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SNC-Lavalin and Trudeau: A primer on the controversy

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The SNC-Lavalin scandal rocked Canadian politics this past week, culminating in the resignation of Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on Tuesday.

But the scandal itself is complicated and has many implications.

Here’s a breakdown of the issues at play.

What does SNC-Lavalin do?

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SNC-Lavalin is an engineering and construction firm based in Montreal and was once considered one of the top engineering companies in the world.

Its work has included government contracts, mining, transportation and infrastructure. It gained a reputation for building a large dam in Quebec that spearheaded the province’s development of hydroelectricity and for developing the skill sets for thousands of Quebec workers.


READ MORE:
Despite scandals, SNC-Lavalin viewed as crown jewel in Quebec: professor

It is still considered a crown jewel in Quebec, according to business experts.

According to its website, it was founded in 1911 and it employs 50,000 people around the world, including over 8,500 in Canada.

WATCH: David Lametti discusses the importance of AG role amid SNC-Lavalin controversy






What are the criminal charges?

In 2015, the RCMP charged SNC-Lavalin, along with its international division, with corruption and fraud in relation with their business dealings in Libya.

The RCMP said officials at the company attempted to bribe several public officials in the country, including dictator Moammar Gadhafi, as well as other businesses in Libya.

RCMP officials said SNC-Lavalin also lied to Libyan companies to defraud them of nearly $130 million.

If convicted, the company would be barred from bidding on federal projects for 10 years, and current federal contracts would be in jeopardy.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: RCMP lay fraud, corruption charges against SNC-Lavalin in 2015






What is the Prime Minister’s Office accused of doing?

SNC-Lavalin attempted to avoid a trial for the criminal charges, but in October, back when Wilson-Raybould was Canada’s attorney general and justice minister, federal prosecutors refused to negotiate a deal under a newly passed remediation agreement regime.

The remediation regime became law through Bill C-74 in June 2018 and would have imposed a fine in exchange for abandoning court proceedings. It allows corporations to skip a conviction and keep bidding on federal projects, which could protect the company from layoffs and financial troubles.

In a bombshell report, the Globe and Mail alleged SNC-Lavalin lobbied the PMO’s office to secure the remediation agreement.

The report said Wilson-Raybould was pressured to get federal prosecutors to change their refusal to negotiate remediation, but she was unwilling.

Trudeau called the allegations in the Globe report “false” and said no one in his office “directed” Wilson-Raybould to make any decision, but refused to comment when asked whether there had been any broader “influence” efforts


READ MORE:
What Justin Trudeau has said about the SNC-Lavalin controversy


SNC-Lavalin filed an application for a review of the decision on remediation in October.

Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of her position as justice minister and attorney general and made Minister of Veterans Affairs in January. Quebec MP David Lametti replaced her.

The ethics commissioner of Canada is looking into whether there was political interference in the case.

Other scandals

In 2011, an SNC employee whose job was to facilitate travel of SNC employees in and out of Libya was arrested in Mexico and accused of attempting to smuggle Gadhafi’s son and family out of the country. The employee was eventually released from jail and not charged in Canada.

In Switzerland, an ex-senior employee from SNC-Lavalin pleaded guilty to fraud, corruption and money laundering in relation to his business in Libya in 2014 — before the RCMP charges. Riadh Ben Aissa acknowledged in court that he bribed Saadi Gadhafi, son of Libya’s late dictator Moammar Gadhafi, so SNC could win contracts.

The company was also banned from bidding on projects by the World Bank for 10 years over alleged misconduct during a bridge construction contract in Panama. During an investigation from CBC and the Globe and Mail, it was alleged there was an internal accounting code for bribes. Officials were charged with fraud, but they were acquitted after a judge threw out wiretap evidence.

Closer to home, three top executives were also charged with bribery in relation to the McGill University Health Centre. Former CEO Pierre Duhaime, along with McGill officials, pleaded guilty in the case.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: SNC-Lavalin to reimburse municipalities, agencies in 2016






© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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