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International Respectability

Edward Campbell

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I have commented, before, on the relationship between "transparency" (open and honest dealings by government and businesses) and productivity. Generally the more open, honest or "transparent" a country is then the more prosperous it is, too. Canada has, also generally, ranked well in transparency but now, on one specific index - the likelihood of bribery - we have fallen, sharply according to this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canada-loses-ground-on-bribery-ranking/article2221891/
CORRUPTION

Canada loses ground on bribery ranking

JULIAN SHER
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 02, 2011

Canada has slipped from the top spot of countries with a reputation for honest overseas business practices to a much less impressive middle ranking among Western countries whose companies pay bribes abroad.

The Bribe Payers 2011 Index, compiled by the global anti-corruption group Transparency International and slated for release on Wednesday, has Canada tied with Australia in 6th place – a sharp decline from the last survey done in 2008, when Canada tied for first place with Belgium as “least likely to bribe abroad.”

The latest ranking indicates Canadian business executives are more likely to pay bribes overseas than their counterparts in the Netherlands, Switzerland or Germany, but are slightly more reputable than their corporate rivals in Britain., the U.S. and France.

“Canada needs to continue to be concerned and ensure that its laws on criminalizing the bribery outside of our borders are enforced and strengthened,” said Huguette Labelle, the Canadian chair of Transparency International. “It is clear that bribery remains a routine business practice for too many companies.”

The TI survey is not an accounting of proven cases of corruption but rather a self-reporting poll of 3,000 business executives from 30 countries around the world who were asked to talk confidentially about bribes paid to foreign governments or companies.

But Canadian executives may not even know the full extent of the corrupt practices carried out by their employees abroad, warned Rudy Duschek, a forensic investigator with chrismathers Inc., a crime and risk consulting firm in Toronto.

“Many boards of directors in Canada are fooling themselves,” he said. “They want to believe that their companies are not engaging in corrupt activity abroad but they may not be doing enough to check to see that that in fact is the case.”

Transparency International and other watchdog groups have called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other Western leaders at the G20 meeting in Cannes, France, this week to speed up implementation of the group’s new Anti-Corruption Action Plan, which includes stiffer laws and a more robust international crackdown.

The TI survey says business leaders admit they engage in “the widespread practice” of paying bribes to government officials and companies to win contracts, avoid regulation or influence policy. Public works, construction and the oil and gas sector are “especially prone” to payoffs.

“It is costing countries, people and business not only a huge amount in money and reputation but also in lives,” said Ms. Labelle, noting that corruption in the global construction trade – estimated by TI to be between 10 and 40 per cent of the billions spent worldwide – leads to unsafe buildings, roads and other structures.

Canada has been repeatedly scolded for its lacklustre performance in fighting bribery and corruption. Last spring, Transparency International singled out Canada as the only G7 country that has been stuck at the bottom of its bribery enforcement rankings since the agency began issuing its reports in 2005.

But after years of what TI and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development criticized as “little or no enforcement,” there has been a burst of activity in recent months by federal authorities to investigate bribery allegations.

In September, the Mounties searched the Oakville Ontario office of SNC-Lavalin Group, after the World Bank tipped off Canadian authorities about corruption allegations involving SNC employees and a multibillion-dollar bridge project in Bangladesh.

The World Bank has since suspended its loan for the deal pending the result of investigations. SNC said it was conducting “our own internal inquiry into the situation.”

In July, the RCMP raided the office of Blackfire Exploration Ltd., alleging in an affidavit that the company funnelled bribes to a mayor in Mexico.

And in June, Calgary-based Niko Resources paid a $9.5-million fine after pleading guilty to bribing a Bangladeshi energy minister with a luxury SUV and foreign trips.

“I don’t think we should feel comfortable or complacent at all,” said Mr. Duschek. “There still haven’t been enough cases to really grab the attention of Canadian executives.”


It is important to remember that these indices are perceptual - based on how people, including Canadians, think we act, at home and abroad, not on "proven" acts - but, especially in matters of reputation perception trumps reality. Our reputation for open, honest, fair business dealings is suffering. Our national government is, arguably correctly, focused on domestic crimes while it appears to tolerate and even reward corporate crime.

