BC Government news item, May 15, 2019:
The Province will hold a public inquiry into money laundering that has distorted British Columbia’s economy, fuelled the overdose crisis and driven up housing prices…
“This inquiry will bring answers about who knew what when and who is profiting from money laundering in our province,” said David Eby, Attorney General.
“The Honourable Justice Cullen will have the mandate, authority and resources to seek answers, perhaps most importantly among people and organizations who refuse to share what they know unless legally compelled to do so.”
Nine months ago, Attorney General David Eby asked BC Liberals to waive privilege over cabinet files related to money laundering. Eby said the old documents would not be released to the public but would assist ongoing criminal investigations.
A month later, Liberal leader Wilkinson refused Eby’s request, justifying that decision because BC NDP has opposed release of advice to cabinet about compensation paid Provincial Court judges.
March 28, the Supreme Court of Canada granted the province leave to appeal a lower court order to release Horgan cabinet’s pay dispute documents. That order had been stayed by the BC Appeal Court.
Today, a Liberal who had a central role in casino oversight dodged questions from Globe and Mail’s Justine Hunter about documents, saying that was in the Attorney General’s purview.
He also suggested he will refuse to reveal all that he knows to Inquiry Commissioner Austin Cullen. For Rich Coleman, it is not a matter of self-preservation. He aims to protect unnamed people who are vulnerable if he talks.
If there were any investigations that were going on or continued as a result over the years, I would never talk about them or disclose any of that because I could put people’s lives at risk if they were undercover, whatever.
BC NDP offered a response to the recent Liberal evasion:
VICTORIA – Following today’s announcement of a public inquiry into money laundering, BC Liberal Attorney General Critic Michael Lee and former Deputy Premier Rich Coleman were both asked if the BC Liberals will share relevant cabinet documents with the inquiry.
Both MLAs refused and inaccurately suggested the matter was out of their control. In fact, former Finance Minister Mike de Jong has the power to disclose the documents, but has also refused to do so. Attorney General David Eby first made the request to waive cabinet confidence in August.
Lee refused to answer direct questions, saying they were “premature.” Lee even questioned “whether [Justice Cullen] has the jurisdiction” to compel the disclosure of those documents….