As Opposition Leader, Justin Trudeau raged against the Harper government for using omnibus bills – massive bills covering a broad range of legislative changes – because it was impossible to know what evil was buried within their depths.
“I’d like to say I wouldn’t use them, period,’ Trudeau said back in April 12, 2013. “There will always be big bills, but they need to be thematically and substantively linked in all their different pieces so that they form a piece of legislation. The kitchen-sink approach here is a real worry to me.”
Yet the kitchen sink approach is precisely what Justin Trudeau used to dig the hole he’s in now.
Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau slipped in the SNC Lavalin Amendment on page 528 of Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures.
715.31 The purpose of this Part is to establish a remediation agreement regime that is applicable to organizations alleged to have committed an offence and that has the following objectives:
(a) to denounce an organization’s wrongdoing and the harm that the wrongdoing has caused to victims or to the community;
(b) to hold the organization accountable for its wrongdoing through effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties;
(c) to contribute to respect for the law by imposing an obligation on the organization to put in place corrective measures and promote a compliance culture;
(d) to encourage voluntary disclosure of the wrongdoing;
(e) to provide reparations for harm done to victims or to the community; and
(f) to reduce the negative consequences of the wrongdoing for persons—employees, customers, pensioners and others—who did not engage in the wrongdoing, while holding responsible those individuals who did engage in that wrongdoing.
It boils down to the government allowing large corporations to buy their way out of a criminal conviction.
This is not how justice should work.
In place of convictions, fines and jail times, the company and its executives are obliged, in essence, to admit they did it, put back the money, and promise never to do it again. The amendment was inserted after a strenuous campaign of public advertising and private lobbying (14 meetings with officials in the prime minister’s office alone) by — who? — why yes, SNC-Lavalin.
This is the scandal Jody Wilson-Reybould blew the lid off with her testimony before the House of Commons Justice Committee on February 27.
Quebec engineering giant SNC Lavalin has a long history of scandals and allegations of corruption around the world, including illegal campaign contributions to the Liberal Party of Canada, $30,000 in payments for prostitutes for Saadi Gadhafi in 2008, and criminal charges for bribing Libyan officials with millions in exchange for billions in engineering contracts.
This is a company that gets what it wants – including amendments to the Criminal Code specifically written to allow SNC Lavalin to skate on criminal charges. A conviction would ban the company from bidding on the lucrative government contracts SNC Lavalin loves so dearly.
In his desire to hide the Criminal Code amendment on remediation agreements, Trudeau used the “undemocratic practice” of omnibus bills to do it.
“We will not resort to legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny.“
They left out the most critical portion of that sentence.
“…unless it suits our political needs in Quebec.”
Trudeau is in a deep hole, yet still won’t stop digging.
Honestly, why would he?
All the opinion polls show he’s not paying a price for his #FakeFeminism and, if an election was called today, he’d be voted back into power.
What will it take to wake our fellow Canadians out of their stupor?
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