Too many businesses, especially businesses that are based in or do a lot of business in Québec (our second largest province with a strong engineering sector) are "seen" to be less than fair and honest in their dealings abroad. About half of SNC Lavalin's revenue comes from overseas work and it is, too often, linked to corruption overseas and its stance on position on corruption at home is also troubling. (SNC Lavalin is used as an example only because it is cited in the article.)

I suggest that our decline in perceived honesty is at least as important and as worthy as aggressive government action as is tougher sentencing for drug dealers - something which, by the way, I support. (Even though I would support public corporal punishment even more.)

 

RangerRay

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The headline makes it sound like bribery of Canadian public officials is on the rise.  Only when you read it, does it become clear that it's Canadian companies bribing foreign public officials.  As distasteful the practice is, in some countries, that is how things get done.

Just as long as that practice does not continue here...
 

The Bread Guy

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Reminds me of a bit from "Yes, Minister" regarding how government "gets things done" in some places (with similar wording likely being used by corporations doing the same):
.... Terms for describing bribes when drawing up contracts:
1. Below £100,000
- Retainers
- Personal donations
- Special discounts
- Miscellaneous outgoings
2. £100,000 to £500,000
- Managerial surcharge
- Operating costs
- Ex-gratia payments
- Agents' fees
- Political contributions
- Extra-contractual payments
3. £500,000 +
- Introduction fees
- Commission fees
- Managements' expenses
- Administrative overheads
- Advance against profit sharing ....
 

Edward Campbell

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RangerRay said:
The headline makes it sound like bribery of Canadian public officials is on the rise.  Only when you read it, does it become clear that it's Canadian companies bribing foreign public officials.  As distasteful the practice is, in some countries, that is how things get done.

Just as long as that practice does not continue here...


Sadly the problem of corruption, and the productivity sapping perception of untrustworthiness it creates, is not confined to international dealings according to this report which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/probe-of-canada-revenue-agency-broadened-after-new-allegations/article2224991/
Probe of Canada Revenue Agency broadened after new allegations

DANIEL LEBLANC
OTTAWA— From Friday's Globe and Mail

Last updated Friday, Nov. 04, 2011

The RCMP probe into alleged corruption among Canada Revenue Agency officials in Montreal has ballooned to other offices of the tax-collection agency across Quebec, sources say.

The RCMP and the Canada Revenue Agency have received new allegations that federal auditors used their privileged positions to line their pockets.

Launched in 2008, the RCMP investigation was targeted at operations in the CRA’s tax services offices in downtown Montreal under the codename Operation Coche. However, the RCMP has recently created an investigation into other CRA offices throughout Quebec under the codename Operation Critique, sources said.

The new investigation is deemed “extremely sensitive” in police circles because it probes links between federal tax auditors and major players in the private sector.

The growing scope of the police investigation is raising questions in the top echelons of the federal government about the state of the CRA, a powerful agency that collects hundreds of billions of dollars annually and is expected to operate with unimpeachable integrity.

Revenue Minister Gail Shea refused to comment on the situation. Her office released a written statement on her behalf.

“Our government appreciates that this is a very serious issue and we cannot tolerate the types of activities that are alleged,” she said in the statement. “An RCMP investigation into these matters is ongoing, and CRA officials are co-operating fully.”

Sources said that Operation Critique has been set up to look into allegations of irregularities outside of Montreal, fed in part by tips from CRA officials who say they engaged in or witnessed irregularities and from taxpayers. A source said that some of the cases involve allegations that CRA officials sought compensation in exchange for the favourable treatment of tax filings.

Sources have told The Globe and Mail and Radio-Canada that the RCMP has referred several files to prosecutors as part of Operation Coche. Federal prosecutors are acting on behalf of their provincial colleagues in the matter to accelerate the process, a source said.

