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Early election call not expected to derail B.C.'s dirty money inquiry

Last Updated Sep 20, 2020 at 12:07 pm PDT

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Summary

B.C.'s dirty money inquiry won't be impacted by an early election call: Attorney General David Eby

That report is due in the spring a few month's before what's supposed to be the next date voters head back to the polls

Eby adds an early election will have zero impact on Commissioner because this inquiry is independent of government

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Even if Premier John Horgan calls a snap election this month, B.C.’s money laundering inquiry is going ahead.

Despite some minor delays linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, more evidence hearings are slated to start Oct. 13.

Attorney General David Eby says Commissioner Austin Cullen will continue hearing testimony via video conference.

“The inquiry proceeds independent of government and it will proceed independent of an election or anything else. The commissioner will do what the commissioner feels is appropriate in terms of calling witnesses to fulfill the terms of reference that were given to them. They’ve got a lot of work ahead of them. They’ll feel the need to continue doing it regardless of whether there’s an election or not.”

Cullen’s looking into casinos, real estate, luxury cars and other parts of the economy used to clean dirty money for criminals –including drug traffickers.

Eby admits COVID-19 has made it difficult for some disclosure evidence to be collected.

“There’s no question the inquiry has been impacted in terms of the ability of key players, like the government of Canada for example, to prioritize disclosing documents and participation in the inquiry, but they’ve managed to, as far as I understand, keep things on the rails and they still anticipate providing their report on the schedule that they committed to.”

Eby insists an early election call will have zero impact on this inquiry.

“They are independent of government, but they’ve told us that they are keeping to that calendar and some hearings may change. My understanding is that they will be hearing from witnesses related to casino regulation and gambling in October. They are proceeding with those witness hearings and I think that’s important for British Columbians.”

Testimony is slated to wrap up in April with a final report still expected to be ready sometime in the spring.

That’s a few months before October 2021, when the next provincial election is supposed to happen.