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EDITORIAL: A massive B.C. problem that cannot be ignored

Investigation into money laundering reveals need for action
Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to a question while meeting with reporters after releasing his report from his Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, June 15, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam

An 1,800-page report, released earlier this month, shows money laundering is a problem in British Columbia.

The Cullen Final Report, which began in May 2019, showed high levels of money laundering in the real estate, casino, horse racing and luxury car sectors. This was fuelled by the illegal drug trade as well as human trafficking and fraud.

These criminal activities are huge problems within this province.

READ MORE: B.C. money laundering report calls for new law enforcement unit, provincial office

The ongoing opioid crisis alone has claimed thousands of lives across B.C. since it was declared a public health emergency in the spring of 2016. This drug crisis ties into the illegal drug trade and is affecting individuals and families, as well as communities of all sizes, in every part of the province.

The value of money laundering is estimated to be in the billions of dollars. Taking action here can be one part of a strategy in reducing crime within our society.

The Cullen Final Report lists 101 recommendations to deal with money laundering, including the creation of a new law enforcement unit and a permanent commissioner dedicated to this problem.

The efforts put into the creation of this report are impressive, and the document helps to provide a clear view into a disturbing segment of crime in this province. Details in the report reveal a problem that must be addressed.

However, this weighty report and its many recommendations will have no value unless action is taken. Information by itself cannot bring about the necessary changes.

It will not be cheap or easy to combat money laundering, and the costs of adding a new law enforcement unit and a permanent commissioner will be significant.

However, without taking action, other criminal activity will continue to plague this province.

– Black Press Media

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