Burlington's Cabinet Minister claims not to have been aware that Petro Canada paid a $1 billion bribe to the Libyans.

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

October 17th, 2019



During the interview the Gazette did with Burlington MP, Karina Gould – Ray Rivers, our political columnist, asked Ms Gould how she squared the position the federal government had taken on the SNC Lavalin issue with the bribe Petro Canada paid the Libyan government in 2009 or 2010.

The SNC Lavalin issue was the paying of a bribe to the Libyan government for the right to do business with that government. Canadian corporations cannot pay bribes to foreign governments.

The federal prosecutors were preparing to put SNC Lavalin on trial.  The argument we’ve heard is that the Prime Minister’s office pressured the Minister of Justice to consider using the newly minted DPA (deferred prosecution agreement) as a more appropriate punishment for the company’s wrong doing.

A DPA is the instrument of choice by European and American justice departments to administer punishment for these kinds of offences and includes 1. Admission of guilt; 2. a change in corporate culture; 3. commitment to not do it again; 4. a hefty financial penalty and perhaps some other restrictions.

Were SNC Lavalin charged and found guilty in court they might not be able to bid on federal government contracts for ten years.

Col Quadaffi

Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi

“The New York Times reported (in March of 2011) that in 2009 “top aides to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi called together 15 executives from global energy companies operating in Libya’s oil fields and issued an extraordinary demand: Shell out the money for his country’s $1.5 billion bill for its role in the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 and other terrorist attacks.

If the companies did not comply, the Libyan officials warned, there would be “serious consequences” for their oil leases, according to a State Department summary of the meeting.  Many of those businesses balked, saying that covering Libya’s legal settlement with victims’ families for acts of terrorism was unthinkable. But some companies, including several based in the United States, appeared willing to give in to Libya’s coercion and make what amounted to payoffs to keep doing business, according to industry executives, American officials and State Department documents.

The New York Times article also reported that Petro-Canada, a large Canadian oil company, was one of those companies which made a $1 billion payment in order to obtain a 30-year oil exploration license from Libyan officials, according to diplomatic cables and company officials.

Petro-Canada along with SNC also sponsored an exhibit of a Gaddafi family  member’s paintings after museums refused — ridiculed by Canadian critics as “lurid” and a “triumph of banality“ and a point of discussion during the justice committee hearings into the matter earlier this year.

The episode and others like it, the officials said, reflect a Libyan culture rife with corruption, kickbacks, strong-arm tactics and political patronage since the United States reopened trade with Colonel Qaddafi’s government in 2004.

As American and international oil companies, telecommunications firms and contractors moved into the Libyan market, they discovered that Colonel Qaddafi or his loyalists often sought to extract millions of dollars in “signing bonuses” and “consultancy contracts” — or insisted that the strongman’s sons get a piece of the action through shotgun partnerships.

“Libya is a kleptocracy in which the regime — either the al-Qadhafi family itself or its close political allies — has a direct stake in anything worth buying, selling or owning,” a classified State Department cable said in 2009, using the department’s spelling of Qaddafi.

This is the country Petro-Canada paid $1 billion.   So the question is, if it was acceptable for Petro-Canada to pay what amounts to a billion dollar bribe why is the federal government so vigorously pursuing SNC Lavalin for doing basically the same thing for about $50 million?

Montreal based SNC was charged in 2015 while Mr. Harper was PM.  But there has been no action with respect to Calgary based Petro-Canada.  Why is that? One has to wonder if this represents a bias reflecting a government with a PM based in the West rather than in Quebec?

Gould - electoral reform

As Minister for Democratic Institutions it was Gould’s job to bring something to the public that would change the way we elect our federal leaders. That proved to be impossible – the necessary co-operation and consent from the other political parties was just not on the table.

Gould and Justin

Karina Gould with the Prime Minister before she was made a Cabinet Minister.

Ms Gould, who supports the Prime Minister’s position to have SNC Lavlin be given a DPA (deferred prosecution agreement) which would mean there would not be a trial but there would be financial consequences that would save some 9000 jobs.

Ms Gold told the Gazette that she was not aware of the bribe Petro Canada paid the Libyan government.

That statement was, at best, a real stretch.

Petro Canada was formed in 1975 and was, until 1991, a Crown Corporation.  Suncor Energy bought the company from the federal government.

The full, lengthy New York Times story can be found HERE.







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7 comments to Burlington’s Cabinet Minister claims not to have been aware that Petro Canada paid a $1 billion bribe to the Libyans.

  • Hans Jacobs

    Re: the photo caption stating “..it was Gould’s job to bring something to the public that would change the way we elect our federal leaders…”
    If Wikipedia is correct, that was NOT Gould’s job; i.e.: from Wikipedia…. “Following criticism of her handling of the portfolio, Monsef was named Minister of Status of Women on January 10, 2017 and Karina Gould was appointed in her place. On February 1, 2017, Gould announced that her mandate would no longer include exploring potential changes to the Canadian electoral system.”

    • Joe Gaetan

      Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould, is a cabinet member of the party that promised, the last election would be the last first past the post election. That promise was broken as soon as they won the first past the post election. Nice as he is, Ms Gould has to wear this.

      • Hans Jacobs

        I disagree. Only Justin Trudeau has to “wear it”, since he is the one who gave cabinet members their job descriptions/mandate letters and decided what those letters would include.

  • gfraser

    I only know two former Liberal MPs (also Cabinet members) who had morals, integrity, courage, ethics and a voice. The rest are self-serving surfs to the prince of lies.


  • Phillip Wooster

    Remember that Karina Gould is the Minister of Democratic Institutions?!?! In 2015, I voted for Karina Gould but over her term, I had increasingly become disillusioned with the broken promises, lies, and corruption of this Liberal government–it certainly was NOT what I voted for in 2015. Over the past several weeks, I have posted several critical messages relating to her voting record and Liberal policies. Today, Karina deleted all my posts and blocked me from commenting. Obviously, one of her “democratic institutions” is not freedom of expression.

  • David

    SNC Lavlin, Petro Canada, business is business. Black Face, Brown Face a 29 year old man child, kind of sad really, also groping a women, I can only imagine what kind of childhood Justin Trudeau had. But still nothing to do with why Im voting Conservative.

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