A growing chorus of British Columbians have been calling on the BC NDP government to establish an independent public inquiry into money-laundering - The consistent flow of media reports over the past year, is drawing attention to the shocking state of affairs in our province. There is immense pressure on me, and my BC Green Caucus colleagues, to act. It's not just public pressure. It is also internal.
Trust in government
The crisis of confidence in our democracy was the ballot box question in the 2017 election. The BC Greens promised our constituents, and all British Columbians, that we would make rebuilding trust our priority.
Sonia, Andrew and I, have an opportunity that few others have. We have question period. This issue became our sole focus of Question Period for the entire first few weeks of the Spring 2019 session.
While there was substantial evidence that a public inquiry was necessary, Question Period is an opportunity to shed more light on the issue. So, we dug in.
To be fair, Attorney General David Eby's answers are solid. Clearly, he shares a similar level of disgust with what has evolved in this province over the last decade.
His work began by hiring Dr. Peter German to look into the money-laundering allegations. Dr. German's report is a sobering first glance into the snake pit for many British Columbians.
In September of last year, Eby announced that he asked Dr. German to continue with a second probe into connections with real estate, horse racing, luxury car sales and the opioid crisis. Dr. German's report is due in March 2019.
In October, Minister of Finance Carole James appointed an expert panel on anti-money laundering. Their final report is also due out in March.
So, the government's work thus far needs to be commended. For the past decade, this issue has been allowed to fester while the former government turned a blind eye. And, it could be worse than what we know so far. What is lurking under the surface?
Through his work and his responses to our questions, the Attorney General has demonstrated his commitment to routing out corruption. But, it's time to remove this from the political sphere.
That is why I, and my BC Green Caucus colleagues, are calling on the Attorney General to establish an independent public inquiry.
As one of the 87 elected members to the British Columbia Legislature, I have a duty to protect the integrity of our government. I was saddened by the doorstep conversations in my riding throughout the 2017 campaign. Clearly, people had lost confidence in their government.
It's highly problematic when the public no longer trusts government and when citizens are no longer confident that their elected officials are looking out for the public interest.
Transparency and accountability have become political buzz words. Making them the actions of elected officials, is the most important work we have ahead.