NDP Leader Promises Transparent Ownership Registry and New RCMP Anti Money Laundering Unit

Photo credit: thestar.com
Jagmeet Singh, NDP Leader, promised new RCMP anti-money laundering unit and transparency of ownership registry while on his campaign tour through British Columbia. A province where 90% believe money laundering is a problem according to a recent poll.
He has committed $20 Million towards the new RCMP anti-money laundering unit, which would see reassigning of resource starved federal RCMP ranks to this unit and funding of additional officers. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has also proposed $20 million over the next 2 years dedicated to combating anti-money laundering. While, Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau has proposed $200 million over next 5 years towards combating anti-money laundering.
The new unit would also be responsible for seizing real estate money laundering and integrate it into B.C. housing to ensure affordable housing.
Like Scheer’s plan of national inquiry into money laundering, Jagmeet has promised to do the same. However, there were no further details to his plan. As much as combating anti-money
laundering should be in the media, it should not be in a candidate’s agenda to gain victory. There should already be intense efforts being made towards combating anti-money laundering as it is a concern on the international level.
Jagmeet’s other promise is to create a national ownership registry, which would disclose the names of beneficial owners using shell companies to hide their investments in real estate. Similar initiatives have been supported by other international bodies and has been implemented by United Kingdom.
“On the NDP’s proposal, it sounds ambitious, and if they have a mechanism for beneficial ownership transparency on land titles that would by-pass provinces, then why not propose a full, publicly accessible, corporate beneficial ownership registry?” TIC’s executive director James Cohen said.
Major cities such as Toronto and Vancouver have big real estate ownership problems. according to studies from Transparency International Canada (TIC). A 2016 study for TIC found that about 50 per cent of Vancouver’s most expensive properties are owned through complicated structures such as legal trusts and shell corporations.
“It is the provincial corporate system that has been abused with shell companies, not federal, so a federal system would only capture companies set up federally and not too many people set up federal companies compared to the number set up in B.C.,” Anti-money-laundering lawyer Christine Duhaime said.
“So [Singh would] have to have the provinces on board, willing to create that system and have them all agree to contribute to a national database of provincial companies.”
According to findings by the B.C.’s NDP government, there is no dedicated federal RCMP allocated to the combat anti-money laundering in B.C. which is a real shocker. Seeing, how billions of dollars have been laundered through B.C. real estate market in the last couple of years.
Cohen said, “On RCMP anti-money laundering staffing, (the NDP’s) ambition is welcome, but all parties should recognize that while B.C. is currently reconciling with a huge problem, money laundering is a pan-Canadian problem,”
“Shady dealings have inflated prices in the Greater Toronto Area and Vancouver, and they must come to an end,” Scheer said this week, while announcing his plan.