MLA Column: Calling for a public inquiry into money-laundering in British Columbia

Adam Olsen is the BC Green Party MLA for Saanich North and the Islands

On Feb. 26, I and my BC Green Caucus colleagues, called for a full independent public inquiry into money-laundering in British Columbia.

The call came after two weeks of questions in Question Period on the deeply troubling connections in our casinos, real estate market, luxury cars, horse racing, drug cartels and opioid crisis.

Our Attorney General, David Eby, clearly has a handle on this file. With Dr. Peter German’s first report opening a crack in the door, and two further reports to come by the end of March, the investigation is well underway.

READ ALSO: B.C. moves closer to money laundering public inquiry; feds vow ‘crack down’

The constant flow of allegations in the media is really disturbing. It is shocking that this situation has gotten so out of hand.

When I asked Minister Eby about money-laundering in Question Period he responded,

“But even more serious than that is when you look at cases like PacNet. PacNet is a firm that was alleged to be involved in laundering the proceeds of lottery schemes in the United States, cheques from seniors written out to various scams and sent up, actually, to Vancouver, allegedly, to be processed. It’s listed as one of the top five transnational criminal organizations in the world by the Obama administration. They were actually getting tax credits from Advantage B.C.”

READ ALSO: B.C. minister fears money laundering involves billions of dollars, cites reports

These are really explosive allegations. A provincial government entity handing out tax credits to a known transnational criminal organization. That is about as bad as it gets. It’s outrageous.

So, we did not jump on this call quickly. We did our work in the Legislature and came to the conclusion that more needs to be done.

Time for a public inquiry.

I am confident that Minister Eby will continue to push investigations to root out the criminal activity wherever it is.

But, we need an independent public inquiry to look at the systemic issues. Somehow our institutions allowed this rot to grow. We need to make sure it does not happen again.

Confidence in government and our institutions is shaken.

So, we must act to rebuild trust.

Adam Olsen is the BC Green Party MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.

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