I believe I’ve noted it here a few times already, but to me one of the amazing things about the whole SNC/PMO Scandal has been the amount of new news that keeps coming out from it. It’s been a near daily barrage of details leaking or flooding out, depending on your perspective. But one of the people that we’ve heard very little from about this whole story has been SNC-Lavalin’s CEO Neil Bruce. Well today that change, as Mr. Bruce did the media tour, talking to a lot of media outlets and dropping a lot of quotes around that I doubt the Prime Ministers Office is appreciating:
In the span of a morning, Mr. Bruce managed to lay waste to the main arguments that the Liberals have been running on about now for weeks. The same arguments that Gerald Butts made at the Justice Committee, the same ones that have been littered through out Justin Trudeau’s talking points; it’s all about saving jobs…. 9,000 jobs to be exact. Maybe more!!! Don’t you care about jobs?
But in this various media hits today, Mr. Bruce made a few things clear. First to the Canadian Press, he made one point very clear:
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Neil Bruce says the Montreal-based company, unlike the Trudeau government, has never cited the protection of 9,000 Canadian jobs as a reason it should be granted a remediation agreement to avoid a criminal trial.https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2019/03/20/snc-lavalin-ceo-says-employees-will-move-to-foreign-rivals-if-it-is-debarred/#.XJJ1yIAVKpN.twitter
However, he says there’s a public interest for such an agreement because its well-qualified employees will be forced to work for U.S. or European competitors if it is barred from bidding on federal contracts for a decade.
See folks, not only did Mr. Bruce deliberately put distance between himself and the government on the protection of jobs, he makes it very clear that their concern isn’t about jobs disappearing; it’s about their employees deciding to go work for someone else. So, for them the issue wasn’t if they stop existing or moved, it was if they would be able to hold onto their skilled workforce. And you know what, with some of the things they have been alleged to have done, they are right to worry about that. A lot of talented people would have a problem working for a company with that kind of track record. But that problem for SNC doesn’t rise to the level of a national emergency.
But Mr. Bruce didn’t stop there, he’s continued to talk to more media. He went on Bloomberg BNN and proceeded to tear more holes in the governments story. There he said that SNC had never threatened to leave Canada or Montreal. On top of that, Mr. Bruce pointed out that even if SNC was convicted of the criminal charges against them, they would still find other work in Canada.
Let’s take stock of these details; no jobs were at risk, no corporate evacuation to the UK and they feel that they will still be able to get other work in Canada. So where is the emergency here? What’s the problem that requires the government to try to move Heaven and Earth to help SNC get that Deferred Prosecution Agreement? According to what Neil Bruce has said today, there wasn’t one.
So not only do these statements totally blow up the governments arguments and defences for what’s happened so far in the SNC/PMO Scandal, it leaves a major question on the table: why would the government had done so much and gone so far here? That’s a serious question that now hangs out there because even if it wasn’t admissible, there was a certain ability to understand trying to go so far if jobs were actually on the line. That wouldn’t have made it right, but the pressure was somewhat understandable. But as we now see clearly, no such pressure existed.
Personally, I look forward to hearing the latest explanation for this turn of events, because the one thing that this news doesn’t change are the actions that Jody Wilson-Raybould testified took place. The government wasn’t even denying that any pressure was being placed and they haven’t denied they were trying to find a “solution” here. So, what is the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist according to the company who supposedly had the problem? I guess we’re about to find out what the Liberals think that might entail. Needless to say, the government still has a lot of explaining to do.