Already embroiled in controversy, SNC-Lavalin was dealt another blow when an executive testified that the company helped raise funds for political parties in Quebec.
SNC-Lavalin vice president Yves Cadotte made the admission at the Charbonneau Commission, an inquiry looking into allegations of corruption by the engineering giant.
Cadotte said that over a period spanning from 1998 to 2010, company executives would be given bonuses which they and their spouses would then donate to the Liberal Party and the Parti Quebecois.
According to the vice president, the executives involved donated more than $1 million to the two parties. According to Quebec law, companies are not allowed to fund political parties.
While Cadotte said he does not feel the funds helped SNC-Lavalin land public contracts, but added that the company was concerned that not donating could have adversely affected the company’s standing.
“Not contributing would be a risk that is perhaps intangible,” he said. “Maybe there is no (form of repercussions), but in our mind it’s a risk we don’t necessarily want to take.”
Cadotte told the commission that former SNC-Lavalin vice president Pierre Anctil gave him money to hand over to Union Montreal fundraiser Bernard Trepanier. Trepanier was once a Liberal Party strategist.
“Mr. Trepanier climbed in my car, I had the envelope; we drove a little bit and I gave him the envelope,” Cadotte said.
The company is also said to have given $200,000 to the campaign of former Mayor Gerald Tremblay through its executives.
The allegations stemmed from investigative journalism carried out by former La Presse journalist Andre Noel, who looked into campaign contributions and noted that many people in working class neighbourhoods had donated the maximum amount of $1,000.
In investigating, many of those who donated said they had been reimbursed by their workplace for the donations, while others said they did not know their names were being used.
SNC-Lavalin denied the allegations, saying Cadotte’s allegations were false.
Published on 18 March 2013