RCMP search warrants allege that CRA officials in Montreal helped firms in Quebec’s construction industry to evade taxes. In addition, some of the CRA officials targeted by Operation Coche allegedly collected kickbacks from businessmen, such as restaurant owners, in exchange for lax audits or for turning a blind eye to unreported income.

The RCMP has also alleged in search warrants that CRA officials received gifts or compensation from a construction firm, including free home renovations, trips to Las Vegas and the Bahamas, and an upscale evening at a Montreal Canadiens home game.

A former CRA official is currently in court trying to invalidate search warrants that were used in 2009 to seize documents, computers and pictures from his home. In court documents, former team leader Adriano Furgiuele says the CRA and the RCMP obtained information on suspected wrongdoing via tax audits instead of through full-blown police investigations, which is prohibited under tax laws.

No charges have been laid as part of the RCMP investigation and none of the allegations in the search warrants have been proven in court.

Two CRA auditors, including Mr. Furgiuele, were fired in 2009 after investigators alleged that they shared a bank account containing $1.7-million in the Bahamas with Francesco Bruno, owner of construction firm B.T. Céramique. At least seven other officials in the CRA’s offices in Montreal have since been disciplined in relation to various files, including allegedly fraudulent research-and-development tax credits.

According to guilty pleas in a tax-evasion case last year, shell companies belonging to Mr. Bruno supplied fake invoices to construction firms operated by Antonio Accurso.

Last year, two construction companies that Mr. Accurso had administered pleaded guilty to committing $4-million in tax fraud by claiming non-deductible expenses such as the construction of a luxury yacht and jewellery purchases. Mr. Bruno has pleaded guilty to tax evasion.


There's a bit of dot joining that I am almost reluctant to do, but ... suppose you are a senior official in an Asian country helping your ministry to evaluate bids for a major new project. The bid from a Québec based engineering firm is very attractive and several people, including your minister, seem to favour them. You look at reports of bribery and corruption at home, in Québec, and abroad, in, say, Bangladesh, and at crumbling infrastructure in Québec which may reflect second rate work having been done for first rate prices and at more, domestic, corruption reports and you wonder: did the Canadian firm bribe my minister or some of my own junior officials? will they do good work? will they bring a corrupt business culture with them?

Hell's bells: put yourself in the place of Ottawa City which must evaluate bids from three consortia for a new light rail system. How do you rate the bid from a consortia that is linked, not tied, not guilty of anything, just associated with corruption allegations here, in Canada, and overseas?

Assume, as I do, that SNC Lavalin has done nothing wrong; it doesn't matter: it's reputation is tarnished.
 

Edward Campbell

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And more bad news which, in a perverse sort of way, might be good news, according to this report which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canada-slips-again-in-global-corruption-ranking/article2256299/
Canada slips again in global corruption ranking

JULIAN SHER
Globe and Mail Update

Published Thursday, Dec. 01, 2011

Canada continues to slip in global corruption standings, falling from 6th to 10th place in the Corruption Perceptions Index to be released Thursday.

It is Canada’s worst showing in five years in the survey by Transparency International, which ranks 183 countries in order of ‘very clean’ down to ‘highly corrupt,’ by their perceived levels of corruption based on expert assessments and domestic opinion surveys.

But Peter Dent, a director of TI in Canada and the national forensic leader at Deloitte saw the ranking as good news because it measured growing public awareness of a problem.

“Is corruption getting worse or it is being talked about more?” he said, noting that the RCMP has made a series of high-profile raids recently and Quebec has set up a public inquiry to investigate widespread reports of corruption, mainly in the construction industry.

“Now people are saying: ‘Hey maybe corruption is a big deal, maybe this is something we should pay attention to,’” Mr. Dent said.

While this latest survey measures the views of corruption inside Canada, the country’s image abroad has also been battered recently.

Just last month, Canada slid from the top spot of countries with a reputation for honest overseas business practices to a much less impressive middle ranking among Western countries whose companies pay bribes abroad according to TI’s Bribe Payers Index.

Still, Canada has always remained in the top ten least corrupt countries since 2007 and is the highest-scoring country in the Americas in the Corruption Perceptions Index.

