Money laundering has become a big problem in the Vancouver area. It wasn’t that long ago the City of Vancouver passed a motion that would allow for better tracking of municipal tax payments as a way of cracking down on laundering. This laundering has become such a problem that the City of Vancouver has joined a call for public inquiry into money laundering.
There is a lot of pressure on city council to crack down on the large money laundering issue. During the January 29, 2019 council meeting, councillors unanimously voted to pass a motion aimed at deterring and preventing money laundering and the business organized crime in Vancouver.
This motion suggests the city work alongside law enforcement agencies to “prevent money laundering that could be directly or indirectly linked to businesses operating with or without a business license in the City of Vancouver.”
Now, the city is back and has voted for the provincial government to launch a public inquiry into money laundering in the city.
#VanCityCouncil approved the motion on agenda item 4 - Call for a Public Inquiry into Money Laundering in BC, with amendments.— Vancouver City Clerk (@VanCityClerk) February 14, 2019
During yesterdays city council meeting, Councillor Christine Boyle submitted a motion for a public inquiry. The motion entitled Call for a Public Inquiry into Money Laundering in B.C. and Impacts on Vancouver Real Estate and the Overdose Crisis touches on links between money laundering, fentanyl distribution, and Vancouver real estate.
The motion begins by touching on Peter German’s Dirty Money report that revealed a significant amount of money was being laundered through Lower Mainland casinos. According to the Dirty Money report, over $100 million is thought have been laundered within the province. A second money laundering report is set to be completed by German in March 2019, one year after his first report.
It also reads that an estimated $1 billion “could have been laundered through Vancouver homes” and that “the Provincial Government continues to investigate these links, through an Expert Panel on Money Laundering, an anonymous tip portal.”
In the motion were significantly shocking facts about overdose deaths in Vancouver. According to the motion, as of December 16, 2018, an estimated 353 overdose deaths occurred in Vancouver in 2018, and another 369 in 2017. Despite harm reduction strategies, Vancouver is the most impacted city of the overdose crisis in Canada.
Councillor Boyle also wrote about the housing crisis in her motion, stating that “the average price of a single-family detached home in Greater Vancouver increased as much in 2016 as it did from 1981 to 2005.”
Through the motion, Boyle suggested that the council endorse a call to the provincial government to launch a public inquiry in BC. This would be a similar inquiry to the Charbonneau Inquiry in Quebec.
Boyle also suggested that the mayor write a letter to the Premier, the Minister of Finance, and the Attorney General, stating Vancouver’s support in the inquiry.
This public inquiry would investigate money laundering in Vancouver real estate and how it may have deepened the city housing affordability crisis. It would also investigate links between crime, money laundering, and the overdose crisis.
A public inquiry such as this has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind, not just city councillors. A Research Co poll has announced that last August, about 76% of residents believed the provincial government should “definitely” or “probably” call a public inquiry.
Following the motion, councillors unanimously voted in favour, making Vancouver the latest Canadian city to urge the provincial government to launch a public inquiry into money laundering.