The topic of a possible public inquiry seeking more information and instances where money-laundering might have taken place across British Columbia attracts more supporters with each passing day. The City of Victoria could soon become the latest community voicing its position when it comes to the organized crime scheme that washed around CA$2 billion through casino venues in the province.
People across British Columbia are eager to find out more about what allowed the criminal practice to take place for years on end and they are willing to aid the process with a public inquiry. More and more communities and officials claim their support of this approach andthe latest push comes from Victoria Councilors Sarah Potts and Laurel Collins. Their joint efforts brought to life a special motion addressing the issue and prompting Victoria to join the movement. The ultimate goal for these efforts would be to trigger an extensive investigation holding criminals responsible for their actions.
Victoria Councilors Would Cast Their Votes Thursday
The joint motion was introduced only recently and Council members would have to thoroughly review it this Thursday. If it receives a green light, this would mean that the City of Victoria proclaims its support of a public inquiry that could launch this spring. The growing support is something British Columbia government is aware of, but in a recent statement, Attorney-General David Eby said that if a public inquiry launches now, it would interfere with the ongoing investigation into money-laundering in the real-estate and luxury cars field.
The month of March is projected to see several important reports being issued and a possible public inquiry could take place after that. Premier John Horgan made it clear that at the moment an inquiry is not what the province needs, as it would drain taxpayers’ money. The two reports would shed more light on the true magnitude of the money-laundering issue, possibly preparing the ground for a public inquiry only after that.
Maureen Maloney, former B.C. Deputy Attorney-General is currently working on one of the reports covering the real-estate field and what loopholes allowed money-laundering to take place. The second report would be issued by former RCMP Executive Peter German, once again focusing on British Columbia’s housing sector.
The City Makes No Decision On Second Casino Venue
Thursday’s conversation would tilt the scales for Victoria that could join other big cities to the likes of Richmond and Vancouver. Coun. Collins stated that the gaming and real-estate sectors are closely linked to the fentanyl crisis that took the lives of many people across the province. The housing market struggles and fentanyl addiction appear to be a harder hit for Victoria.
Gambling is still a tricky topic in the region, especially after the city decided to take no action on potential casino operation. British Columbia Lottery Corporation was seeking updates on those communities that would like to welcome a casino venue if the opportunity presents itself.
Mayor Lisa Helps issued a recommendation that the city refrains from a second casino venue, as she was concerned gambling expansion could bring money-laundering to the area. In response, Coun. Marianne Alto introduced a motion, giving council members the chance to vote. At the end of the day, the city decided to leave matters up in the air and make no decision.