Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Actions on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 17, 2005

The illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq -- now responsible for more than 100,000 Iraqi deaths -- came home to employees of SNC-Lavalin in Montreal and Toronto this week as separate actions highlighted disgust that one of the company's subsidiaries, SNC-TEC, is currently under a major contract to supply bullets to the occupation forces.

SNC TEC, based in La Gardeur, Quebec, signed a May, 2004 supply contract with the US military for small calibre bullets. Working with a consortium of military companies led by General Dynamics, the contract was specifically linked to the needs of occupation forces in Iraq.

It is estimated that between 300 and 500 million additional bullets are needed per year, and will be for at least the next five years. The amount of ammunition being used by the US for killing people in Iraq has been so high that domestic suppliers can no longer keep up.

On Remembrance Day in Montreal, dozens of new posters suddenly appeared on bathroom walls throughout the company's headquarters. Showing scenes of torture, death and extreme brutality experienced in occupied Iraq since the invasion, the explicit photos were captioned, "Your job? My life!", and "SNC munitions killing Iraqis" (see Photos of Abu Ghraib torture recalled the Remembrance Day slogan "We will never forget".

The employees of 455 Rene-Levesque West, the headquarters of SNC (the same building which conveniently houses the U.S. consulate), were perhaps not aware of the involvement or even the existence of SNC Technologies. But the "civil" wing of this darling of the Quebec business world has itself done more than its part in creating conditions favourable to the rapid and unceasing sale of SNC TEC's deadly wares.

SNC-Lavalin, under a variety of names such as Defence Programs Inc or SNC ProFac, provides other support to Canada's military projects: in Afghanistan, for example, it provides all logistical support to Canadian troops maintaining the occupation and built the military base "Camp Julien".

The company's 2003 annual report happily remarks that "international [military] markets have been brisk," and that "in 2003, for the first time ever, our international sales surpassed our domestic sales." While a stronger Canadian dollar has harmed their U.S. prospects in the short term, the company is committed to enhancing "our productivity and our position in the world's largest defence market... [with] a range of products large enough to offer one-stop shopping."

And what an export market they have, including human rights violators Belarus, Algeria, Azerbaijan, and Iran. Those and numerous other countries have received the expertise of SNC, a company which promotes a "zero harm culture."

Through their subsidiary EXPRO TEC, they are also "the only company qualified to produce M30A2 propellant used in the US Navy's 155 mm Modular Artillery Charges." Canadians seriously wondering how they can force the empire into a bit of a spot now know one more place they can blockade (EXPRO is in Valleyfield, QC) to interrupt the war.

SNC is also an ardent promoter of privatization programs in Quebec and around the world. Notably, its President and Executive Director, Jacques Lamarre, sits on the Quebec Bosses Union, as well as the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) - two organizations which lobby aggressively for free movement of (their) profits, the oppression of immigrants and refugees through a further militarization of borders and the further economic and military integration of Canada and the United States.

When Paul Martin's government announced last January that Canadian companies could bid on Iraq "reconstruction" contracts, the company spokesperson, Gillian MacCormack, expressed the company's delight, "We believe that the fact that Canadian companies now have this opportunity is marvellous, and we are certainly interested."

At SNC, this "war on terrorism" increases the sales of weapons which are used to colonize and promote a devastating re-engineering of all aspects of the environment, health and vital infrastructure.

The day before Remembrance Day in Toronto, the Etobicoke headquarters of SNC was abuzz with news of SNC's bullet contract as well. Thanks to a company management which would rather batten down the hatches than have a dialogue with a small group of peaceniks, our message was received far more successfully than we could have hoped for.

Three weeks ago, Homes not Bombs wrote an open letter to the Toronto SNC employees explaining why we would be holding a vigil and asking them to enter a dialogue on divesting SNC-Lavalin of its munitions producer. The only response from the company was silence; they had turned this letter over to police forces.

Then, the day before the Toronto vigil, Homes not Bombs received an email from a sympathetic employee who alerted us to the fact that our open letter never made it to employees. But in a magical kind of way, an internal memo from the company President, Marylynne Campbell, essentially revealed to the employees what many did not know: that a brother company was producing tools of terror, and Homes not Bombs would be protesting this fact.

The language of the letter was one of fear, going straight from a description of the demonstration to a note on "security measures" to be taken, including the need for a security pass to enter and leave the building and use the elevators. Campbell advised employees to bunker down, forget about going out to lunch, and be prepared to stay in the building until the end of the day.

By providing the name of our group, employees were able to go to our website and figure things out for themselves, where many found our open letter.

