SNC-Lavalin still in contention for new Pattullo Bridge project despite scandal
Premier John Horgan says B.C. will continue to take bids from SNC-Lavalin despite the scandal surrounding the construction giant.
The Montreal-based company is one of three pre-qualified bidders in the running to design and construct the new Pattullo Bridge.
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On Thursday Horgan said he has not been following events in Ottawa closely, but that the province would not eliminate the company from contention because of allegations in another jurisdiction.
“We’ll look at that closely and if they’re the best bidder and they can meet the requirements of the people of British Columbia then they will be successful,” said Horgan.
In the past, SNC-Lavalin has had a hand in several other projects in B.C., including the Evergreen Line and rehabilitation of the runway at the Kelowna International Airport.
Horgan's remarks come after explosive testimony from former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould Wednesday that put her future in the Liberal caucus is in question.
Speaking in front of the House of Commons justice committee, the former attorney general alleged she faced "a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government" seeking to politically interfere with the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.
Following her marathon four-hour testimony, Wilson-Raybould told reporters she will continue to serve as MP in the Vancouver-Granville riding.
"I was elected by the constituents of Vancouver Granville to represent them as a Liberal Member of Parliament," she said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could still remove her from caucus, though he said he is still undecided.
"I have taken knowledge of her testimony and there’s still reflections to have on next steps," Trudeau said Thursday when asked whether he will sign her nomination papers.
UBC Political Scientist Gerald Baier said Wilson-Raybould came off “extraordinarily well” and “bold and principled” during her testimony. He believes constituents will support Wilson-Raybould even if the Prime Minister removes her from caucus.
“She looks better than she’s ever looked in terms of her integrity,” he said of her testimony.
Baier called Wilson-Raybould’s testimony a “three-hour campaign video” for the MP, adding the reception from constituents will likely be positive.
“These are the kinds of circumstances under which someone could get elected either under no party banner or to be able to change parties and be completely forgiven by constituents,” he explained.
The next federal election is scheduled for October.
The RCMP first laid corruption and fraud charges against SNC-Lavalin in February 2015 over allegations that it used bribery as it sought government business in Libya.
The Montreal-based construction giant has said the allegations are without merit.
If the company is convicted, it could be banned from bidding for federal projects for 10 years.