|SNC-Lavalin's image refresh. Yikes!|
As soon as Cynthia Vanier was arrested on November 10th
2011, in Mexico City, she was at a disadvantage. Accused of being the
mastermind of a complex plot to smuggle Saadi Gaddafi, the third son of Libyan
dictator Muammar Gaddafi, from war-torn North Africa to Mexico, she was
expected to defend herself from behind bars.
She was supposed to do this in a foreign country, in a
language she did not understand, and in a highly politicized and possibly
From the beginning, Vanier quarterbacked her game-plan with
the help of her husband Pierre – always at her side, and an effective advocate.
From Mexico the Vaniers made a strategic decision: focus on the legal route and
play defense with the media. The rules were strict and, at times, arbitrary.
There were to be no interviews from jail, unless Vanier
needed to call the CBC’s As It Happens
A media strategy, including press releases, was rumoured, but never occurred. Journalists
were offered candy or starved.