Montreal should ban municipal bidders with ties to Russia: opposition

Ensemble Montreal adviser Alan DeSousa said Monday that “the administration has a moral imperative” to distance itself from such companies.

Content of the article

Opposition to Montreal City Hall is urging the city to consider dropping municipal suppliers who continue to do business in Russia.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

“As a matter of principle and morality, no supplier of goods and services to our city should do business in Russia,” Ensemble Montreal councilor Alan DeSousa said Monday, noting that hundreds of businesses around the world are withdrawn from Russia. following his invasion of Ukraine.

“The administration has a moral imperative to inform any company providing goods and services to the city that if it does business or contracts with Russia, such activities harm the reputation of that company and to that of the city.

DeSousa was responding to a question about the municipal contractor building Montreal’s two organic waste treatment plants.

The company that won the two municipal contracts in 2019, SUEZ Canada Waste Services Inc., is part of the French company SUEZ Group which won a major contract in Russia in 2021 to supply water technology to a polymers under construction in Eastern Siberia.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

Another French transnational, the Veolia group, recently acquired operations and contracts from SUEZ in places like Canada and Russia, a SUEZ spokesperson said on Monday.

“Following the takeover bid by Veolia (de) SUEZ, SUEZ no longer has any activity in Russia (nor) in Canada,” said Elodie Vandevoorde, spokeswoman for SUEZ in Paris, in an email. She directed questions about contracts in Russia and Montreal to Veolia. SUEZ still exists, she added, “but its scope is reduced”.

The contract in Russia awarded to SUEZ last year is for the supply of critical technology for the construction of a large wastewater treatment project for the Irkutsk polymer plant operated by Irkutsk Oil Company. The agreement includes a 10-year service contract. Irkutsk Oil describes itself as a large independent oil and gas producer. The plant, which will produce polymer used in aeronautical engineering, automotive engineering, consumer goods and medicine, is expected to be operational in 2024.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

Veolia, which has won hundreds of municipal contracts in Montreal, lists Moscow offices on its website. The company did not respond to emails on Friday or Monday.

The contracts awarded by Montreal in 2019 were for the design, construction and operation of a $175 million composting center in the borough of St-Laurent — a project whose cost has tripled since its initial estimate. a decade ago — and on the design, construction and operation of a $167 million biogas plant in Montreal East. Both construction projects are behind schedule, which city officials say is attributable to COVID-19.

DeSousa said city council members were not made aware of Veolia taking over SUEZ contracts. The city, he added, should immediately exercise “due diligence” by asking all municipal contractors if they are doing business in Russia and if they intend to withdraw from that country.

Advertisement 5

Content of the article

The town hall Valérie Plante seems unaware that Veolia has taken over the contracts from SUEZ for the composting center and the biomethanation plant.

A Plante spokesperson said SUEZ is not among the prohibited persons and entities listed in the Canadian government’s Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations, so municipal contracts will continue.

“We are all deeply shocked by the actions of the Russian government towards Ukraine in recent days,” wrote Marikym Gaudreault, spokesperson for the mayor and the executive committee, in an email response.

“This is an unacceptable situation and a threat to democracy. We welcome the federal government’s initiative to impose economic sanctions on Russia with the adoption of the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations. … After verification, the Suez Group (which is a French company) is not one of the entities listed in the appendix, and is therefore not targeted by the sanctions.

Advertising 6

Content of the article

Veolia is not on the federal government’s list of prohibited persons either.

“The City must always act in accordance with the legal powers granted to it in the various laws, which includes the legal framework applicable to the awarding of contracts in all circumstances,” said Gaudreault.

“The city must therefore respect the framework that governs it.

However, DeSousa said the city should get legal advice on whether to invoke a “force majeure” clause in existing city contracts if a company is doing business in Russia.

At the very least, he said, the city should consider banning companies doing business in Russia from future tenders.

“At this point, we believe companies doing business in Russia should not apply to bid with the city,” DeSousa said.

Advertising 7

Content of the article

It would not be the first time that Montreal had used its financial weight by awarding municipal contracts to take a political stand against a foreign regime.

In 1989, the city under then-mayor Jean Doré adopted an anti-apartheid procurement policy under which it ceased doing business with companies that had business interests in South Africa. The Doré administration also adopted a policy of excluding contractors involved in the manufacture, research, storage or transportation of nuclear weapons.

Companies that won municipal contracts had to sign a declaration stating that they had no investment in South Africa. Montreal also demanded that the contractors sign a declaration stating that they had no dealings in nuclear weapons. Dozens of cities across the United States also adopted anti-apartheid measures. While Montreal’s actions alone were not expected to have a significant financial impact on South Africa’s apartheid regime, the Doré administration said the symbolic effects of its actions were significant.

Advertising 8

Content of the article

Montreal had to get a city charter amendment from the Quebec government to be able to pass bylaws excluding contractors with ties to South Africa and nuclear weapons.

The Montreal Composting Center was scheduled to open in September 2021. Last year, the completion date was moved to this month. However, completion of the center is now expected in the second half of 2022, councilors learned at recent city budget hearings.

The biogas plant, which was expected to be ready in April 2022, does not have a specific delivery date, DeSousa said. His party voted against both contracts, citing their size, skyrocketing costs and the choice of a composting plant over other technologies.

[email protected]

  1. People gather at Place du Canada in Montreal on Sunday February 27, 2022 to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    Hundreds of people gather in Montreal to denounce the Russian invasion and show their support for Ukraine

  2. A Red Cross van drives through the rubble in front of the Kyiv TV Tower on March 2, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

    Ukrainian Canadian Congress launches fundraising campaign for humanitarian aid

Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. See our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Previous Indonesia implements strict health protocols for G20 summit, stresses importance of pandemic preparedness
Next ECC Accepts Rs8.2bn Ramazan Package Through Utility Stores