A Canadian lawmaker wants answers after BC’s money laundering inquiry condemned Federal agencies. Member of Parliament (MP) Adam Chambers is gauging support for a Federal inquiry into money laundering. Due to many failures Canada’s economy has become as reliant on money laundering as the US was on housing in ’06. Now the Simcoe North MP wants to know how so many intelligence resources can become unreliable to the point of systemic failure.
Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering Resources Are Unreliable
Last week BC wrapped up the Cullen Commission, its inquiry into money laundering. An 1,800-ish page report all boils down to one key point: Canada’s anti-money laundering resources are unreliable.
“Law enforcement bodies in British Columbia cannot rely on FINTRAC to produce timely, useful intelligence about money laundering activity that they can put into action,” remarked the inquiry’s commissioner Austin Cullen.
Canada’s anti-money laundering resources are so bad, the Commission just told BC to start from scratch. A new provincial agency of investigators is now being considered. This implies the problems with Canada’s resources can’t be resolved. Good grief.
Great for BC, but what about the rest of Canada? Money laundering operates on a similar principle to diffusion. It flows to the regions that provide the least resistance. If Canada has dysfunctional enforcement, BC’s new agency will push the problem to other regions. Canadians should be asking why.
Canadian Lawmaker Wants To Know If The Public Would Support A Federal Inquiry Into Laundering
MP Adam Chambers appears to be making a play to be Canada’s anti-money laundering policymaker. Last week he introduced a bill seeking harsher penalties on those who hide assets. This week he’s probing support for a federal inquiry into money laundering. It seems like a no-brainer, but BC politicians had to fight for every inch of support to get an inquiry there.
“Money laundering is out of control. Over a hundred billion dollars is being moved through Canada every year,” says Chambers.
Adding, “Global criminals are flocking to Canada to wash their dirty money. They know our laws are weak and money washed in Canada is easy to move around the world.”
“We need a national inquiry to investigate money laundering across Canada, laws that force criminals to make it clear what they own, and laws that punish the people who help them.”
Canada’s Law Enforcement Needs Greater Tools
For years, we’ve heard from law enforcement part of the reason they’ve become powerless is they lack tools. Not money, agencies have seen a modest bump in funding, but laws to help with prosecution of crimes. Chambers’ petition also appears to be gauging support for new tools to prosecute.
“… we need to give law enforcement the tools to take down money launderers. These changes will help bring an end to the party for global criminals and make criminals think twice before they wash their dirty money in Canada,” he says.
He doesn’t elaborate on which tools are needed, and is likely waiting to see what an inquiry suggests. However, we only need to look South of the border to see an effective tool. In 1970, the US implemented the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act. Racketeering is the act of benefiting from illegal activity, or using businesses to exert pressure unlawfully.
The RICO Act helps prosecute those who benefit from organized crime, even indirectly. Since Canada lacks similar laws, only low-level street thugs can be pursued. No organized crime head is dumb enough to be caught laundering themselves. In the US, this risk compartmentalization doesn’t always work. They can now pursue the known head of the organization, trying to stop the issue at the source.
Since Canada lacks similar laws, it’s almost impossible to stop an organization. It’s like the Hydra — two more low level criminals pop up for every one that’s cut off. Seems silly to not have a tool like the RICO Act in Canada, eh?
Now consider the US first adopted the Act 52 years ago. It starts to feel like it’s less an issue of naive politicians and more of one of willful ignorance. When an industry, yes — laundering is an industry, supports over 5% of GDP, no one wants to be the person who ruins the party. Hear that noise? It was Chambers’ social schedule clearing.
Hey, only a couple of younger generations are impacted by these sorts of things. Money laundering helped to drive home prices higher, which many people are thrilled about. It’s no wonder so many politicians chose to buy an investment property instead of looking into the issue.
MP Chambers petition: stopmoneylaundering.ca