Connect with us


SNC-Lavalin still under investigation from RCMP in Quebec




SNC-Lavalin’s legal troubles aren’t limited to charges from federal authorities, as the RCMP is working with prosecutors in Quebec in an investigation into a bridge renovation project.

An affidavit filed in support of a search warrant application last May indicates the RCMP suspects “high-level company officials were aware” of kickback payments made to the former head of Canada’s Federal Bridge Corporation, Michel Fournier.

He pleaded guilty in 2017 to receiving $2.3 million from an SNC subsidiary between 2001 and 2003. Fournier admitted that, in exchange, he helped the corporation secure a $127-million contract to refurbish Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge.

The RCMP’s investigation continued after Fournier’s guilty plea. Officers carried out a series of searches at SNC-Lavalin’s Montreal headquarters last spring and summer.

“As this is an ongoing criminal investigation, we are not in a position to comment at this time,” an RCMP spokesperson told CBC News on Tuesday.

At the same time as those search warrants were being carried out, company representatives were lobbying the federal government, and opposition politicians as well, for a new legal provision known as a remediation agreement.

The agreement — which was passed into law in June as part of the Liberal government’s budget implementation bill — allows companies to negotiate a fine in order to avoid prosecution.

In 2015, federal prosecutors charged SNC-Lavalin with bribing Libyan government officials and defrauding Libyan organizations. 

Jody Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the justice portfolio in January. On Tuesday, she announced she was quitting the federal cabinet after serving briefly as minister for veterans affairs. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Those charges have been a source of uncertainty for the company. If found guilty, it would be slapped with a 10-year ban on receiving federal government contracts.

When prosecutors announced in October they would not be pursuing a remediation deal, the company’s shares tumbled to their lowest level in six years.    

RCMP working with Quebec Crown 

According to the Globe and Mail, former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould came under pressure from the Prime Minister Office’s to push her department to strike an agreement with SNC.

That allegation, denied by the PMO, set off a controversy on Parliament Hill that reached a new inflection point Tuesday with Wilson-Raybould’s decision to resign from cabinet. 

Also this week, the federal ethics commissioner announced he will investigate claims that the PMO pressured Wilson-Raybould to try to ensure SNC-Lavalin would avoid prosecution.

Detils of the RCMP’s bridge investigation were first reported by Montreal’s La Presse.

CBC News consulted court documents on Tuesday that confirmed not only is an RCMP investigation ongoing, but that the Mounties are working with provincial prosecutors as well.

Former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime pleaded guilty to a charge of helping a public servant commit breach of trust for his role in a bribery scandal linked to the construction of a $1.3-billion hospital in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Crown attorneys in Quebec applied in December for the right to hold on to material seized during the RCMP searches at SNC-Lavalin headquarters. It would be up to the province to prosecute any suspected Criminal Code infractions. 

A spokesperson for the Quebec Crown declined to comment on the case. 

Takeover concerns

The federal charges SNC-Lavalin is facing differ from other recent criminal prosecutions, which have targeted former company executives as opposed to the company itself.

Earlier this month, for example, ex-CEO Pierre Duhaime pleaded guilty to playing a minor role in a $22.5-million bribery scheme that saw company money buy privileged information, allowing it to win a huge contract to build and maintain Montreal’s first superhospital, the McGill University Health Centre.

SNC-Lavalin did not respond to a request for comment. In the past, it has said it brought in a new management team after Duhaime left the company in 2012 and implemented tougher corporate governance practices.

It is unclear whether the RCMP investigation into the Jacques Cartier Bridge project is targeted at former employees or the company itself.

The search warrants state that officers believe four counts of fraud on the government were committed. When the RCMP searched SNC-Lavalin’s headquarters last year, they were looking for documents dating from 2000 to 2004.

Premier François Legault expressed his concern Tuesday about the prospect of protracted court cases involving the company, worrying they could devalue SNC shares and make it vulnerable to a foreign takeover.

“If the federal process takes two years, then there could be uncertainty for two years,” Legault told reporters in Quebec City. 

“SNC-Lavalin doesn’t have a majority shareholder, so there is a risk of it being an easy target for a buyer.”

The company’s shares rose 28 cents on the TSX Tuesday, closing at $34.28.


Source link

قالب وردپرس


List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa




With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

Continue Reading


Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV




A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

Continue Reading


COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence




Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

Article content

“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

Continue Reading