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SNC-Lavalin

Hon. Linda Frum: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator Harder, I would like to come back to the charges of corruption in Libya against SNC-Lavalin and some of its former employees. Since 2012, the RCMP have charged eight people tied to this alleged corruption scheme. Seven of those accused have had their cases tossed out of court due to delays or problems with evidence.

The RCMP and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada have yet to convict anyone from the company. Now the government is working feverishly to offer a deal to prevent the company itself from being convicted.

Senator Harder, how do you explain to Canadians the failure of our justice system to punish those involved in such a scandal? What is the message to corporations that would be tempted to bribe foreign officials to get more business for themselves?

Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for the question, and I’d like to make a couple of comments.

We have before us Bill C-75, which is a response to the Jordan case to deal with concerns broadly shared by the government and all legislators with respect to the consequences of delay in terms of prosecutions. I would encourage this place to adopt that bill quickly so that the improvements to our judicial processes in terms of expeditious justice are brought into place. That’s an important point, but it is not the only point of the question.

I think it’s also important for legislators, and all of us involved in public life, to assure Canadians that the criminal justice system of Canada has integrity. It does ensure the prosecution of wrongdoing as appropriate in our rule of law, that there are consequences for wrongdoers, both individual and corporate, and that those wrongdoers are subject to the provisions of the Criminal Code and the consequences thereof.

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