BC Provincial Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Eby reacts to a briefing on bad money sloshing around in BC.  An independent review of casino money-laundering may result in changes to BC Lottery Corp’s agreements with casinos, allowing quicker, tougher penalties.   Look for more info on Tuesday Dec 5.
But there may be more than just casinos attracting attention here.
With thanks to Sam Cooper in PostMedia outlet the Vancouver Sun.

In his speech, Eby said he will never forget the first briefing he received from members of B.C.’s gaming enforcement branch when he became attorney general last summer.
money-laundering“One of the members of the public service said, ‘Get ready. I think we are going to blow your mind.’ While I cannot share all of the details, I can advise you that the briefing outlined for me allegations of serious, large-scale, transnational laundering of the proceeds of crime in British Columbia casinos,” Eby said. “And I was advised that the particular style of money laundering in B.C. related to B.C. casinos is being called, quote, ‘the Vancouver model’ in at least one international intelligence community.”
. . .  Eby added that allegations of transnational money laundering linked to casinos go deeper than that: “I have reason to believe that these matters might be linked to other areas of B.C.’s economy.”
Eby also said that he believes B.C.’s property ownership system — in which true owners of property can hide behind opaque legal mechanisms — could be attracting foreign criminals and corrupt officials seeking to hide wealth in the province. Eby said Finance Minister Carole James is working on reforms to pull back legal veils that cover true ownership of property and corporations.

Money-laundering tutorial HERE.


  1. Surprisingly little comment here. The most damning part, not quoted in the excerpt, is that the BC Liberals seemingly turned a blind eye to all this. Shocking.

    1. That’s a good point, Bob. The new government is acting on it in the casino, real estate and political donation fronts.
      Doug Todd’s recent Sun column on the NDP’s effort to have a vote next year in electoral reform and the possible advent of coalition governments also touches on these issues.
      No matter what happens this month in Germany, the country is sure under its coalition governments to maintain a stronger economy than Canada (and B.C.), more innovative industries, higher wages, better social services, more affordable housing and rich culture.
      Too bad those competing to head B.C.’s Liberal party can’t take full rhetorical advantage of the alleged crisis this week in Germany’s coalition government.
      The would-be Liberal leaders seem dead-set against British Columbians voting one year from now, in November 2018, for a new way of electing a government, which could include proportional representation.
      North American foes of proportional representation often argue it will lead to more minority and coalition governments — and they habitually make their case by cherry picking times such governments run into difficulties.
      So, for the B.C. Liberals, it’s unfortunate Germany will have sorted out Angela Merkel’s struggles by the time British Columbians have a referendum next fall: Germany will likely have another solid coalition government by then, as it has for more than 60 years.
      In Europe about 20 countries, including the Netherlands and France, operate most of the time in coalitions. They’re also common in Japan, Indonesia and Australia. Even Canada federally, and Manitoba, Ontario and B.C., have had coalitions.
      B.C.’s first-past-the-post system, in which the party with the majority of elected MLAs (often not the majority of votes) gets to form government, hands incredible power not only to one party, but to one person, the leader of the winning party.
      First-past-the-post might be doing British Columbians more harm than good. For one thing it’s noted for polarization. It tends to do so more than coalitions, in which cabinet ministers come from different parties. (The current B.C. situation is not a coalition but a minority NDP government supported by the Greens.)
      What, in the name of democracy, has been accomplished by having roughly 60 per cent of B.C. voters entirely marginalized for the past 16 years of one-party rule? What might have happened in this province if the Liberals had been required to once in a while allow the NDP or Greens to come to the table?
      It is likely British Columbians would have sidestepped the worst of Metro Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis, the province’s corrupt political-donations system and had the chance for a proper pre-appraisal of the Site C dam.

      Lijphart concludes consensus democracies are as good as majoritarian ones in stimulating economic growth, controlling unemployment and limiting budget deficits, although coalitions tended to spend more than single-party governments.
      Coalition democracies also outperform majoritarian systems for women’s representation, voter turnout and closer proximity between voters’ preferences and government policies.
      Usually, but not always, it’s right-wing North Americans who are keen to attack coalitions.
      The pro-business Fraser Institute, for instance, thanked Trudeau for reneging on his electoral-reform promise: Lydia Miljan argued coalition governments sometimes require larger parties to capitulate on their main issues, which she says leads to higher government spending.
      A more balanced perspective comes from Philip Resnick, the University of B.C.’s noted political scientist emeritus.
      The strengths of coalition government, Resnick says, are “a parliamentary system that better reflects the wishes of the electorate. … They clip the tendency to elective dictatorship, where the PM or premier with a parliamentary majority has a pretty free hand during his/her term.” Coalitions, Resnick says, force politicians to pay closer attention to public opinion between elections.
      “The weakness is that coalition government may make decisive action and the taking of unpopular decisions more difficult, though this is by no means inevitable. It may also give small parties more leverage over government decisions than they merit.” Resnick cited Israel as an example.
      “Overall, however, I think coalition governments in stable democracies have functioned just as well as majoritarian ones, and they have done a better job of reflecting the nuances of public opinion.”
      Canadian historian Christopher Moore makes a more blunt plea for coalitions. “A Canadian political party today is little more than a leader flanked by a bagman, a spin-doctor and a poll-taker; everyone else is just saying aye and pounding signs,” he says. “Coalitions are by definition a sharing of leadership, a limitation on one leader’s power. No wonder our party leaders dread them.”
      Meanwhile, don’t cry for Germany. It’s arguably doing better than Canada and B.C. No matter what happens this month Germany is sure to maintain its stronger economy, more innovative industries, higher wages, better social services, more affordable housing and rich culture.
      It will do all this despite the alleged “chaos” caused by its tradition of coalition governments.


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