How to spot money laundering in B.C. (Robert Kernachan)

OPINION: Era of rampant money laundering leaves B.C. complacent in wake of reports

Seemingly every day new details come out surrounding money laundering in this province

As more details come out surrounding B.C.’s money laundering fiasco, it’s mind-boggling to witness the lack of outrage from the general public.

Seemingly every day new details come out surrounding money laundering in this province. The Vancouver Sun has created a tracking site to show the progress of 122 recommendations made by independent reports on B.C.’s money laundering crisis.

RELATED: B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

The scope of money laundering in B.C. makes it difficult to believe that previous governments weren’t aware of what was going on.

Cash was being washed through casinos in B.C. which are heavily regulated by the B.C. Lottery Corporation, so much so that Great Canadian Casinos gives 70 per cent of its revenues to the provincial government.

A recent article published by CBC details an estimated $5.3 billion in real estate purchases made with illicit cash. It’s believed that this has led to a five per cent increase in housing prices in the Lower Mainland. Money was also laundered through the luxury vehicle market. Individuals would purchase cars for a $15,000 down payment in cash, then return the vehicles and receive their down payment back in clean money.

Much like the luxury vehicle market, students at post secondary institutions across the province would pay their full tuition in dirty money, then withdraw from courses at the deadline and get their money back, effectively turning universities into banks. The province has instructed post-secondary schools to stop accepting large cash payments to combat this practice.

To the credit of B.C.’s provincial government, it is taking action to improve co-operation between agencies to crack down on money laundering. The first step to dealing with a problem is admitting that there is, in fact, a problem to be dealt with. The NDP appears to be taking the issue seriously, however, the general public does not seem much concerned by an era of uncontested money laundering. The public is much more concerned with the carbon tax than rampant money laundering.

As B.C. Attorney General David Eby said, money laundering is a national crisis. For years, Canada has been operating as a global destination for cleaning dirty cash and it must stop.

The first steps to combat the crisis are being taken, but the public needs to demand, in no uncertain terms, that those days are gone, and the party is over.

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