On a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) Canada scored an 8.7. Two thirds of the ranked countries scored less than 5. Most countries struck by the Arab Spring revolts ranked in the lower half of the index.

The countries perceived to be most corrupt in the world were Somalia, North Korea, Myanmar and Afghanistan. The cleanest were New Zealand, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

Last spring, Transparency International criticized Canada for being the only G7 country that has been stuck at the bottom of its bribery enforcement rankings since the organization began issuing its reports in 2005.

While the RCMP has stepped up its investigations against corruption recently, Mr. Dent raised concerns about possible cutbacks to the force’s white collar crime activities, revealed in the Globe and Mail yesterday.

“How is that going to impact them if the already unsustainable resources are going to dwindle,” he said. “What does this indicate of the political will in Canada?”


The last paragraph is important. The political will to find and defeat corporate and political corruption (the former includes criminal labour gangs (some, not all, unions) and the latter includes many, many, many individuals who e.g. cheat on their taxes or file false claims for being handicapped or in need) is, in my perception, weak in Canada, especially in la belle province. Until we, all of us, are willing to tell Québec, especially, that it must clean up its corporate, political and, yes indeed, individual acts then we will be unable to run the sort of country in which other people want to invest.
 

Canadian.Trucker

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RangerRay said:
As distasteful the practice is, in some countries, that is how things get done.

Just as long as that practice does not continue here...
The problem is when you have Canadian citizens and businesses going abroad and conducting shady deals to "get things done", it shows there may be a wider systemic problem here in Canada.  If you have no moral qualms about doing something in someone elses backyard, how long before it's not a problem to do it in your own.
 

Rifleman62

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And who is "Transparency International" and where does their funding originate from?

Why should we believe the info on their website (which generalizes where their funding comes from {Maybe from Redeye!!})?

Who made them an authority?

Minutes after posting the above I have added this:

Thank-you TheHead for your usual deduction of points anytime "Redeye" appears in my post.
 

Edward Campbell

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While Transparency International does not provide a detailed breakdown of its funding it does offer rather more information than do most such organizations.

I think it is "trusted" because its conclusion appear, pretty much, to confirm what we see.

 

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E.R. Campbell said:
While Transparency International does not provide a detailed breakdown of its funding it does offer rather more information than do most such organizations.

I think it is "trusted" because its conclusion appear, pretty much, to confirm what we see.

They do provide a detailed breakdown in their yearly financial reports. I notice the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) gave them 437,701€ in 2010 for example. They list all individual donors over 1000€ and provide a total for all less than 1000€ which was 12,518€ in 2010. They also list restricted donations and what programs they apply to. It's very detailed and transparent.
 

Edward Campbell

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More news, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, about the fallout from the SNC Lavalin bribery matter:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/snc-lavalin-ceo-resigns/article2381181/
SNC-Lavalin CEO resigns

PAUL WALDIE

Globe and Mail Update
Published Monday, Mar. 26, 2012

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC-T39.270.671.74%) has announced the departure of chief executive officer Pierre Duhaime amid allegations he allowed a series of unauthorized payments totalling $56-million to be made by a former vice president.

The company outlined a series of findings from an internal review headed by the company’s board of directors.

The review concludes that the company cannot properly account for $56-million in payments, some of which went to “agents” working on various projects in Libya. The payments were directed by former executive vice president Riadh Ben Aissa, who headed the company’s operations in Libya. SNC dismissed Mr. Ben Aissa in February although he has insisted he resigned.

According to the report, Mr. Duhamie authorized some payments over the objections of the company’s chief financial officer and chairman.

“The matter was brought to the CEO, who authorized or permitted [Mr. Ben Aissa] to make the payments through his division,” the company said.

“While the CEO thought he had the authority to do so, he should have confirmed his authority but did not. The CEO’s authorization of these payments did not comply with the agents policy and therefore was in breach of the [company’s ethics] code.”

The company added that Mr. Ben Aissa has not co-operated with the review. Another former executive, Stephane Roy, who was also dismissed has not met with the board committee overseeing the review.