Anyone who goes to the website ( and sees pictures of police busting the Easter Bunny at Loblaws or the Cowardly Lion laying down the law to police outside Canada's home of space warfare would begin to see the true nature of the threat posed by Homes not Bombs. And so in droves employees streamed out at lunch, many of them happy to take the flyers we presented and discuss the issue.

Few seemed fazed by the fact that a group of 15 demonstrators were matched by more than 15 police and private security, who used their squad cars to block up the east entrance. Deployed police on bicycles followed us as we moved strategically so all people in the building could see us.

While the police response was a tad flattering, we took solace in the fact that this meant it was probably a less stressful day for some of the division's poor and homeless residents, three of whom, we were told by some local residents, have apparently been shot by police in recent months (since SNC produces bullets for Canadian police, one wonders how many were taken down with SNC products).

One of the most consistent replies from employees was "we don't do that here," and "we are not involved." So where does the chain of responsibility get picked up? One employee who wrote to us said that, although sympathetic, there were fears about keeping one's job. Nevertheless, this individual suggested we urge SNC employees to stop buying company stock and sell off what they do own as a protest.

Of course, one could claim, for example, that this Toronto building and its hundreds of employees are far removed from the production of bullets in Quebec, but there in the 2003 annual report is a full page picture of the happy "Members of the Office of the President," with Toronto's Marylynne Campbell seated two pillows away from SNC TEC President Michael Novak.

Campbell writes to her employees, "While we respect the right of all people to voice their opinions, we feel that as long as the governments of Canada and other NATO countries have elected to have armed and police forces, these soldiers and police officers require munitions. SNC TEC personnel has been given the mandate to provide our own armed forces, our police forces, and those of other NATO countries with the very best equipment available, and we are proud of the high standard of work they carry out, as are these employees."

The language is curious, for what is strictly a profitable contract is suddenly a "mandate," and the existence of armed forces is magically turned into a choice that was part of some election!!??!!

At some point, though, someone has to be responsible for these bullets. With SNC-Lavalin revenues of over $3 billion last year, almost 10% of those revenues came from SNC TEC. Given that SNC's share of the war market represents only 10% of its revenues, it seems SNC could be vulnerable to a call for divestment.

1. Encourage municipal and provincial authorities to NOT sign contracts with any SNC subsidiary until SNC TEC and EXPRO TEC have been divested from the company (especially those city councils which passed anti-war resolutions in 2003).

2. Hold a vigil at a local SNC office (they are everywhere, listed below) encouraging employees to ramp up the pressure inside the office place. Let us not demonize those who work in accounting, but encourage them to act out their conscience and, with our support, build the support for divestment. Ask how their slogan, "For a Better World," is consistent with a product that kills. It seems this has the potential for a very strong campaign which could garner the support of many of the corporation's employees, a portion of whom are no doubt horrified by the crimes in Iraq and SNC's role in those crimes. And so reaching out to those employees to encourage them to pressure their management just might have an effect.

3. Ask your MP why a Canadians firm is supplying bullets to murder Iraqis. Also ask if SNC-Lavalin's major donations to the Liberal Party are what may have prevented Liberals from speaking out on this contract.

Ultimately, what is taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan are war crimes. Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program clearly states, "A person is considered complicit if, while aware of the commission of war crimes or crimes against humanity, the person contributes directly or indirectly to their occurrence. Membership in an organization responsible for committing the atrocities can be sufficient to establish complicity if the organization in question is one with a single brutal purpose, e.g., a death squad."

On Monday, January 17, Martin Luther King Day, folks at Homes not Bombs in Toronto will be engaging in nonviolent direct action at SNC-Lavalin's corporate headquarters.

We would like to encourage peace groups across the country to hold demonstrations at SNC locations listed below on that same day. No, these other branches may not be involved directly in the production of bullets, but it is not a defence under law to say that the right hand knows not what the left is doing when they are both connected to one body.

(report compiled by reports from Block the Empire, and Homes not Bombs. Full text of internal SNC memo and Homes not Bonmbs reply listed at

SNC-Lavalin Inc.
605 - 5th Avenue SW - 14th floor
Calgary, Alberta
T2P 3H5
Telephone : (403) 294-2100
Fax : (403) 294-2777

SNC-Lavalin ATP Inc.
1035 - 7 Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta
T2P 3E9
Telephone :(403) 539-4555
Fax : (403) 539-4554

SNC-Lavalin Inc.
40 Fielding Avenue
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
B3B 1E4
Telephone : (902) 468-6230
Fax : (902) 468-7864

Dollard des Ormeaux
SNC-Lavalin ProFac Inc.
3633 des Sources Blvd.
Suite 203
Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec
H9B 2K4
Telephone : (514) 683-7370, ext. 202
Fax : (514) 683-7172

