Calls for a public inquiry on money laundering are mounting in British Columbia following the release of two reports that revealed the extent of the problem in the province – but a former B.C. attorney general is urging officials to set clear goals and a fixed timeline before an inquiry is launched.
The reports revealed that more than $7 billion was laundered in B.C. in 2018, causing the cost of buying a home to increase about 5%. “Our housing market should be used for housing people, not for laundering the proceeds of crime,” said Carole James, minister of finance of B.C.
Read more: Money laundering causes 5% price spike in B.C.
“The amount of money being laundered in B.C. and through real estate is much more than anyone predicted. Our government is tackling the housing crisis head-on and taking action to combat the money laundering that has been allowed to drive up housing costs for British Columbians for far too long.”
However, former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal said that officials should establish set goals before launching an inquiry to avoid a prolonged investigation.
“A lot of good things can come of them, but before governments establish inquiries, they should first of all ask themselves: What questions need to be answered? Did something go wrong? And what are the powers that we’re going to give to an inquiry commissioner?” Oppal told the National Post. “The other thing is you have to have a definite end line, otherwise it can go on forever.”
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