SNC-Lavalin violated election rules with campaign donations, commissioner rules
Problematic contributions made between 2004 and 2011
The federal elections commissioner says SNC-Lavalin has entered into a compliance agreement for making nearly $118,000 in contributions that violated the Canada Elections Act over a seven-year period.
The commissioner says the contributions were made to the Liberals and Conservatives between March 9, 2004, and May 1, 2011.
In the past, CBC has reported on one instance of something similar, in which a number of SNC-Lavalin executives and their families donated $15,000 to the campaign of a conservative candidate in the 2011 election.
The commissioner's report Thursday singles out almost $118,000 in contributions made to federal parties, including:
- Liberal Party of Canada: $83,534.51;
- Various registered riding associations of the Liberal Party of Canada: $13,552.13;
- Contestants in the Liberal Party of Canada's 2006 leadership race: $12,529.12;
- Conservative Party of Canada: $3,137.73; and
- Various registered riding associations and candidates of the Conservative Party of Canada: $5,050.00.
A spokeswoman for the Commissioner of Canada Elections said all of the money has been recovered from both political parties, including the money donated to four former Liberal leadership candidates: Gerard Kennedy, Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Stéphane Dion.
Under the compliance agreement, SNC-Lavalin waived its rights to the money, which was reimbursed to the Receiver General of Canada and goes into the federal government's general revenues.
Liberal Party spokeswoman Marjolaine Provost told CBC News the party first learned the donations had exceeded legal limits when it received a letter from the commissioner last month. "The party has already been reviewing donation acceptance policies and practices this year to build on our commitment to accountability and transparency, and LPC will be continuing that work in the months ahead," Provost said.
According to the compliance agreement, the commissioner says former senior executives with the Montreal-based engineering firm solicited employees to make political contributions and in some cases, those employees were reimbursed with false personal expenses, fictitious bonuses or other benefits.
Under current election rules, employees are welcome to make political donations and volunteer on their own time, but can't be rewarded by their employer for doing so, or use company resources in the process.
"I am pleased that this agreement was reached. It once again shows our desire and commitment to resolve past issues," SNC-Lavalin's president and CEO Neil Bruce said. "Our cooperation with the commissioner reflects the efforts and progress we have made in terms of ethics and compliance since 2012, which our clients and partners now recognize."
With files from CBC News