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SNC-Lavalin signed at least $68M in federal contracts last year

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OTTAWA—SNC-Lavalin was awarded at least $68 million in new federal work last year, a Star analysis shows.

The figure provides a glimpse into what is at stake for the Quebec-based company if it is convicted of fraud and corruption charges that lie at the heart of a political storm swamping the Trudeau government.

The tally excludes the value of multi-year contracts and major infrastructure projects, and likely represents a fraction of what the construction and engineering giant stands to lose in the high-profile case. It also excludes work SNC-Lavalin is involved in as part of a consortium of companies, such as Ottawa’s new $2.1-billion light rail line and the $2.8-billion contract to upgrade Montreal’s regional transit system.

The charges against the company are at the centre of a political controversy for the Liberal government. Last week, the Globe and Mail reported officials in the Prime Minister’s Office pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to halt criminal proceedings against SNC-Lavalin and settle the case through mediation. Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion said Monday that he will investigate the affair.

The company, meanwhile, has argued a criminal conviction would unjustly punish its thousands of employees, pensioners, shareholders and subcontractors because it would bar SNC-Lavalin from bidding on Canadian federal contracts for 10 years.

Charlie Angus, an NDP MP from northern Ontario, asked the federal government to release the total value of more than 140 active contracts with SNC-Lavalin, as well as details of departments’ contingency plans if the company is suddenly ineligible to perform federal work. In a response last month, most government departments refused to provide those details. Angus was directed to the federal government’s procurement website for the value of contracts, and was only told the government is monitoring SNC-Lavalin’s legal situation very closely.

According to 2018 procurement records, SNC-Lavalin inked 176 new contracts with federal departments and agencies that are worth a total of more than $67.9 million. Because of the way procurement records are published, it’s difficult to calculate how much federal money was awarded to the company.

SNC-Lavalin employs more than 8,700 people in Canada, according to its website, and has 86 offices across the country.

In an interview Sunday, Angus said he doesn’t buy the argument that SNC-Lavalin is vital to the Canadian economy—that it is, in essence, “too big to fail.”

“The reality is SNC is continuing bidding on federal contracts,” he said. “This is work that can be done either by public service workers or can be done by companies without a long history of corruption.”

SNC-Lavalin has not responded to requests for comment from the Star in recent days.

Will Mitchell, the Anthony S. Fell chair in new technologies and commercialization at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, said there is no doubt SNC-Lavalin is a significant presence in the Canadian corporate landscape. From September 2017 to September 2018, the company reaped more than $8 billion in global revenue. It has also been involved in signature Canadian infrastructure projects in recent years, such as construction of Vancouver’s Canada Line train and the multibillion-dollar refurbishments of the Darlington and Bruce Power nuclear plants.

Mitchell said projects like this can have a “multiplier” effect for job growth, with SNC-Lavalin as a Canadian company being more likely to hire subcontractors for work in this country. But at the same time, he said, lingering criminal allegations can cast a cloud over Canada’s international reputation, which has the potential to drag down other corporate activity by Canadian firms around the world.

“There are lots of jobs and economic activity at stake, but nobody’s too big to fail, and if they’re damaging the reputation of the country—and in turn, damaging the ability of other Canadian firms to operate—they’re definitely not too big to fail,” he said.

Neil Bruce, SNC-Lavalin’s president and chief executive, has argued the criminal proceedings should be dropped in favour of mediation because of harm to the company’s operations. Last year, he told Bloomberg that the company has already lost out on about $5 billion in contracts because of the charges.

With files from Tonda MacCharles



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Anglais

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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Anglais

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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Anglais

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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