MLA REPORT: Rebuilding trust in the B.C. government

Andrew Weaver is MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and leader of the B.C. Green Party

In recent weeks, the allegations of wrongdoing in the legislature have started to undermine the public’s trust in the integrity of this institution. The implications of this are disturbing. The allegations suggest more than financial mismanagement or improper spending — they suggest a culture of entitlement, questionable ethics and a wavering moral compass. It’s clear that there is a lot of hard work left to do to improve transparency and accountability in the B.C. Legislature. But it is not just the legislature where this needs to happen

My BC Green colleagues and I have now officially called for a public inquiry into B.C.’s money laundering scandal. It’s clear that this nefarious activity has been rampant in our province for over a decade. And it’s had direct, adverse and tragic consequences on the housing and opioid crises plaguing British Columbia. A public inquiry with the power of subpoena is required to ensure transparency in process, to provide recommendations to government, and to hold those responsible accountable.

Independent public inquiries are government-appointed commissions that look in-depth into matters of public interest. The purpose of a public, non-partisan inquiry is to find facts and make recommendations to government that will set us on a path to improved accountability and transparency. Do they take time and do they cost money? Yes, but in comparison to the scale of the impact money laundering has had and its cost to society, a public inquiry is a very small price to pay. British Columbians deserve the type of thorough investigation that only an independent public inquiry, with its power to subpoena witnesses and compel testimony, can provide.

We are continually learning more and more about the scale of the money laundering crisis. What was once estimated to be $100 million is now estimated at more that a billion dollars a year in dirty cash laundered in B.C. To our collective shame, we’ve also recently learned of the “Vancouver model”, a term used by organized crime around the world to illustrate how easy it is to launder money here. Once again, B.C. is making international news for all the wrong reasons.

To top this all off, in question period my BC Green colleagues and I learned that one of the top five transnational criminal organizations was getting tax credits in British Columbia. The fact that a criminal organization would receive tax credits to launder money is absolutely stunning.

Our democracy is based on public trust. If the public loses trust in its government, the support for that government is lost. British Columbians are demanding and deserve answers. It is up to all MLAs to ensure that questions are asked, answers are given and that those who are responsible are held accountable.

The BC Green caucus is committed to ensuring a culture of transparency and accountability in B.C. politics. Rebuilding public trust won’t happen overnight and we have a lot of work to do, but it is incumbent on me as an elected member of this legislature to do everything I can to see this trust restored. And that is my commitment to you.

Andrew Weaver is MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and leader of the B.C. Green Party.

Just Posted

The shores will not rock in 2019

Atomique Productions announce Rock the Shores festival will not return in 2019, future is uncertain

Video shows logging operation on disputed Saturna Island land

Tsawout First Nation members opposed to logging on reserve land

Family still searching for missing Langford man two weeks after disappearance

Family hopeful he is alive, offering $10,000 reward

Victoria police concerned about missing man’s well-being

Delmer was reported missing on March 19

Fracking, economy, climate at centre of Green Party town hall in Metchosin

Green Party leader Elizabeth May and local candidate David Merner take questions from community

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Most Read