Phil Le Good: Liberal omnibus bill makes it easier for corporate wrongdoers to stay out of jail

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      By Phil Le Good

      The Liberal line is our country can't survive without SNC-Lavalin and that's just not true. There are several well-run, corrupt-free engineering and construction companies operating in Canada and all of them are capable of providing the management and staff for any federal, provincial, and/or local government projects.

      A firm like SNC-Lavalin exists because of its personnel—its human resources—to perform the duties for a government client. Most would get offers from other firms if SNC-Lavalin failed and some may find themselves with an opportunity to finally create with others their own firms. The brand, SNC-Lavalin, is not a sacred cow.

      A corporation can't be allowed to sidestep the law for its contempt of the law. It can't be allowed to just walk away with a slap of a fine it can well afford. It can't be allowed to hide behind the preposterous idea that a corporation is a person, an exceptional person, that even a federal government would bend over backward to craft a law that would provide for any corporation the ability to avoid an appropriate level of justice for breaking the law.

      If SNC-Lavalin can exist despite a tumbling share price and a global ratings cut that places the company's credit rating to the cusp of junk, then it can exist with a "punitive" fine and a ruling that it cannot bid, for 10 years, on any level of government contracts. Any one of us other "persons" would get much worse.

      Justin Trudeau promised to end the use of omnibus bills in the last federal election campaign and yet his Liberal government crafted an omnibus bill, with some corporate help, that had hidden within its large volume of paper a little addition to our Criminal Code that resembled Monopoly's "Get Out of Jail Free" card for "exceptional persons" only.

      The alleged pressure placed on the former attorney general of Canada was made legal and "ethical" by that addition to the Criminal Code. It was designed to allow the attorney general to override the director of public prosecutions in determining whether a plea bargain is appropriate for a specific crime.

      In other words, when a corporate-friendly addition was made to the Criminal Code of Canada, the Liberal government's alleged actions to pressure an attorney general became "ethical" and protected by "solicitor-client privilege". 

      Phil Le Good is a resident of Vancouver Island and former spokesperson for the No Games 2010 Coalition

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