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BC NDP says real estate misconduct is to blame for housing unaffordability

Last Updated Jun 29, 2016 at 4:03 pm PDT

John Horgan (Photo by Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The provincial opposition is sure money laundering and speculation are the true causes of housing unaffordability in Metro Vancouver and it’s time to compile some proof. The BC NDP wants the BC government to form a task force to start prosecuting offenders.

Leader John Horgan believes the time for study on what’s fueling unaffordability is over. He says it’s things like fraud, tax evasion and money laundering that are to blame and a group to stop it needs to be formed.

“We want to crack down on that and we want to crack down on that right now. What would that look like? It would be a task force consisting of Crown prosecutors, tax experts from the Ministry of Finance, legal experts with respect to real estate law and corporate law and that could be done in a fairly timely way at little of no cost over the long term. Assuming, of course, we would be able to recoup costs from penalties imposed on those that are not playing within the rules that govern these sorts of activities in British Columbia.”

Horgan says the federal money laundering monitoring agency FINTRAC should already have all the information the task force would need.

“There is no shortage of evidence. FINTRAC did reviews. Eight-two audits. Fifty-five of the 82 audits of the real estate market in the Lower Mainland did not comply with anti-money laundering regulations… The only challenge is will the premier step up to the plate and address them.”

Housing Critic David Eby adds while FINTRAC is a federal group, enforcing the law is a provincial responsibility.

“One of those duties of provincial law enforcement through municipal police forces is policing the money laundering laws in Canada.”