SNC said Ian Bourne, a director, will serve as interim CEO while a search begins.

“The Board has accepted [Mr. Duhaime’s] decision to step down, and we wish him well in the future,” chairman Gwyn Morgan said in a statement.

The company also reported that its profit in the fourth quarter fell to $76-million from $132.6-million in the same quarter a year earlier.

The company said the review started after it received information about two agency agreements in January as part of an accounting review. Payments under those agreements totalled $33.5-million and had been made in the fourth quarter of 2011, the company said Monday.

The reviewed expanded in February after the committee learned about $22.5-million in payments under separate arrangements one dating back to 2009.

None of the payments had been properly authorized, the company said, and they did not relate to the projects.

SNC said the committee’s review was hampered by a number of factors beyond Mr. Ben Aissa’s lack of cooperation. It said some of the third parties identified by its investigators also refused to cooperate and some former employees, unnamed, used non-company e-mail addresses with passwords that the committee couldn’t access.

While Mr. Ben Aissa directed the agency payments, the company said the committee “has found no direct and conclusive evidence establishing the nature of the services or actions undertaken by, or the true identity of, any presumed agent.”

When Mr. Ben Aissa tried to get approval for the $33.5-million in agency payments, SNC’s chief financial officer and company chairman refused. However, Mr. Duhame signed off on the payments and allowed Mr. Ben Aissa to make them through his division.

The payments were supposed to help secure contracts but the board committee said it “found no direct and conclusive evidence establishing the exact use, purpose or beneficiaries of payments made under the [agreements]”.

The identity of the agencies were also never disclosed, the company said in its report.

SNC also said it had received an invoice for $8.25-million (U.S.) in 2011 from an agent related to a project, but it refused payment. On March 21, 2012, SNC said lawyers for the company that sent the invoice demanded payment. SNC has said it cannot find any proper documentation for the invoice or how it related to the project.

“The independent review has found no direct and conclusive evidence establishing the nature of the services or actions undertaken by, or the true identity of, the presumed agent. From the business intelligence gathered, the named counterparty appears to be without substance, and the true principal involved in the transaction does not appear to be an individual named on the public registers relating to the counterparty.”


So now we know that the bribes were approved in Montreal by a Canadian senior executive ... they are not just local palm greasing between Libyans, one of whom just happens to work for Lavalin.

 

Colin Parkinson

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Mind you when people overseas see headlines here about corruptions, senior ex resigning, they are impressed that we actually seem to care about this stuff. For most countries it's a fact of life that receives scant light and acts as a noose around their necks, slowly tightening it's grip till the society can no longer function.
 

Edward Campbell

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E.R. Campbell said:
Scandal has been a feature of Canadian politics since well before 1867. What has changed, since the 1970s, is that we used to be scandalized, at least a little bit. In the ‘70s we learned to accept lies and scandal as the price we had to pay if we wanted (as we most certainly did) to slavishly emulate our American neighbours.

They, the political ”pros” in Ottawa – schooled by their friends in Washington – told us not to worry: we had out very own, Kennedyesque leader, just the like the Americans; we were “cool,” too, because our leader was bedding Hollywood celebrities, just like the Americans we idolized; we were “with it,” far removed from the old, white, mostly WASP men who had governed from the grey background for so long. So the ‘price’ was more than just a whiff of corruption and incidents of incompetence; so the price was a stark repudiation of decades of sound, solid, prudent policy in return for a dilettante’s flirtations with the communist dictator flavour of the month, so what? We had our very own little, frozen, imitation Camelot.

Scandals are, indeed, part of the price of partisan politics; politics is a highly human enterprise and humans, as we all ought to understand, are very, very imperfect – that’s why socialism is, always and everywhere and without exception, a stupid idea. “From each according to ability and to each according to his needs”: might be wonderful (but I doubt it) and it might even be achievable when/IF humans are perfect; we aren’t, so socialism = pushing on a rope – an exercise in futility that keeps the terminally stupid busy.

