Remember when SNC-Lavalin funnelled $100k to the Liberals?

A bombshell Globe and Mail report accuses key players in the Prime Minister’s Office of attempting to interfere in the prosecution of Montréal-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

The report alleges the PMO tried to pressure former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to force the public prosecutor to settle, which is what SNC-Lavalin wants. When she refused, she was demoted to a less significant cabinet role.

The Prime Minister’s Office denies the allegations, and Wilson-Raybould is refusing to comment.

The ongoing case involves millions of dollars in alleged bribes to Libyan officials—including $160 million to Saadi Gaddafi. This is just one of several instances where SNC-Lavalin or its executives have faced prosecution for corruption, typically revolving around bribes.

The firm’s former CEO just last week pleaded guilty on a multimillion dollar bribery scheme involving a $1.3 billion contract for a Montréal superhospital.

Another key executive illegally funnelled a six-figure sum to the federal Liberals.

Last May, former SNC-Lavalin vice-president Normand Morin was charged with engineering a scheme to illegally donate more than $100,000 to the Liberal Party of Canada, as well as Liberal riding associations and leadership candidates.

These donations took place over a period of seven years, during which $8,000 was given to Conservatives through the same scheme.

Employees would donate in their names, but the company would cover the donation through reimbursements for “false refunds for personal expenses or payment of fictitious bonuses.” Corporate contributions have been illegal in Canada since 2006.

Despite the scale and significance of the scam, Morin was required to pay only $2,000 as punishment after pleading guilty in November. The media didn’t report on his plea until last month.

SNC-Lavalin admitted there were other executives involved, though they were never publicly identified and Morin was the only one charged.

Though this didn’t stop SNC-Lavalin from having high-level access to Justin Trudeau’s office.

Since 2017, the company’s representatives have met with senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office—including Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts—on 14 occasions, purportedly to lobby for “justice,” which seems to be an odd topic for an engineering firm.

For optics alone, the PMO shouldn’t have been taking meetings with representatives of a company facing ongoing criminal prosecution.

I’m inclined to side with NDP member of parliament Charlie Angus in saying SNC-Lavalin shouldn’t even have access to federal contracts, given its track record of corruption.

If the Globe report is true, thank goodness Wilson-Raybould had the moral grounding to say no, despite it coming at a personal cost.

It’s clear the ties between the Liberals and SNC-Lavalin run deep.

The Liberals want to end fake news, but who decides what that is?

If you’re singing the fake news blues, the federal government wants you to believe it has the answer.

My Loonie Politics column this week tackles the announcement made by a panel of cabinet ministers laying out how the Justin Trudeau’s government plans to safeguard this year’s federal election.

You can read the full column here if you’re a Loonie Politics subscriber. (If not, use promo code ‘Lawton’ for a discounted subscription.)

Here’s an excerpt:

Canada’s long-awaited answer to foreign interference in elections has arrived, but it seems to create an opening for domestic meddling — by the government itself.

With nine months to go until this year’s federal election, a team of ministers from Justin Trudeau’s cabinet announced this week a “sweeping series” of measures aimed to safeguard Canadian democracy.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally I don’t know, but a glaring question remains after the government reiterated its commitment to purging misinformation from social media sites: who decides what misinformation really is?

Facts are black and white, but interpretations of them aren’t always so clear, especially when politics is concerned.

Most people would agree social media companies should spike content posted by Russian bots falsely linking politicians with criminality.  But what about content that isn’t as easy to parse?

Such as a claim that a carbon tax is nothing but a cash grab.  Or a study critical of the government’s track record on economics.  Or someone saying the Liberals have been dishonest about their balanced budget plans (or lack thereof.)

These all sound like critiques that fall within the boundaries of civilized debate, but they share something in common: all were called “fake news” by high-ranking government officials.

Trudeau attacks immigration “fear mongering” day after CBSA exposes human smuggling network

Justin Trudeau once again employed his favorite trope by calling out “fear mongering” about Canada’s border security and immigration system.

It took a special kind of ignorance, considering only one day earlier Canada’s border protection agency exposed a network of cross-border migrant smugglers.

Hours before Trudeau’s remarks, two males in Kingston were arrested over what the RCMP call “national security” concerns. At least one of them is a Syrian refugee.

