SNC Lavelin Campaign
Campaign against SNC-Lavalin
Ottawa & Montreal, March 17, 2005
For more information see Catapult Collective
As people across Canada prepare to march against the on-going occupation of Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, and Haiti in demonstrations on March 19th, the second "anniversary" of the US/UK invasion of Iraq, a regional alliance of anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist groups have launched a campaign against one of Canada's premiere war-profiteers, SNC-Lavalin. Catapult! (Ottawa), Block the Empire (Montreal), and the June 30th Coalition (Toronto) are targeting Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, whose destructive and exploitative operations in countries over the world are emblematic of the true nature of Canadian policy at home and abroad. On Thursday, March 17, actions were carried out at SNC-Lavalin offices in Ottawa and in Montreal, to raise employee awareness about SNC's direct support for US occupation forces in Iraq by providing munitions to theUS Department of Defense.
Although Canada has repeatedly denied providing support to US occupation forces in Iraq, Canadian government and corporations have consistently supported the US invasion and occupation in important ways. SNC-TEC is an SNC subsidiary that manufactures bullets at a plant in Le Gardeur, Quebec and tests them in Nicolet. As the sole manufacturer of military ammunition in Canada, it supplies Canada's Department of Defense with 70% of its conventional ammunition. In May 2004, SNC-TEC signed joined a consortium led by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, and signed a contract to build 200 million bullets for the US Department of Defense in order to meet the rising needs of US occupation forces in Iraq. SNC-Lavalin reported a $270 million dollars income from the sale bullets and ammunition in 2003.
In Ottawa, members of CATAPULT! collective gathered at the war monument and marched to the SNC-Lavalin offices on Laurier Street in a loud and colourful display of resistance. Speakers addressed SNC TEC’s contract with the US Department of Defense as demonstrators chanted “No Peace in Bagdad - No Peace for SNC.” Because of police presence in the lobby of the SNC building, demonstrators were unable to deliver empty shell casings back to SNC employees; however, with a large prop catapult, the casings were launched on to the entrance area in front of the building to mark this clearly mark the space of this war-profiteer for employees and others passing by on the street. Demonstrators then marched to the Export Development Corporation, one of the key agencies of the federal government that supplements SNC’s war-profiteering with funding taken from Canadian tax payers. Speakers denounced the subsidisation of war-profiteering and demonstrators called on EDC to end their sponsorship of companies profiting from war and occupation.
In Montreal, members of Block the Empire tried to install a photo exhibit featuring images of occupied Iraq entitled "Your Bullets, Iraqi Lives," in the lobby of SNC's corporate head-quarters, in the Rene-Levesque Ouest building that the company shares with the US consulate. Rebuffed by security guards, activists moved the vernissage outside SNC's doors, and SNC employees were invited to take in the exhibit over their lunch break. Pointing to a picture of Ali, a fourteen-year old boy wounded by US gunfire in April 2004 while taking shelter behind the door of his house in Baghdad, a member of Block the Empire pointed out that in light of the munitions contract, “SNC TEC's slogan ‘Always on Target’ is more than ironic, given that US occupation forces in Iraq have been heavily criticized by Iraqi and international human rights organizations for the random shooting of civilians at check points, during house raids, and on routine street patrols.” Invitations to the vernissage encouraged employees to divest from any shares in the company that they might hold.
The campaign to take down SNC-Lavalin extends beyond opposition to its bullet contract, to highlight all the ways in which SNC profits from war and occupation. In Afghanistan, for example, SNC Lavalin-PAE was given a five year, $400 million contract by the Canadian Department of Defense to build and maintain Camp Julien and provide laundry, food and other services to Canadian occupation forces there. And to meet the increasing demand for Quebecois bullets, SNC is building another artillery testing range on Cree land in Waswanipi, Quebec. Opposition to the project is rising in Waswanipi because the range will disrupt an important trap-line used by Cree hunters.
As part of the campaign, blocs will march in the anti-war demonstrations on March 19th in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto under the slogan “No Profiteering from War and Occupation.” The blocs, organized on the basis of the Peoples' Global Action hallmarks, will draw protester's attention to SNC-Lavalin's war-profiteering activities. This week's activities mark only the beginning of efforts to end Canadian imperialism, stop corporate profiteering from war and occupation, and take down SNC-Lavalin.
The “Take Down SNC” Campaign is organized on the basis of the People’s Global Action (PGA) Hallmarks:
1. A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all trade agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive globalisation.
2. We reject all forms and systems of domination and discrimination including, but not limited to, patriarchy, racism and religious fundamentalism of all creeds. We embrace the full dignity of all human beings.
