Transparency International Canada Joins Corporate Lobbyists in Push for Deferred Prosecution Agreements

Earlier this year, Transparency International Canada released a report recommending that the government of Canada adopt deferred prosecution agreements.

Transparency International Canada is a non profit set up to fight corruption in Canada. It’s an affiliate of the Berlin based Transparency International.

But like the former Transparency International USA, Transparency International Canada is controlled by large corporate interests and corporate law firms.

Its funders include corporations like Deloitte, TD Bank and Siemens and corporate law firms like Bennett Jones, Aird & Berlis, Blakes and Denton’s.

Earlier this year, Transparency International USA was stripped of its affiliation by the Berlin parent.

The Berlin parent said the reason was “differences in philosophies, strategies, and priorities between the former chapter and the Transparency International Movement.”

It wouldn’t specify the differences, but the US chapter was increasingly seen in the United States as a corporate front group, funded by multinational corporations — the same multinationals that corrupt the U.S. political system.

Now it appears a similar dynamic is playing out in Canada.

The government of Canada is reportedly moving quickly, under corporate pressure, to adopt a regime of deferred prosecution agreements.

The corporate lobbying campaign in Canada for deferred prosecutions is being driven by SNC Lavalin, a giant engineering multinational charged with corruption, the Business Council of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Quebec Federation of Chambers of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce – and Transparency International Canada.

(Last year, the “non-partisan” Institute for Research on Public Policy put out a paper calling on Canada to adopt deferred prosecution agreements, but that paper was funded by SNC Lavalin and other corporate interests.)

The Canadian government is reportedly ready to move to seek implementation of deferred prosecutions within the next month or two.

Deferred prosecution agreements have been challenged in the United States, with some, like Professor Peter Reilly of Texas A&M Law School, seeing them as tools for “discretionary injustice.”

Reilly argues that in the context of corporate criminal prosecutions, the deferred prosecution agreement “makes a mockery of the criminal justice system by serving as a disturbing wellspring of unfairness, double standards, and potential abuse of power.”

Reilly calls on Congress to pass legislation to halt the Department of Justice’s ability to use deferred prosecution agreements in the context of corporate criminal law enforcement.

If Congress doesn’t act, “these agreements will continue to greatly compromise the pursuit of justice, consistency in the rule of law, and basic notions of fairness.”


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