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The public inquiry into money laundering has begun – your union’s opening statement - BCGEU

Just over fourteen months ago, your union launched the Public Inquiry Now campaign-making the BCGEU one of the first voices demanding that the provincial government call a public inquiry into the links between the housing affordability crisis, the overdose crisis and criminal money laundering in casinos. 

As you know, our campaign succeeded. And Monday I was honoured to take the stand in front of Commissioner Austin Cullen to deliver the BCGEU's opening statement.

Your union is one of only 16 participants granted standing to submit evidence and testimony on the topics covered by the Commission's mandate. More importantly, the BCGEU is the only participant speaking for working people. And we intend to ensure that the lived experience of working people is a central consideration in the Commission's work.

Our opening statement highlighted our support for the actions taken by the current government to fix the interlocking real estate, overdose and money laundering crises that were allowed to escalate over the past two decades. Our statement emphasized your union's support for the casino sector and those who work in it as a vital source of revenue for important public services. And our statement also made our expectations clear:

  • We expect the Commission to identify which decision makers are responsible for getting us to where we are and to hold those individuals accountable.
  • We expect the Commission to make the health, safety and well-being of working people a central consideration of their investigations and recommendations.
  • We expect to be active participants in the commission's work going forward, including helping our members to share their lived experience and perspectives with the Commission.

You can read my full statement here. And you can follow the proceedings on the Commission's website. All public hearings are webcast live and available in an archive at .

Delivering our opening statement is a great milestone in our work with the Commission. We have more work to do. We will continue compiling feedback from our members working in the sectors vulnerable to this crisis. In the coming weeks and months, you will receive more communication from your union about how you can provide information to the Commission. For now, if you have information you think may be relevant to the Commission's mandate, please visit or email and [email protected].

We would not be here without the many BCGEU members who were among the first to raise the alarm on money laundering in the province, and who ensured our union was among the first voices in civil society to call for a public inquiry. I want to thank you for your perseverance and solidarity on these important issues. I assure you that your voice will continue to be central to our work as we move forward.

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith