BC Politics

Please Advise! Money Laundering? What about Other Sleazy Transactions?

Dr. Steve wants all the inquiries.

By Steve Burgess 16 May 2019 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

Almost $7.5 billion of dirty money was laundered in B.C. last year alone, mostly through real estate but also casinos and luxury vehicles. Now the Horgan government has announced an official inquiry into money laundering in the province. A final report is due in May 2021, just before the next scheduled provincial election.

Do you think the inquiry is a good idea?


Inquiring Mind

Dear Inquiring,

Doctor Steve is not comfortable with this. As someone who obtained his degree in the beautiful Cayman Islands, Dr. Steve is sympathetic to any who seek shelter for their hard-scammed money. Let us respect the proceeds of honest grift.

Then there is the element of class warfare. All of the focus so far has been on money laundering through casinos, expensive homes, and high-end sports cars. Why not expand the scope of the investigation? Let’s look into all the money laundered via purchases of canned string beans and No Name dried spaghetti noodles. Or is it only the rich who must suffer?

While we’re at it, let’s crack down on the people who buy a litre of milk, take it home, pour some on their Honey Nut Cheerios, then take it back to the store to exchange it, claiming it is “sour.” Hey, if those M&Ms really “tasted funny,” why did you eat half the bag already? How long will these retail con artists operate with impunity? There’s your real scandal.

And you — yes, Dr. Steve is looking at you — accepting the free grocery store sample of new Cinnamon Toast Crunch Microwaveable Bites knowing full well in your dark, malevolent heart that you have no intention of buying the product. Is there to be no reckoning for the likes of you?

Besides, this local money laundering may not be such a bad thing. Investigators say that the process of using real estate to wash illicit funds was so well established in our town that it became known as the “Vancouver Model.” How’s that for branding? We’re getting the most international PR we’ve had since the 2010 Olympics. You can’t buy that kind of publicity. At least not without a wheelbarrow full of casino chips.

Much of the dirty money is said to have come from Mainland China. Surely this is cause for celebration, not persecution. For decades Western countries urged China’s Communist regime to adopt the ways of capitalism. Now it appears they are giving us a master class and we are going to punish them for it? Dr. Steve catches a distinct whiff of hypocrisy here.

Also, if we are going to attack money laundering we ought to be fair and look into every kind of sleazy transaction. Not all of them involve dumping duffel bags full of bundled bills at a casino wicket. There are other sketchy exchanges going on. For example, Conrad Black was just pardoned by Donald Trump.

All through Trump’s presidency, Black has been using his National Post column to lavish affection on The Donald in a way that would probably get you arrested on a public beach. Then, perhaps worried that fawning over His Orangeness in a Canadian newspaper would not be enough to seal the deal, Black wrote an entire book extolling the greatness of America’s Dear Leader. For all we know Black may have booked rooms at Mar-a-Lago every weekend and arranged to bump into Trump in the lobby so he could say, “Oh, pardon me, Mr. President.”

But even in this case Dr. Steve is filled with admiration. The Black pardon is enough to restore your faith in the power of shameless ass-kissing. Dr. Steve always respected Mr. Black’s regular Trump encomiums in the Post. At least they had a transparent purpose. What’s Hugh Hewitt’s excuse? Black also cleverly titled his book Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other, a statement no reasonable person can deny. So Black has now emerged from the Trump Laundromat spic 'n span.

These cases are all about an exchange of services and/or facilitating the flow of currency through our booming economy. That was why we allowed these casinos to be built in the first place — we didn’t want the action going elsewhere. But now, like Claude Rains in Casablanca, we profess ourselves shocked at the goings-on. So fine, go ahead with your inquiry. It’s your loss, and so much the better for my old alumni pals in the Cayman Islands.

(P.S. If you or a business associate should feel particularly touched by my stirring defence of your rights and privileges here, contact me via The Tyee. All tips gratefully accepted.)  [Tyee]

Read more: BC Politics, Housing, Media

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