and I begin to wonder about the culture of arrogance and privilege that exists within this particular Canadian corporate entity and why neither your government nor previous governments have done anything to stem the systemic corruption that continues to stain our country.
It is interesting to read that in 2013, the then stepping down SNC Lavalin board chair attempts to muse about “Why didn’t these errant behaviours come to the board’s attention earlier?” despite the fact that their errant behaviours were publicly noted as early as the mid 1990’s and their alleged bribing of the Gaddafi family in Libya did not appear to stop until “the regime collapsed in 2011 and Swiss authorities came knocking [and] charges were laid in April 2015”. What is possibly telling about the “oh dear how did this all go wrong” account of the former board chair of SNC Lavalin is that he chooses to cite the wonderful turn-around of the German giant Siemens AG after their rather ignominious fall from grace in 2006, their subsequent $1.6 billion fine, their “let’s not get caught next time” attitude, and their wonderful growth and success, subsequent to this slight blip on their corporate trajectory. One must wonder whether the reference to Siemens by Gwyn Morgan in 2013 was more about admiration and solidarity with a fellow company that got caught incorporating bribery into its business model and continues to grow and be successful today, rather than one of contrition and being an ethical exemplar for Canadian companies. Why has my country continued to ignore this aberrant, and not the least, abhorrent moral and ethical corporate display?
Show us your 4-year-old, freshly-minted Prime Ministerial hopes and dreams for a “better” Canada and publicly and transparently examine the allegations held against SNC Lavalin and aggressively prosecute those within the organization who may show no regard for the rule of law, who for over 20 years have continued to flagrantly abuse national and international understandings regarding ethics and human rights, and who have been granted free rein to continue to lobby and apparent apply great political influence on your government and work hard to create public misdirection at every turn. You can do it – you promised us this kind of moral leadership.
We pretend that we are not a banana republic but all of these issues smack of nothing more than a continuation of governments being manipulated and influenced at the highest level by powerful organizations, external to our legal and legislative frameworks, whose only real goal is to further their profit and influence decision making in their favour. Today, this appears to be a stain on our federal government but the behaviours of our current custodians of power are no different than those governments who have gone before as well as those who are eagerly and smugly sitting in the wings hoping to dance into power at the expense of the missteps of your current regime.
Let us do nothing more that pin the supposed job losses at SNC Lavalin or even the negative impact on your potential re-election to a misdirecting strategy on the part of the hacks of all badgering political and corporate stripes and recognize that SNC Lavalin will continue to exist and will continue to do business globally today and tomorrow whether they are prosecuted or not, just as Siemens AG has done. Take the time to read and appreciate Siemens’ current financial fortunes, including their continued growth in employment and global influence and understand that you still can be seen to have done the right thing for all of Canada if you choose to address this ethical and moral lapse in corporate Canada.
Let us; however, publicly demand that you, Sir, and your government, currently charged with leading our dear country, demonstrate some shred of moral and ethical fibre and investigate, prosecute, and shame this corporate disgrace of a company; and then let us move forward and try to restore some semblance of moral and ethical dignity on our legislative and governing bodies. Quit trying to eviscerate each other, both from within and without, and show this country that we were not wrong to invite you to lead us and hold the privilege of sitting at the head of our governing tables.
Sadly, it appears that every government, at whatever level in this country, is beholden, to some degree, to external interests. The kind citizens of Canada, are continually being held hostage to both internal and external financial interests and it appears that the best we can hope for, is that those to whom we entrust our regional and national political management and governance will do so with fairness and integrity, along with a visibly demonstrated expression of moral and ethical duty. This is an almost impossible request given the enormity of national and global challenges but it is one we must demand of everyone for whom we grant our governing trust; and yes, this is especially directed at you, Mr. Prime Minister.
So please, let’s cut the political and theatrical crap; the jobs in your riding are not in jeopardy, if anything is in jeopardy; it is your job, as it appears that you may have forgotten who you are most accountable to.
Nearly 4 years ago you asked Canadians to trust you, you promised us a “Prime Minister who knows Canada is a country strong, not in spite of our differences, but because of them, a PM who never seeks to divide Canadians, but takes every single opportunity to bring us together…. [and you promised us] a Prime Minister who knows that if Canadians are to trust their government, their government needs to trust Canadians, a PM who understands that openness and transparency means better, smarter decisions”.
Well Sir, show us this open and transparent understanding, demonstrate better and smarter decisions, look in the mirror, and please know that your political hacks, your public spin doctors, and your money bag-people will not be able to help you move beyond this current national disgrace unless you step outside and beyond all this, show us humility, and show us that our faith in you and your government was not terribly misplaced 4 years ago. Fix this mess in a way that shows us your ethical and moral back bone and give a reason to believe in your government.