SNC-Lavalin faces accusations it paid bribes to get government business in Libya — a criminal case that has triggered a political storm and cost Prime Minister Justin Trudeau two cabinet ministers and his most trusted adviser. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

SNC-Lavalin CEO says employees will move to foreign rivals if it is debarred

The company faces accusations it paid bribes to get government business in Libya

SNC-Lavalin’s local employees will be forced to work for foreign competitors if the embattled engineering firm is barred from bidding on federal contracts, diminishing its role as rare Canadian global champion, the company’s CEO said Wednesday.

“There would be a reduction with us but these are talented folks. They’ll get a job,” Neil Bruce said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Unlike the Trudeau government, he said the Montreal-based company has never cited the protection of 9,000 Canadian jobs as a reason it should be granted a remediation agreement to avoid a criminal trial.

“This thing that somehow they’re going to be unemployed is not true because they are highly qualified, highly experienced people.”

READ MORE: Liberal-dominated justice committee ends SNC-Lavalin probe amid opposition howls

However, he says there’s a public interest for such an agreement because its well-qualified employees will be forced to work for U.S. or European competitors if it is barred from bidding on federal contracts for a decade.

SNC-Lavalin faces accusations it paid bribes to get government business in Libya — a criminal case that has triggered a political storm and cost Prime Minister Justin Trudeau two cabinet ministers and his most trusted adviser.

Bruce said about 75 per cent of the company’s rivals have concluded deferred prosecution agreements in their host countries and are free to work in Canada.

Meanwhile, Bruce said he still doesn’t know why the director of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould were not open to granting a remediation agreement.

He said SNC-Lavalin employees feel bruised and battered by the last six weeks since a report surfaced that government officials pressured the former attorney general to grant the company a deferred prosecution agreement.

“And I think fundamentally that’s unfair on our employees who had nothing to do with what went on seven to 20 years ago.”

While he’s not surprised that politicians would make hay out of this issue during an election year, Bruce said he’s concerned that policymakers haven’t been as willing as other countries to defend home-grown companies and their workers.

He said there’s no plans to move the company’s headquarters from Montreal, adding competitors are envious of its shareholder base that is 82 per cent Canadian and led by the Caisse de depot which has helped fund its acquisition of British engineering firm Atkins.

“We see ourselves as Team Canada. We are a global champion, one of few. There’s not many and we’re proud to be Canadian.

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney’s Cascadia Seaweed hopes to float to the top of a growing industry

Food products based on seaweed could hit local shelves in spring 2021

New Oak Bay officer on the traffic beat

Const. Jeff Savoy a ‘top traffic enforcement officer’

Deadline looms to take Esquimalt’s waste stream survey

Township wants residents, business owners’ thoughts on integrated resource management

West Shore Rotary Club raises $20,000 with Golf Ball Drop fundraiser

Nearly 4,000 golf balls poured onto Olympic View golf course Saturday

Construction slows weekend traffic at Millstream overpass

West Shore RCMP recommend Leigh Road exit instead

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Most Read