The fact that some level of scandal is inevitable does not mean we have to just “lie back think of England.” We, citizens, can and should keep our political leaders’ feet to the ethical fires and demand that they keep cleaning house. The House of Commons in Ottawa is, as it always has been, a sort of Augean stables and rivers of effort will be required to get it fairly clean and keep it that way; the fact that it is a Herculean labour ought not to keep us from it.

I do think however, that we need to separate broken promises (remember “Zap! You’re frozen.”? That was an order of magnitude greater a lie than the Income Trusts issue.) from real scandals – like Shawinigate and l’affair Beaudoin (in which former prime Minister Chrétien attempted to strong-arm  François Beaudoin, president of the federal Business Development Bank of Canada, to aprove a $2 million loan for Yvon Duhaime, who bought the Auberge Grand-Mère from  Chrétien and needs the money to make the deal work). Those were instances where the serving Prime Minister of Canada and the office of the PM were tarnished soiled by real scandal. That’s the sort of thing we ought to require our parliamentarians to investigate – no matter which party is involved.


And, as if to revel in the fact that we are no longer scandalized by the Adscam or Shawinigate sort of thing, Jean Chrétien does another complex land/money, deal according to this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/chrtien-expands-lakeside-domain-in-quebec-with-complex-land-deal/article4750664/
Chrétien expands lakeside domain in Quebec with complex land deal

DANIEL LEBLANC
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Oct. 30 2012

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien has put together a complex land swap with the city of Shawinigan that will see him give up 108,000 square metres of land for a 9,000-square-metre plot next to his property on picturesque Lac de Piles.

Mr. Chrétien had long coveted the land to expand his domain, but the protected area was not available through a simple sale. To make it happen, the former prime minister first bought five other nearby lots that were owned, in part, by a member of the billionaire Desmarais family, his son-in-law André.

Mr. Chrétien then agreed to transfer the five lots to the city of Shawinigan in exchange for the single lot that adjoined his own cottage. To facilitate the swap, Mr. Chrétien agreed to forfeit any money from the city of Shawinigan. Instead, he took a charitable tax receipt of $548,000, which could be worth a deduction in the $260,000 range on his income-tax bill.

However, Mr. Chrétien’s large tax receipt – to be used to lower his income tax bill – is based on the premise that the five lots that he purchased in 2010 have since increased 73 per cent in value.

web-chretien-landswap-graphic.jpg

Infographic courtesey of the Globe and Mail

The city of Shawinigan is pleased with the overall deal, which will not cost it a cent.

Mr. Chrétien did not speak directly to the sale, but through a spokesman said other similar swaps have been done in the area.

“The city is happy, Mr. Chrétien is happy, obviously so are the other owners on the lake,” said Bruce Hartley, a long-time aide to the former prime minister.

The lot Mr. Chrétien is getting in the deal was long protected by the city, given the proximity to the municipal intake that provides much of the area’s drinking water. After Mr. Chrétien became prime minister, the city did allow the RCMP to build a second getaway route and a hut on the land. However, it reclaimed full ownership after Mr. Chrétien left office.

The lot has a municipal assessment of $390,000. However, as part of the transaction, it is being valued at only $212,000, based on an independent assessment that considers the impact of a new clause that prohibits any construction on the land.

The five nearby lots that are being transferred to the city in the deal were acquired for $440,000 by Mr. Chrétien from a private trust called Fiducie Forden two years ago. According to public records, one of the three signatories for the sellers was Mr. Desmarais, who is married to Mr. Chrétien’s daughter, France.

The five lots, which total 108,000 square metres, have been assessed by an independent evaluator at $760,000, meaning the city has determined that its market value has increased by $320,000 since it was bought by Mr. Chrétien.

Overall, Mr. Chrétien is handing over five lots worth $760,000 in exchange for a single lot worth $212,000. To make up the difference, Mr. Chrétien will receive a tax receipt of $548,000 for his donation “for the environment.”

The city does not plan to sell its five new lots, in a bid to protect the water intake from the damage that would come from the construction of new cottages on the lake. However, the independent assessment of the lots was based on their market value in a sale to would-be cottagers.

