Three days after the Cullen Commission into money laundering wrapped its first phase of public hearings in Vancouver, one of the politicians expected to testify announced he will not run for re-election.
Rich Coleman, the former BC Liberal minister in charge of casinos, was first elected in 1996. He revealed Feb. 29 that he will retire from politics.
Attorney General David Eby included Coleman’s name in a list of people that he hopes will appear before Commissioner Austin Cullen when witnesses are heard from September to December.
Cullen heard opening statements over two-and-a-half days from a range of participants, including casinos, labour, law and non-governmental organizations. One of those was James Cohen of Transparency International Canada, who blamed secrecy for fostering corruption in B.C.’s gambling and real estate sectors.
“There are a number of gaps within Canada’s anti-money laundering law, the proceeds of crime, money laundering and terrorist financing law,” Cohen told Cullen. “But our coalition, as well as many experts and international bodies, agree on a key problem, Canada’s weak beneficial ownership regime.”
Not everyone who owns a secret company is a criminal, Cohen said, but gaps in Canadian laws allow mean true owners with sinister intent to remain anonymous and do significant harm to the economy and communities.
Also hear from Brock University’s Charles Burton and the University of British Columbia’s Paul Evans, who testified before the House of Commons special committee on Canada-China relations.
Burton raised the concern about foreign money from China influencing Canadian political campaigns and recommended a law similar to one enacted in Australia that is aimed at curbing the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.
Plus commentaries and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.
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