BCGEU campaigns for public inquiry into money laundering in B.C. and possible links to overdose deaths
The union representing many casino and public-sector workers wants the provincial government to put criminal gangs in the spotlight.
Today, the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union said it's launched a campaign for a public inquiry.
The union wants this inquiry to focus on organized crime, opioids, and money laundering.
The campaign comes in the wake of the collapse of a high-profile prosecution into money laundering arising out of the RCMP's E-Pirate investigation in 2015.
On November 27, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada stayed charges against two men—Caisuan Qin and Jain Jun Zhu—as well as Richmond-based Silver International Investments Ltd.
"The links between organized crime, fentanyl and money laundering leading to skyrocketing real estate prices in B.C. cannot go unexamined," BCGEU president Stephanie Smith said in a union news release. "British Columbians deserve answers so that those responsible can be held accountable, but also so we can take meaningful action to safeguard our communities from further harm."
The BCGEU was the B.C. NDP's third largest donor in 2017, contributing $454,000.
The only unions that gave more were the United Steelworkers and various locals and offices of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
So far, Premier John Horgan has not consented to holding a Quebec Charbonneau Commission–style public inquiry into the activities of organized crime in B.C.
Last year, former deputy RCMP commissioner Peter German wrote a report called Dirty Money for the B.C. government, which suggested $100 million had been laundered through B.C. casinos over several years.
German has been commissioned by the attorney general's ministry to write a second report, this time on money laundering in B.C.'s housing sector, racetracks, and luxury items, including automobiles.
In addition, the finance ministry has retained an expert panel to report on money laundering in the real-estate sector.
On November 26, Global News reported that more than $1 billion in criminal proceeds were washed through Vancouver's real-estate market in 2016.
Global News cited an as-yet unreleased RCMP report. The media outlet mentioned only one person by name, Paul King Jin, who reportedly discharged a mortgage on one property.
In December, Attorney General David Eby said that he and German were unaware of the existence of the secret RCMP report until they heard about it on the news.
One of the loudest voices clamouring for a public inquiry is Port Coquitlam mayor Brad West, a close political ally of Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
In fact, West worked for Farnworth before being elected to his city council in 2008.
Farnworth is a long-time MLA who lost only one provincial election between 1996 and 2017. After being defeated in 2001, he was hired by the National Democratic Institute and worked in Bulgaria, the Balkans, and Iraq supporting democratic governance.
The NDI has been chaired for many years by former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright. It's supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of State.
The National Endowment for Democracy is a nonprofit foundation created by U.S. president Ronald Reagan in 1983 to strengthen democratic institutions around the world.