Diane Bruneau, a professor of law and expert in fiscal matters at the University of Montreal, said the tax receipt can lead to a maximum reduction of 48 per cent of its value – or about $263,000 – on Mr. Chrétien’s final tax bill if he is a resident of Quebec for tax purposes. The receipt can lead to maximum tax savings of $254,000 if Mr. Chrétien is a resident of Ontario for tax purposes, added lawyer Christian Meighen at McCarthy Tétrault.

“Mr. Chrétien could have sold his lots for new cottages, but we will make sure that there is no construction there, and there will also not be any construction on the property that we are ceding to Mr. Chrétien,” said Shawinigan’s director of communications, François St-Onge.

Mr. St-Onge said he is unaware who initiated the land swap, although he did confirm that “Mr. Chrétien was interested ever since the RCMP gave back the land to the city.”


I don't know if this story will have "legs" in Canada, M. Chrétien still commands a powerful and ruthlessly effective propaganda PR team, but it adds to our broad and generally rancid reputation for tolerating small time corruption ~ Justice Gomery was right, it's "small town cheap," and it's probably crooked, too.
 
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Brad Sallows

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I think more politicians should never pass up an opportunity to point out to the world how small they are.
 

Edward Campbell

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E.R. Campbell said:
More news, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, about the fallout from the SNC Lavalin bribery matter:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/snc-lavalin-ceo-resigns/article2381181/

So now we know that the bribes were approved in Montreal by a Canadian senior executive ... they are not just local palm greasing between Libyans, one of whom just happens to work for Lavalin.


And, in terms of Canada's international reputation, SNC Lavalin is the "gift that keeps on giving" according to an article in the Globe and Mail, which tells us that the Swiss have charged a former SNC Lavalin senior executive and that the amounts involved have grown from $50+ Million to about $140 Million.
 

dapaterson

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So, to recap:

The mayors of Montreal and Laval have quit under a cloud.

The mayor of London (ON) has been charged for allegedly using public money when he was a member of parliament to pay for his son's wedding reception.

And today a judge will release his decision on whether or not the mayor of Toronto is to be removed from office.


On the plus side, Ontario is proving that corruption isn't just a Quebec problem any more...
 

Retired AF Guy

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dapaterson said:
So, to recap:

The mayors of Montreal and Laval have quit under a cloud.

The mayor of London (ON) has been charged for allegedly using public money when he was a member of parliament to pay for his son's wedding reception.

And today a judge will release his decision on whether or not the mayor of Toronto is to be removed from office.


On the plus side, Ontario is proving that corruption isn't just a Quebec problem any more...

I don't consider what Mayor Ford is alleged to have done as being corruption; dumb yes, but not corruption.
 

Edward Campbell

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Retired AF Guy said:
I don't consider what Mayor Ford is alleged to have done as being corruption; dumb yes, but not corruption.


I agree with you there, plus what Mayor Fontana is alleged to have done occurred when he was a federal (Liberal) MP. My sense is that ON does not have the same local corruption as does QC ... but maybe that's just wishful thinking.

On SNC Lavalin: part of the responsibility is national. Both SNC, a civil engineering firm ,and Lavalin, a more general engineering, began to get lucrative foreign contracts in the early 1960s from the old External Affairs Department and later (after 1968) from CIDA. There was nothing to suggest that either firm was less than fully able to do the work required but the work was, too often, unnecessary. Foreign Aid in the 1960s, '70s and '80s was, in large measure, aimed at supporting Canadian industries by building unneeded railways or "bridges to nowhere." The real aim was to keep Canadian locomotive plants working; to keep Canadians employed. In the 1980s, under economic pressures, we began to put more emphasis on useful aid but the now merged firm of SNC Lavalin needed a steady flow of contracts - in part because it was, and still is, a mainstay of Québec inc. Without CIDA money, and in the face of stiff competition (often bribe laden competition) from other countries, including from the USA which still does a HUGE amount of "tied" aid, SNC Lavalin also, apparently, resorted to bribes.
 
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