BC Investment

SNC-Lavalin & BC Liberal commonality

A reader of the piece about BC Investment Management Corporation’s holdings in unethical companies asked if the agency has a relationship with SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

Unfortunately but not surprisingly, it does. And, it has been a costly relationship. At the end of March 2011, the agency’s shares in SNC-Lavalin were worth over $100 million dollars. A year later, despite acquisition of more shares in fiscal 2012, bcIMC’s investment had dropped in value to $72 million dollars.

So, pension beneficiaries get the worst of all worlds. Their money is invested with a scofflaw accused of bribery, corruption and other ethical failures AND they take a financial kicking.

Of course, it is only coincidence that SNC-Lavalin chairman Gwyn Morgan is an important guru and financial backer of Premier Photo-Op and the BC Liberals. There is a certain similarity in their approaches to ethical matters.

Another reader suggests we read Canada Line foreign workers not paid after tribunal ruling:

“Three dozen temporary workers who helped dig the Canada Line say they still haven’t been paid after a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal awarded them more than $2 million because they were paid half what their European counterparts received.

“…In 2008, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruled a group of Latin American workers were discriminated against when they were paid half of what workers who had been brought in from Europe were given.

“The ruling ordered the employers — SNC Lavalin and Seli — to pay each worker the difference between the salary paid to them and the salary paid to others, the difference in paid expenses, and an additional $10,000 for injury to their dignity…”

The contractor has refused to pay the amounts awarded and will try to overturn the four year old Tribunal verdict by arguing in court that they should be allowed to pay wages based on the workers’ home countries, not the rates typically paid where the work is performed.

That’s an important principle for today’s multinational corporations. They want to import workers from low-wage economies and set pay rates at third world levels. That, of course, is a prescription for making Canada a third world country complete with a small layer of super-rich and a large pool of citizens competing for subsistence level jobs.

4 replies »

  1. Norm, the reason the 'Eye' asked this is that SNC Lavalin could not get enough bank financing for the Canada Line (international banking concerns do finance rapid transit systems if they deem them to have a bright future, evidently the Canada Line was not on this list) so they came cap in hand to Gordon Campbell and he compelled pension fund monies to be used as a loan for SNC Lavalin, so they could pretend that the Canada Line P-3 was successful.

    This is why no one will let BC's Auditor General anywhere near the Canada Line and Skytrain finances, way too many dragons in the swamp for the BC Liberals, the NDP, and the Socreds (if anyone is left?). This is why the mainstream media is feeding the public the fare evasion nonsense, because the financial problems around Skytrain add up to over $300 million a year; even approaching $400 million a year! Hell $10 million lost in fare evasion and another $15 million a year lost in fraudulent use of the U-pass seems peanuts when compared to the annual monies paid into Skytrain and the Canada Line.


  2. Sorry Norm, not the right place to put this but …

    BC's new watchdog for municipal governments … Ruta Basia. Another Harper/Christie/Gordo appointed employee.

    Assistant Deputy Minister (Corporate) and Chief Financial Officer
    Environment Canada – up until last year

    Public Service Pension Advisory Board
    Government of Canada


  3. A very divisive process. Pitting Canadaian workers against foreign works and then splitting foreign workers into who gets paid the most. This should be rasing red flags at all levels of government and the Union movements.
    If you want to divide and split a country, into socio-economic groups, to the point where you allow foreign contractors, to come in and take good paying jobs from Canadian workers, you get a real mess. Training for workers is terribly lacking in this country.

    Que the renewal in Canada of a much stronger and more militant Labour movement.

    Perhaps it will be for the best. Wages are not the key here. Massive profits from contracting low wage foreign workers and suppliers, is.

    Truly governments at all levels, are selling the average Canadian down the river.

    To think we actually elect these people?


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