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

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

Joanne Siderius wins 2020 Suzy Hamilton Legacy Award

The award is presented annually to a female-identified environmental activist in the West Kootenay

Trial date set in Castlegar RCMP shooting death

Constable Jason Tait has elected a jury trial.

RDCK recycling depots to join RecycleBC program

Some depots open, others close, and different materials will be accepted

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read