VICTORIA, B.C. –The B.C. Green Caucus calls on its fellow MLAs to stand united in calling for an independent public inquiry into the issue of money laundering, which has strong ties to the province’s housing affordability and opioid crises.
“We are calling for an immediate public inquiry into money laundering in BC so to remove the investigation from partisan influence, protect the public interest and restore public trust,” said MLA Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green party. “The B.C. Green Caucus does not ask for this lightly. However the financial impact money laundering has had- and that it continues to have- on the province is staggering: the federal Ministry of Finance estimates the problem at $1 billion annually.”
The province made international headlines last year when a report by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, a body of G7 member countries fighting money laundering, terrorist financing and threats to the international financial system, was leaked to the press. The report highlighted B.C. money laundering activities, of which the province admitted it was not fully aware.
“An independent public inquiry is appropriate as it can have a broad scope, functioning outside of partisan influences or criminal jurisdictions and extensive enough to include all senior public officials and elected members of the Legislature. Public inquiry investigations can involve interviews and oral testimony, and commissioners can have the power to subpoena witnesses. These investigations get to the heart of the complexity of what exactly happened and how it was allowed to happen.
“Although inquiries are not courts, they often exist alongside criminal investigations-such as the Charbonneau Commission in 2011- supplementing those criminal charges with real, actionable recommendations to identify, reduce and prevent such events from happening again. This is something purely punitive criminal charges do not address.
“The BC Green Caucus is not alone in its call for an independent public inquiry into the issue of money laundering in BC. We are joined by cities of Victoria, Richmond and Vancouver, and more than 76 percent of British Columbians polled last year support an inquiry. The chorus grows daily.
“An inquiry of this nature will take time, but so too did this money laundering scheme with evidence going back at least a decade. And the financial repercussions of a skyrocketing housing market and the devastating impacts the of opioid epidemic on the health and wellbeing of British Columbians will possibly span many years into the future. We owe it to ourselves and our children to investigate the links between money laundering, real estate, drug trafficking, and organized crime.”
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