Moving forward to combat money laundering - The Orca

Moving forward to combat money laundering

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Until the problem is under control, how about we focus on the perpetrators, and worry about blame afterward.

There was a time when the term “money laundering” was only seen in movies like The Godfather, or shows like The Sopranos.

Yet here we are. Criminals across the globe now use “The Vancouver Model” to explain how they surgically navigate easily exploitable laws, here.

Money laundering. Two simple words that mean so much more than a mob cliché. Our government-regulated casinos have allegedly been easy targets for high-rollers carrying cash-stuffed dufflebags, happy to lose a bundle to “clean” the rest.

Thanks in no small part to investigative journalists, authorities and politicians have been supplied rather irrefutable proof – photos of bundles of cash – yet, astonishingly, the practice continues.

Late last year a massive lawsuit was tossed on a technicality, charges stayed. It led to an RCMP full-scale review, but at the end of the day: no charges laid.

The public sits stunned and helpless. It appears corrupt bad actors carry on cleaning their tainted proceeds in plain sight, while we feel our authorities might seem frozen.

Last week, part two of the Dr. Peter German report was handed over to BC Attorney General David Eby. Many expected a release on this report within the next “month or so,” but instead a chapter came forth in a matter of days, with a massive bombshell. Authorities are not frozen — there aren’t any on the file!

Chapter 6-4 of the German Report says there are no RCMP officers staffing the office on money laundering in BC. Zero.

The RCMP were quick to respond. Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett – who oversees federal investigations of organized crime in BC, insists Mounties are, in fact, successfully investigating money laundering in our province, saying there are 40 active federal cases in BC, eight of which involve money laundering:

“We have seen over the years that individuals, groups or organized crime syndicates do not limit themselves to a single commodity or type of crime. We have seen that a firearm investigation can ultimately find a nexus to drugs, gangs or financial crimes.”

Whether Eby or Hackett is right, it doesn’t change the fact that we have a problem. Obviously there is Middle here — hardworking law enforcement officers at every level trying to stem the tide of corruption.

Regardless of all the noise, we simply do not have time to play the blame game. Political posturing is exhausting on any day, with our economy assaulted by criminals, who seem consistently two steps ahead of any preventative measures.

It’s exhausting to the nth degree.

No question that this ball has been dropped, but rather than figure who is at fault for that — we need someone to pick it up and run with it.

What’s needed is a full-scale, completely non-partisan, combined effort on all fronts to protect our country. Solutions need to be found how to halt the reported billions in criminal proceeds cleaned each year in Canada.

Federally, provincially, municipally. Please no posturing, leaders need to lead. Now.

Obviously, no one is suggesting that those who turned a blind eye get off scott-free. Au contraire, they absolutely must be held to account, but this is stage two; proof of any wrongdoings will still be there after the Vancouver Model is shut down.

At 600+ days into the NDP/Green government we are long past the game of singularly blaming the previous government, or Ottawa.

For years something has been quacking like a duck, and now it needs to be duck season. Authorities need support at all levels, share intel, and get a roadblock built against international, and local, organized crime.

While we can’t get back what “the Vancouver Model” has taken from us, we can get the reigns back.

Whoever knew, and let it slide, should be identified. But until then, we need to keep our eyes on the real target: organized crime.

We don’t want to become a Jersey cliché.


Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.