Excusing bribery hurts, not helps, Canadian jobs

Responding to allegations of political interference into criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin executives, the Prime Minister has been quoted as saying “we will always stand up for Canadian jobs”.

Trudeau’s excusing of unethical conduct by executives at SNC-Lavalin is not standing up for jobs, in the long run he is putting jobs at risk. At worst, he is encouraging Canadian companies to engage in criminal acts opening the door for our economy to stagnate and degrade.

SNC-Lavalin has enjoyed special treatment in obtaining government contracts despite a 10-year World Bank ban and being charged again and again in engaging in corruption. Why would SNC-Lavalin change if the government has their back. Trudeau’s Liberals continue to award contracts to this firm and help them escape justice.

What does one need to do to ‘earn’ this special treatment given this would never occur for an Alberta based engineering company? Is the Prime Minister saying to get special treatment we are to bribe our way into contracts and move headquarters to Quebec? You would hope not but his actions speak louder than words.

Justin Trudeau is an engineering dropout so I forgive him for not understanding that bribery in bids is not ethical for the Professional Engineer. And yet Canadian engineering companies under Trudeau are to be not only awarded contracts for engaging in bribery but given special treatment? How is the international community supposed to trust Canadian engineering if this is the norm as the former Chief of Staff has said?

Our jobs, especially in engineering, depend on the international community believing in the technical and Professional know-how of Canadians. This trust in the Canadian brand is critical in a time the real economy suffers under considerable public debt and a time of energy transition. Our brand however is all put into jeopardy by Trudeau’s excusing of unethical behavior of SNC-Lavalin.

As the fight for jobs intensifies we also run the risk of the ethical engineer being seen as “naive”. “Why it’s just a little bit of bribery to obtain jobs and special treatment” for ‘the greater good’ one might argue. “We should look the other way.” History repeats itself again and again. You crack the door open for a little bit of corruption and you end up with organized crime. Either we have a fair and equitable justice system with one set of rules for all or we do not. A corrupt economy is a crippled economy costing the public much more than a couple thousand jobs.

One has to ask – why would SNC-Lavalin change their ways given their continued profits on government contracts and special treatment? The free market system not only allows but depends on corrupt firms to fade away to be replaced by better more technical and innovative firms generating more wealth and with it more higher paying jobs.

Our free market economy with a fair justice system stands up for Canadian jobs. Excusing criminal wrongs is not standing up for Canadian jobs. That this needs to be said in 2019 should frighten all Canadians.

About the Author

Craig Pichach is the Vice President of Operations for Andora Energy.