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HomeBusinessSNC-Lavalin scores federal PPE subcontract, as Chinese diplomats host B.C.’s chief medical supplies buyer for another photo op

SNC-Lavalin scores federal PPE subcontract, as Chinese diplomats host B.C.’s chief medical supplies buyer for another photo op


Bob Mackin

In the rush to build a homegrown medical masks and gloves industry, the Trudeau Liberals gave a 10-year, no-bid contract to AMD Medicom.

The deal calls for 20 million N95 and 24 million surgical masks a year for a decade, from a 60,000-square foot facility in the Montreal area. The dollar value of the contract has not been released and the building of the factory will be partly subsidized. Dun and Bradstreet lists 7593759 Canada Inc. as the ultimate owner of Medicom. The numbered company’s sole director is Medicom president Ronald Reuben. 

SNC-Lavalin’s Vancouver office (Mackin)

The Trudeau Liberals have been blamed for shortages at hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic after donating 16 tonnes of gear from the dwindling federal stockpile to China in early February.

Medicom, in turn, hired Montreal-headquartered SNC-Lavalin to design and engineer the factory, which is targeted for a July opening.

Last December, SNC-Lavalin pleaded guilty to fraud related to projects in Libya. Had it been convicted in a criminal trial in Quebec, it would have been temporarily banned from federal contracts.

The SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal that dominated Canadian headlines throughout 2019 was a factor in the Liberal government losing majority status in last October’s federal election, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke the conflict of interest law in an effort to end the criminal prosecution.

SNC-Lavalin is also involved with U.S.-based PAE in the design of up to 10, 100-bed mobile health units for the Canadian government.

SNC-Lavalin chair Kevin Lynch announced his resignation at the May 7 annual general meeting, where shareholders decided to keep the door open to moving out of Quebec after the scheduled 2024 repayment of a $1.5 billion loan to the province’s pension fund.

In the latest PPE folly, the federal government has rejected eight million N95 masks from an 11 million unit shipment from China. Neither the Chinese manufacturer nor the Montreal supplier has been named.

On May 9, Trudeau told reporters that the government is in talks with the supplier.

“We will not be paying for masks that do not hit the standards that we expect to give to our frontline workers,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau said there had been 23 personal protective equipment import flights from China. He was not clear whether he counted the two that came back to Canada empty over logistical issues at the Shanghai airport.

Chinese government officials donating medical supplies to B.C. on May 5 (PRC consulate)

Meanwhile, Chinese diplomats held another photo op at the Shaughnessy consular compound in Vancouver to donate medical supplies to the British Columbia government.

A photograph from the May 5 event is on the Chinese language version of the consulate’s website, but not on the English site.

A translated consular statement said Deputy Consul-Gen. Kong Weiwei handed over 20 boxes of 50,000 medical masks to Melinda Mui, interim vice-president of the Provincial Health Services Authority. Mui is the bureaucrat in charge of B.C.’s $2 billion-a-year medical supplies buying program. The May 5 ceremony included a banner saying that the donation was on behalf of Jiangsu Province.

Mui also attended an April 24 ceremony with George Chow, the NDP junior minister of international trade, and accepted 56 boxes from Guangdong province containing masks, gloves and coveralls worth almost $117,000.

The events are part of Chinese government propaganda campaign after groups allied with the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, such as the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Canadians, drained Canadian shelves of PPE in January and February and exported millions of dollars worth of medical supplies to coronavirus epicentre Wuhan and other Chinese cities. has confirmed that staff in the office of Premier John Horgan knew on Feb. 19, at least, that PPE supplies were running low in Canada.

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