By Scott Taylor
Almost lost in the current media storm surrounding the resignation of former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould, sparked by allegations that she faced political pressure from Prime Minister Trudeau’s office, is the timeline of events surrounding the original infraction.
Yes, we are all aware that Quebec based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin was lobbying Trudeau’s inner circle hard in order to secure a deferred prosecution agreement, rather than face a possible criminal conviction for bribery charges.
In turn Wilson-Raybould has testified before the Commons Justice committee that Trudeau’s Principal Secretary Gerald Butts, and Chief Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick pressured her on this file. Their argument was that a criminal conviction in court would preclude SNC-Lavalin from bidding on future Federal government tenders. Should that occur, SNC-Lavalin executives had suggested they would fold up their headquarters tent in Montreal, and some 9000 skilled jobs would vanish from the Canadian landscape. This would of course not sit well with voters in an election year.
The recent allegations of attempted political interference in this case have made this a decidedly Liberal Party scandal, with the Conservative opposition circulating petitions urging Trudeau to resign.
Upon closer examination however, the actual accusations of SNC-Lavalin having bribed their way into lucrative Libyan construction contracts spans the period of 2001 to 2011. During that decade it is alleged that SNC-Lavalin representatives paid an estimated $48 million in bribes to members of the Gaddafi family.
During a 2008 visit to Canada it is believed that Garda World was hired by SNC-Lavalin to protect Saadi Gaddafi, the former Libyan President’s third eldest son. That protection by Garda is alleged to have included some $30,000 worth of prostitutes and some tickets to a Spice Girls concert.
The timeframe also puts this sordid affair back onto the Harper Conservatives. Fast forward to the Spring of 2011 and the start of the Libyan uprising. At that juncture, no doubt thanks in part to the $48 million in palm grease paid to the Gaddafi family, SNC-Lavalin had secured billions of dollars’ worth of construction in Libya. Heck, they were even in the process of building a big new jail for the very President we were now labeling as a bloodthirsty despot.
Foreign Affairs minister John Baird was among the loudest and most bellicose of western voices demanding that ‘Gaddafi must go!’.
To help make that happen, Canada was among the first countries to participate in the NATO air campaign aimed at destroying the Gaddafi loyalist forces.
It took a hell of a lot longer than anyone would have imagined for the world’s most sophisticated air armada to defeat a fourth-rate African army, but by early October 2011, the end was clearly nigh. The last of the Gaddafi loyalists were contained alongside their embattled leader in the town of Sirte.
On 11 October, 2011, a full nine days before Libyan rebels would capture and murder Gaddafi, Baird made a secret visit into the rebel held Libyan capital of Tripoli. During that whirlwind trip Baird met with and praised several of the Libyan rebel leaders and he announced Canada’s commitment of $10 million to secure Libyan weapons once the war was finally won.
Travelling with Baird were a number of Canadian business executives, including representatives from SNC-Lavalin, eager to start a new round of lucrative Libyan projects under the new post-Gaddafi leaders. Keep in mind that at this point Gaddafi was still alive and fighting.
So, if we are to believe that paying bribes to corrupt third world leaders in order to obtain contracts is criminal nature, how do we define using military force to effect regime change, and then bringing in the carpet-baggers to profit from the puppet regime which we installed next?
The only problem with the Libyan caper was that Baird and company failed to listen to Ambassador Sandra McCardell. She was with Baird in Tripoli as he used that same visit to reopen our Embassy.
Her prophetic statement to the Canadian Press at that time was that getting the guns out of the hands of young, heavily armed rebels would be the best way for Canada to contribute to Libya’s post-Gaddafi reconstruction. That’s right, the best way to help Libya would be for us to disarm the rebels we had armed.
Baird never did say just how his $10 million pledged funding would actually secure the Libyan arsenals, but suffice it to say whatever he had planned, failed miserably.
Once Gaddafi was dead, the various rebel groups, Islamic extremists, human traffickers and tribal thugs began fighting among themselves. Libya quickly plunged into a failed state of violent anarchy, where it remains to this date.
The Trudeau Liberals tried to avoid a possible criminal conviction for SNC-Lavalin’s alleged bribery. That’s bad.
Canada, along with the U.S., UK and France toppled a dictator and destroyed Libya. That’s worse.