3. A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can have a major impact in such biased and undemocratic organisations, in which transnational capital is the only real policy-maker.
4. A call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social movements' struggles, advocating forms of resistance which maximize respect for life and oppressed peoples' rights, as well as the construction of local alternatives to global capitalism.
5. An organisational philosophy based on decentralisation and autonomy.
The Facts About SNC-Lavalin
SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is unknown to most Canadians, despite being one of this country's largest publicly traded companies. With $3.3 billion in revenue for 2003, their activities around the world deserve attention. SNC-Lavalin" is one of Canada's largest arms manufacturers and a provider of ammunition to the American occupation in Iraq. SNC's slogan of "health, safety, the environment" covers-up the harm they do to all three in the name of profit.
Some of SNC-Lavalin’s Crimes
SNC-Lavalin profits from war
SNC-Tech, a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin, manufactures munitions including bullets that are sold to the U.S. military. When asked whether these bullets are going to Iraq, the company replied: “We supply a lot of stuff that we don’t necessarily know how and when they are going to use it.” It is possible that the execution of an Iraqi prisoner-of-war by a U.S. soldier during the siege of Fallujah was done with a Canadian-produced bullet. Company CEO Jacques Lamarre has stated that human rights are not the concern of his company. The contract with the U.S. military is only one glaring example of their profit from death, destruction and occupation.
SNC-Lavalin profits from corruption
SNC was awarded a $50 million postal service reconstruction contract in Lebanon. According to the U.S. State Department, this contract was given “on a basis other than merit.” The contract was awarded to SNC after the Canadian government gave a $925,000 grant to a private foundation run by the Lebanese Prime Minister. As well, the Canadian government gave $281,000 in foreign aid to train postal workers. That money went straight to SNC.
SNC-Lavalin profits from environmental destruction and the theft of indigenous lands
SNC-Lavalin has a contract with Canadian mining company Inco Ltd. to oversee construction of a mine in New Caledonia, a French colony in the South Pacific. The indigenous Kanak people and environmental activists are opposed to the proposed mine because it will damage the island’s unique eco-systems.
SNC-Lavalin profits from civil war
In August 2004, SNC was awarded a $500 million contract to build a new power plant in Algeria. The Algerian military junta has been involved in an ongoing civil war that has resulted in the death of more than 150,000 people. As part of the lead-up to the signing of this contract, Canada began deporting non-status refugees back to Algeria, despite the risk of death or imprisonment when they are returned to that country.
SNC-Lavalin profits from the overthrow of popularly elected governments
SNC will be doing business with the Haitian government of Gerard Latortue. The company has not been deterred by the fact that Latortue came to power in a coup d'etat against elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The coup, which was actively supported by the US and Canadian governments, included the participation of death squads that operated under previous Haitian dictators Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier. Since the coup, many Aristide supporters have been jailed or murdered. The UN has approved 174 Canadian companies for "nation-building," including SNC-Lavalin.
What You Can Do
There are many ways you can participate in the campaign to take down SNC-Lavalin. Here are some examples:
· research and disseminate information about SNC and other war-profiteers, as it relates to your issues of concern;
· if you work for SNC or anyone of its subsidiaries, DIVEST! Sell the stock that the corporation has “shared” with you;
· if you have a pension plan, make sure that it is not invested in war-profiteers like SNC;
· make a map of locations where war-profiteers, corporate criminals, political elites, and police and military institutions converge in your community – see www.fortressnorthamerica.net;
· form an affinity group and do autonomous actions to shut-down SNC’s day-to-day exploitation;
· join groups actively participating in this campaign, Catapult! (Ottawa), June 30th (Toronto), Block the Empire (Montreal).
