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

Public will have input on changes to interior of Ashcroft Library

Local libraries also offering new takeout service as they work toward reopening

BC SPCA team helps discover new feline virus after outbreak at Quesnel shelter

Fechavirus is a kind of parvovirus, which makes cats and kittens very sick

No Cache Creek tax increase for 2020, but Village’s cash reserves a concern

Cache Creek held a special council meeting to discuss its 2020 budget… Continue reading

Village of Ashcroft announces appointment of new CAO

Daniela Dyck has accepted the position effective June 7

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend about 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Most Read