Let’s be clear – if the Conservatives had faced the SNC-Lavalin issue, there would have been no scandal.
This is because they would have very quietly given SNC-Lavalin everything it wanted, and let them off the hook for corruption charges.
The only reason this is an issue at all is that there appears to have been a Liberal cabinet minister who was not corrupt. Of course, it also appears that she paid a price for that.
But what we should be talking about is why we would want to let SNC-Lavalin off the hook at all. On the news this morning there was commentary to the effect that ‘everyone wants to make sure SNC-Lavalin is not harmed by these charges’.
But the jobs won’t disappear just because SNC-Lavalin does. Government contracts – like Ottawa’s LRT system – will continue to exist. Other (hopefully more ethical) companies will appear to fill the gap.
Companies shouldn’t get a free pass on their misdeeds (I don’t care whether the U.S. and the U.K. already have laws to this effect – they’re hardly role models).
We should do business properly and ethically in Canada. That means penalizing companies that perpetuate shady business practices. Because companies that get away with bribing officials in Libya won’t think twice about doing the same in Canada.
Of course, like I say, all this goes away quietly under a Conservative government. It just becomes business as usual.