Leftturn (BC) Divestment Campaign
Whether we like it or not, whether we’re even aware of it or not, the B.C. provincial government is actively involved in underwriting the illegal U.S. occupation of Iraq and the ensuing butchery being inflicted on Iraq’s civilian population (now estimated at over 100,000 dead). (1) The B.C. government controls the BC Investment Management Corporation, which in turn controls $63 billion in pension fund investments for the Municipal Pension Plan, the College Pension Plan, the Public Service Pension Plan and the Teachers Pension Plan.(2) As of March 31, 2004, these investments included $4.6 billion worth of stock in 251 corporations producing war materiel and/or contracting to provide goods or services to the Pentagon.(3)
These investments include stock holdings in 39 of the top 100 Pentagon contractors, including the seven largest: Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, General Dynamics, United Technologies and General Electric. (4) It also includes 5 of the top 10 ammunition and explosives manufacturers (5), all of the top 4 fuel and lubricant contractors (6), 7 of the top 10 guided missile manufacturers (7), 5 of the top 10 armoured vehicle manufacturers (8), 5 of the top 10 weapons producers (9), and 8 of the top 10 aircraft manufacturers. (10)
Our provincial government’s stock portfolio includes holdings in the following (for a complete listing of these 251 companies, go to our web site at www.leftturn.ca):
AMMUNITION: BC IMC holds $40,593,600 in SNC-Lavalin, the huge engineering firm that is building the RAV line. SNC TEC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin, is part of an international consortium that last year was awarded a five-year contract to supply the US Armed Forces with 300 million to 500 million bullets a year. (11) This contract was awarded by the Pentagon due to the fact that the single US Army-owned facility producing small arms ammunition is producing only a quarter of the bullets needed by the occupation forces. (12) This means that every time another Iraqi is killed by a.223 caliber bullet or a 7.62 mm bullet or a .50 caliber bullet coming from American automatic weapons, the question needs to be asked: were
they killed by ammunition made by a company our pension funds have investments in? The odds are overwhelming that the answer will be yes.
AIRCRAFT: BC IMC holds $92,617,708 in stock from 8 of the top 10 aircraft manufacturers in the US – Lockheed, United Technologies, Raytheon, Rockwell, General Dynamics, Boeing, Northrup/Grumman and Textron–as well as a further $4,853,721 in the British aerospace firm BAE Systems. Together these corporations make virtually every aircraft used in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, including the C-130 gunships used in the siege of Fallujah, F-14, F-15, F-16 and F/A18 fighters, the AV8B Harrier, the F-117 Stealth fighter, B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers, EA6B attack aircraft and reconnaissance aircraft like the E-3 Sentry and the U-2 spy plane. (13)
HELICOPTERS: BC IMC holds $230,353,722 in stock of five corporations that make transport and attack choppers for the US Armed Forces. These companies manufacture the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter (a consortium of Boeing and General Electric), the OH-58D Kiowa attack helicopter (Bell-Textron), the UH-60 Blackhawk (United Technologies) and the Vietnam-era UH-1 Huey troop transport and gunship (a consortium of Bell-Textron and Samsung). (14)
MISSILES: BC IMC holds $176,304,307 in stock from eight
companies that supply missiles to the Pentagon (Raytheon, General Motors, British Aerospace (BAE), Texas Instruments, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, General Electric and Daimler-Chrysler). Between them these companies make at least 17 different missiles, including the AIM-7 Sparrow, AGM-88A HARM, AIM-132, AGM-65 Maverick, AIM-54 Phoenix, AIM-120 Slammer, AGM-45 Shrike, AGM-89 SRAM, AGM-142 HAVE-NAP and AIM-9 Sidewinder, as well as the anti-aircraft Stinger missile and the anti-armor TOW missile carried by ground troops. (15) At least four of the missiles made by these companies are used for delivery of nuclear weapons: Raytheon’s AGM-158 JASSM and BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile, British Aerospace’s Apache cruise missile, and Boeing’s AGM-86 cruise missile. (16) It should also be noted that General Electric manufactures components for at least one nuclear weapon, the B-61. (17)
BOMBS AND LANDMINES: Our provincial pension plans hold $71,868,348 worth of investments in 8 corporations that between them supply at least 16 different bombs to the US Armed Forces, including the BLU-109 Thermobaric bomb, the GBU-28 Bunker Buster, the Hydra 70, the M-26 and M-39, the GBU-10, -12 and -16, and the Paveway III smart bomb, among others. (18) This also includes Honeywell’s CBU-89 Gator and CBU-87 CEM, both of which are landmine delivery systems. (19) Despite the international ban on landmines (to which Canada is at least nominally a signatory), our pension funds include holdings worth $53,375,394 in no less than five landmine manufacturers, including Honeywell. The others are Lockheed-Martin, which produces the M-26, ADAM, GEMSS, M-74 and CBU-78, as well as the WCMD delivery system (20); Raytheon, which manufactures the BLU-92B (21); Texas Instruments, which makes the M-87 and BLU-92B (22); and Rockwell, which also manufactures the BLU-92B as well as the M-87 (23).
DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS: BC IMC also has significant holdings (worth a total of $170,469,986) in stocks of manufacturers of depleted uranium weapons and delivery systems. These are Lockheed, whose GBU-28 bomb contains 1.5 metric tonnes of DU (24); Texas Instruments, who make the GBU-24 and GBU-27; Boeing, which produces the GBU-31 (25); and Northrup/Grumman, which makes the GBU-37B (26). Delivery systems include Boeing’s AH64 Apache attack chopper (27) and F-15 Strike Eagle (28). Lockheed-Martin’s subsidiary General Dynamics manufactures the US Armed Forces’ main battle tank, the M1A1 Abrams, which relies on DU munitions (29). And, not least, General Electric manufactures the GAU-8 cannon (30). The A-10 Warthog antitank attack aircraft is literally built around this 30mm cannon which is probably the single largest user of depleted uranium in the whole US armory (31).