Though Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, chief Trudeau advisor Gerald Butts, and Trudeau himself have all accused critics of “fear mongering” in recent months, this instance is perhaps the most tone deaf.

At a town hall in Miramachi, New Brunswick Thursday night, a young Syrian refugee rose to thank Trudeau for bringing her family to Canada.

After a bit of chest thumping about his government’s resettlement of Syrian refugees, Trudeau made an unprompted pivot to the broader immigration discussion in Canada.

“There are people trying to create fears around the country around immigration…. The kind of fear-mongering, the kind of intolerance, the kind of misinformation that unfortunately is going on across the country and around the world is something that all of us have a responsibility to engage with in a positive and thoughtful way,” he said.

The “fear” about which is speaks is actually concern from large swaths of Canadians that there are people abusing the country’s immigration system, lawlessly traipsing across the border, and making false asylum claims. All of this is happening.

Trudeau should be more concerned with the problem itself than he is with those speaking up about it.

But his government wants to pretend there is no problem, that the border “crisis” is a right wing concoction.

Even so, on Wednesday the Canada Border Services Agency charged Olayinka Celestina Opaleye with allegedly smuggling 10 or more asylum claimants into Canada in exchange for compensation.

CBSA alleges Opaleye was operating as part of a “network of smugglers” utilizing Roxham Rd. in Quebec. If convicted, Opaleye could face a $1 million fine or life in prison.

The law understands the seriousness of illegal immigration more than Trudeau does.

This charge doesn’t reflect an isolated incident, either.

A Cornwall man was sentenced in 2017 for smuggling foreign nationals facing deportation from the United States into Canada for money. A Regina couple was sentenced last year for bringing nine illegal immigrants into Canada.

While illegal border crossing between Canada and the United States has always been an issue, American authorities say the smugglers are now more sophisticated and better organized than ever before.

In the United States, that means taking it more seriously. In Canada, it somehow means the opposite.

The charges against Opaleye prove what critics of the pipeline of illegal immigrants into Canada have been warning—that not all of the tens of thousands of asylum seekers who’ve come to Canada in the last two years have done so with pure intentions.

Located south of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Roxham Rd. is supposed to be a dead end street, but is now a de facto freeway for illegal immigrants.

As many as 96 per cent of illegal immigrants into Canada last year came in that way. Instead of stopping it, the CBSA has set up a processing centre on site to stream line asylum applications. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been known to help illegal immigrants with their luggage.

It makes the human smuggling business particularly easy when Canadian authorities are doing the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively). All the smugglers have to do is get people to the border and Trudeau’s government does the rest of the work.

What a great industry to be in. Cross-border human smuggling may well be the only growth area of Canada’s economy under Justin Trudeau.

The government may wish to whitewash the problem by calling it “irregular” immigration, but it’s illegal. That’s why a woman was charged with facilitating and organizing it.

Our border is seen as irrelevant and our immigration system is abused. Yet Trudeau says “fear mongering” is the real problem.

Andrew Lawton is a fellow at True North. You can support his and his colleagues’ work with a small monthly contribution by joining the Heritage Club.

Liberal’s identity politics may aid Singh in BC byelection

Byelections are always exciting as national energy, issues and campaigns condense themselves into disparate ridings across the country.

British Columbia’s Burnaby South byelection, one of three in Canada slated for next month, is shaping up to be no disappointment.

Karen Wang resigned as the Liberal candidate (and is now trying to withdraw her resignation) over a WeChat message identifying her NDP opponent (also the party’s leader) by his Indian race.

I tackle this in my Loonie Politics column this week, which you can check out with a discounted subscription by using the promotional code “Lawton.”

Here’s an excerpt of the piece:

It should serve as a cautionary tale to politicians who find themselves tempted to adjust their message based on whichever audience is in front of them.

I experienced what everyone running for office must feel at some point when someone asks you a question in a way that makes it clear one answer will get you their vote and another won’t.  If your view is at odds with theirs, you have to decide whether the vote or your moral compass is more important.

Of course, if a lack of votes equates to a plethora of principles I’m in good moral standing.

Wang may have gotten carried away by that same spirit, feeling in that moment like a throwaway line about Singh’s Indian background would help win people over.

Morality aside, Wang’s case proves that those who go down this road are likely to be caught.  If you privately make a promise or a claim you wouldn’t publicly, someone is going to demand accountability at some point.

