On Feb 18th I posted the original version of this and included some factual errors and opinions based on them. I could just go back and edit those out but that wouldn't be honest. You can still find the original post if you want to. I accept the blame for not doing my homework. Here is the more accurate version.

Most of the world pays no attention to Canadian politics, probably rightly so as most Canadians ignore it as well. But there is SCANDAL of truly Canuck proportions brewing in the great white north.

SNC Lavalin is arguably Canada's largest engineering firm. Having earned its spurs as the largest fish in that small pond it ventured out onto the world stage decades ago to spread Canadian Engineering to those willing to pay. Just like every other global enterprise they ran into foreign officials who operated in very different ways than is expected in Canada. It is difficult to describe a practice as corrupt when everyone is doing it and everyone expects that everyone is doing it but asking for "considerations" when deciding which company wins a contract is against Canadian Law. Canadian Companies who pay such considerations, even while operating outside of Canada and paying foreign personnel are also breaking Canadian law. Canada does this because it is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD requires members to take action against their own companies paying bribes in foreign nations. Canada takes pride in doing things the right way. Bless them, I wish we all did. Well some time ago SNC Lavalin was charged for paying "considerations" to foreigners and the trial was crawling its way through the courts when The Canadian Federal government realized that convicting SNC Lavalin would prevent them from doing business with the Canadian Federal Government for ten years. Did I mention that SNC Lavalin is the largest Canadian Engineering firm? I have not yet mentioned that being the largest engineering firm they have a long history of contracting with the Canadian Government, the very one they could no longer do business with if convicted of corrupt practices with foreign governments.

To add to the murk, SNC Lavalin also has a history of donating funds to political parties within Canada. I don't know which party gets more but the donations have been substantial over the years and if the absence of criminal charges means anything they have been within the law. 

Back to the court case. Faced with the prospect of being unable to hire the largest engineering firm in the nation, the current Prime Minister talked to the Attorney General (who is also the Minister of Justice) to find a way to punish the company without a criminal conviction. Whether or not he and his office applied pressure is now the subject of an ongoing tempest of allegations of improper political interference in a court case. "Holy Caesar's Wife" the opposition says. We can't have that! I agree. The controversy arises from the dual roles of AG (non-political) and the Minister of Justice (Political) performed by the same person. How can anyone know which hat the AG/MoJ is wearing when discussing something like a criminal case against a significant actor in the Canadian Economy? SO the first step is to separate the offices. The next step is more complicated and probably too late for SNC Lavalin. That would be to make the Deferred Prosecution Agreement the preferred method of punishing those companies who violate the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (how delightfully colonial a name, like Canada is corrupting those innocent officials). Most other OECD nations already make DPA the preferred method of punishment. Canada has tied itself into a knot over legislation that should have been more carefully considered before passing it and an oddity of its Cabinet Structure. Oh, those Canadians.