What all of this means is that if you’re a nurse or a physiotherapist or a floor cleaner or a pharmacist in any hospital in the province, if you’re a kindergarten teacher or a university professor, if you work on a garbage truck in Kamloops or programme computers at city hall in Victoria, if you work for ICBC, if you’re a firefighter, if you’re a ferry worker or a BC Transit driver, if you work for BC Hydro, or if you’re a provincial government employee – if you’re one of the more than 350,000 British Columbians whose pension plan investments are made by the BC IMC – your pension contributions are being used to finance the war in Iraq.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan are an
issue in this election. Left Turn calls for the B.C. government to immediately take steps to ensure the B.C. Investment Management Corporation divests its holdings in all 251 of these corporations. We call on all other candidates in this election who claim to oppose the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan to demand the BC IMC stop investing in war profiteers, and we particularly call on Carol James and Adrienne Carr to commit the NDP and Green Party to opposing this complicity in butchery.
We also ask all of you who are members of any of the pension plans in question to approach your union, inform it of this situation, and demand that it take up the call to dump these stocks. The unions whose members’ pensions funds are investing in the occupation include the BC Government and Service Employees Union, the Hospital Employees Union, the BC Nurses Union, the Health Sciences Association of BC, VESTA, the BC Teachers Federation, the International Association of Fire Fighters, CUPE local 873 (EHS paramedics), Canadian Auto Workers local 111 (BC Transit and Coast Mountain bus drivers), the BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union, COPE local 378 (ICBC and BC Hydro employees) and the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators.
1) The Lancet, Volume 364, #9448, at
2) British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, Annual Report
3) See the complete list of these BC IMC pension holdings at www.leftturn.ca.
They are listed in the inventory of B.C. IMC holdings as of March 31, 2004, available http://www.bcimc.com/investments/default.asp. To access the PDF file, click on “bcIMC Inventory, March 31, 2004". For the complete list of 251 corporations contracting with the Pentagon or producing war materials that the BC IMC has invested in, go to http://www.leftturn.ca/_Programme/programme.asp and click on "War Criminal$".
4) Center for Public Integrity, “Outsourcing The Pentagon - Directory”, on the web at www.publicintegrity.org/pns/list.aspx?act=dir.
5) Ammunition - www.publicintegrity.org/pns/list.aspx?act=topcat&caid=13
6) Fuel and lubricants - www.publicintegrity.org/pns/list.aspx?act=topcat&caid=91
7) Missiles - www.publicintegrity.org/pns/list.aspx?act=topcat&caid=14
8) Armour - www.publicintegrity.org/pns/list.aspx?act=topcat&caid=23
9) Weapons - www.publicintegrity.org/pns/list.aspx?act=topcat&caid=10
10) Aircraft - www.publicintegrity.org/pns/list.aspx?act=topcat&caid=15
11) Chris Spannos, “Canadian Bullets, Dead Iraqis”, Zmag, September 8, 2004, on the
web at www.kootenaycuts.com/archive/?7238. See also Matther Behrens, “Canadian Firms Insure Profitable Bloodshed In Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines, and Other War Zones in War Against Freedom”, at Homes Not Bombs, www.homesnotbombs.ca .
13) Richard Sanders, Coalition To Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), “Operation Embedded Complicity – Canada, Playing Our Part In The Business Of War”, in Press For Conversion, #52, October 2003, pp. 11, 13-14, 16, 17-21, 24 and 26.
14) COAT, pp. 12, 24, 26-27.
15) COAT, pp. 14, 32-35.
16) COAT, pp. 14, 32-33.
17) COAT, p.33.
18) COAT, pp.34-36.
19) COAT, p.34.
20) Human Rights Watch, “Exposing The Source – U.S. Companies And The Production Of Antipersonnel Mines”, April 1997, at http://hrw.org/campaigns/mines/index.html .
See also Richard Sanders, “Are Canadians Contravening The Global Ban On Antipersonnel Landmines?”, at
21) Human Rights Watch and Sanders, “Are Canadians Contravening...”
22) Human Rights Watch, Sanders.
23) Human Rights Watch, Sanders.
24) Marc W. Herold, “Uranium Wars: The Pentagon Steps Up Its Use Of Radioactive Munitions”, at www.cursor.org/stories/uranium.html .
30) COAT, p.35.