The deception of “non-binding” resolutions

Canada’s parliament launched a “whole of government approach” to fighting Islamophobia. Justin Trudeau is imposing a national carbon tax to fulfill obligations under the Paris climate change accord. The United Nations Security Council declared Israel to be in “flagrant violation” of international law.

These situations all share something in common: they came about through “non-binding” resolutions. That didn’t stop them from having real consequences.

A more significant one is looming: the United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is set to be signed by representatives of dozens of countries—including Canada—next week in Morocco.

Like any General Assembly resolution, the pact itself isn’t legally binding, though no one should be duped into thinking it carries no weight.

Just listen to the way the compact’s champions describe it.

The United Nations says it is a “critical” step to tackling international migration.

In a Maclean’s op-ed, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said “member states and partners will thus hold each other more accountable on their promises to deliver results for refugees and their hosts.”

Not only will Canada be expected to adhere to the agreement, but countries like Greece and Sudan will be the ones enforcing it should they sign on.

Trudeau has mocked those who say the document threatens sovereignty. How does it not, when nation-states will be responsible for policing each other’s immigration policies?

Louise Arbour, the UN’s special representative for international migration, said in an interview it was “puzzling” that countries were rejecting the compact.

“There is not a single country that is obligated to do anything that it doesn’t want to,” she said.

Perhaps that’s why so many countries are refusing to sign—because they already know they don’t want what it prescribes. Like most supporters of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, Arbour and Hussen want us to believe this is somehow of “critical” importance, yet also toothless.

The only reason these sorts of initiatives are couched in such equivocal terms is to shroud their Orwellian nature. That’s the only way to describe an agreement compelling signatories to govern the tone of media coverage of immigration.

This is one of the clauses:

“Promote independent, objective and quality reporting of media outlets, including internet-based information, including by sensitizing and educating media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology, investing in ethical reporting standards and advertising, and stopping allocation of public funding or material support to media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants, in full respect for the freedom of the media.”

This clause is part of the pact’s core objective to “shape perceptions of migration.”

The UN’s position—and as of next week, Canada’s—is that anyone who believes in anything other than open borders and mass, unrestricted immigration is wrong and in need of “sensitizing and educating.”

That’s perhaps why Trudeau’s team is already taking aim at the compact’s critics with the usual litany of accusations of racism and xenophobia, and sowing “conspiracy theories.”

Canada will be signing this agreement to withhold public funds from media outlets that criticize immigration just three weeks after announcing a government panel will be responsible for determining which media companies get to access a $595 million slush fund.

The compact doesn’t distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, so it’s conceivable that columnists like myself who challenge illegal immigrants or asylum-seekers who cross the border illegally will be running afoul of Canada’s commitment to a sensitized and re-educated press.

I don’t know how Canada plans to enforce that specific provision, but the Trudeau government wouldn’t be signing onto the agreement if it didn’t support it. Even if the UN can’t demand compliance, Trudeau clearly supports making it Canadian law.

Just as Trudeau uses the Paris climate accord as his basis for domestic environmental policy, he’ll use this compact as justification for flawed immigration policy. We can expect him to ram through legislation under the guise of it being “necessary” to meet international “obligations.”

In recent years, there seems to be a non-binding resolution for every occasion. Such a declaration on the books invariably sets the stage for a binding law down the road.

Remember, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration itself is the by-product of the UN’s New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was supposedly non-binding.

This was a point I stressed during Canada’s debate about the anti-Islamophobia motion M-103. It was touted as merely symbolic, yet triggered extensive hearings in which MPs entertained numerous statist proposals, including a thankfully rejected one to revoke the broadcast licenses from media outlets that criticize Islam.

The UN migration pact is unfolding in a very similar way, albeit on a global scale. The Angela Merkels and Emmanuel Macrons of the world appear to be idle virtue signallers, but are actually demonstrating a willingness to trade in their own nations’ immigration systems for a globalist fantasy.

Whenever Trudeau is forced to defend his government’s record on immigration, he touts the rigorous and robust nature of Canada’s immigration system. If our system is as effective as he thinks, why would we want to link it to the less adequate ones of other countries?

While this pact doesn’t eliminate borders, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes the basis for a push from the UN’s more radical members for a larger-scale European Union-style experiment of free movement across once-sovereign nations.

This is how the non-binding becomes the binding. Canadians must see through the lie.