SNC-Lavalin Inc.
Address :
10235 - 101 Street
Suite 608
Edmonton, Alberta
T5J 1G1
Telephone : (780) 426-1000
Fax : (780) 412-6288

SNC-Lavalin Inc. (Fredericton)
500 Beaverbrook Court
Fredericton, New-Brunswick
E3B 5X4
Telephone : (902) 492-4544
Fax : (902) 492-4540

SNC-Lavalin Inc. (Maritimes)
5657 Spring Garden Road
Suite 200
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3J 3R4
Telephone : (902) 492-4544
Fax : (902) 492-4540

Le Gardeur
SNC Technologies Inc.
5 Montée des Arsenaux
Le Gardeur, QC
J5Z 2P4

SNC-Lavalin Inc.
General Engineering and Environment
2271, boul. Fernand-Lafontaine
Longueuil, Quebec
J4G 2R7
Telephone : (450) 638-6677
Fax : (450) 638-6425

SNC-Lavalin Audet
(Agri-food Engineering)
2271 Fernand-Lafontaine West
Longueuil, Quebec
J4G 2R7
Telephone : (450) 677-1455

Fax : (450) 677-1489

Canatom NPM Inc.
2655 North Sheridan Way, Suite 180
Mississauga, Ontario
L5K 2P8
Telephone :(905) 829-8808
Fax : (905) 829-8809

SNC-Lavalin Inc.
455 René-Lévesque Blvd. West
Montreal, Quebec
H2Z 1Z3
Telephone : (514) 393-1000
Fax : (514) 866-0739

SNC-Lavalin ProFac Inc.
1500 Ottawa Street
Suite 11
Montreal, Quebec
H3C 4B2

Nexacor Realty Management Inc.
87 Ontario Street West
2nd Floor
Montreal, Quebec
H2X 1Y8

Mount Pearl
BAE-Newplan Group Limited
1133 Topsail Road
P.O. Box 487
Mount Pearl, Newfoundland
A1N 2W4
Telephone : (709) 748-2910
Fax : (709) 368-3541

SNC-Lavalin Defence Programs Inc.
170 Laurier Avenue West
Suite 1100
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5V5
Telephone : (613) 567-1948

Quebec City
SNC-Lavalin Piette, Audy, Bertrand, Lemieux et associés
5500, boul. des Galeries
Suite 200
Quebec City, Quebec
G2K 2E2
Telephone : (418) 621-5500
Fax : (418) 621-9090

Lalonde, Girouard, Letendre et associés ltée
84, rue Saint-Germain Est
Rimouski, Quebec
G5L 1A6

Pellemon (1998) Inc.
35, rue Saint-Pierre
Suite 001
Saint-Constant, Quebec
J5A 5A6
Telephone : (450) 638-6677
Fax : (450) 638-6425

SNC-Lavalin Engineers & Constructors Inc.
265 North Front Street
Sarnia, Ontario
N7T 7X1
Telephone : (519) 336-0201
Fax : (519) 336-0209

St-Laurent National Project Office
555 McArthur St. Suite 1498
St-Laurent, Quebec
H4T 2C5
Telephone : (514) 840-3555
Fax : (514) 840-3555

SNC-Lavalin Energy Control Systems Inc.
2425 Pitfield Blvd.
St-Laurent, Quebec
H4S 1W8
Telephone : (514) 334-6780
Fax : (514) 334-2610

Thetford Mines
Fréchette LGL
69, rue Notre Dame Sud
Thetford Mines, Quebec
G6G 1J4
Telephone : (418) 338-4631
Fax : (418) 338-6564

SNC-Lavalin Inc.
2200 Lake Shore Blvd. West
M8V 1A4
Telephone : (416) 252-5311
Fax : (416) 231-5356

SNC-Lavalin Pharma Inc.
Address :
789 Don Mills Road, 10th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M3C 1T5

SNC-Lavalin ProFac Inc.
Address :
304 The East Mall
Suite 900
Toronto, Ontario
M9B 6E2
Telephone : (416) 207-4724
Fax : (416) 207-4724

SNC-Lavalin ProFac Inc.
Address :
205 Wellington
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 3G7
Telephone : (416) 205-6802
Fax : (416) 205-5983

Pacific Liaicon and Associates Inc.
1075 W Georgia St. Suite 950
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6E 3C9
Telephone : (604) 605-5984
Fax : (604) 683-1672

SNC-Lavalin Engineers & Constructors Inc.
200-1600 Ness Avenue
Madison Square
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3J 3W7
Telephone : (204) 786-8080
Fax : (204) 786-7934

Office: 407 ETR
6300 Steeles Avenue West
Woodbridge, Ontario
L4H 1J1

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