The federal government has given SNC-Lavalin a contract worth $150 million, despite the Quebec-based firm’s history of corruption, which includes bid-rigging, fraud, bribery and illegal campaign contributions.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the public works department admitted it hired SNC-Lavalin weeks after the pandemic outbreak in Canada, as part of the government’s COVID-19 response. The engineering firm received $150 million to design and deliver mobile health units.

NDP MP Charlie Angus called the government’s relationship with SNC-Lavalin “highly questionable,” asking why the company has not been blacklisted as a federal contractor.

“Is it that when a company gets to be a certain size the rules don’t apply to them anymore?” Angus asked.

“I put it to the government: Are they going to send a message to corporations that corruption will not be tolerated, or is it dismissed with a wink?”

In fact, SNC-Lavalin is the only company to be given a waiver from the 2015 Government Wide Integrity Regime, a system that would blacklist federal contractors found to have engaged in criminal acts.

“They are guilty of staggering abuses,” said Angus. “There is a policy in place. They should be banned.”

Numerous people in Justin Trudeau’s government, including former principal secretary Gerald Butts and former Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick attempted to coerce former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould into granting SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement.

Three former SNC-Lavalin executives pleaded guilty on separate occasions to breaching the Elections Act for $109,616 worth of illegal campaign contributions to Liberal Party organizers.

The company pleaded guilty to fraud in 2019 and were placed on a probation period for three years for their bribery of Libyan government officials to win construction contracts.

Federal support of SNC-Lavalin has proven to be unwavering. Even awarding the engineering firm $6.8 million in contracts the same day they pleaded guilty to fraud.

SNC-Lavalin was fined $1.9 million under the Competition Act for bid-rigging in Quebec and has faced conviction in the Quebec superior court for bribery, fraud and laundering the proceeds of crime.

Two mobile health units are to be deployed to Ontario as early as possible and will be available to the province until May 2021 to assist hospitals with high ICU admissions. 

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