The B.C. government's decision Wednesday to launch a public inquiry into money laundering is being applauded by politicians and other advocates.
(BURNABY) – The BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) is applauding the B.C. government’s decision to call a public inquiry into money laundering headed by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen. And the union is praising its members for their advocacy over the last six months as a key driver in the government’s decision.
“Like all British Columbians, our members want answers about how our province got into this mess, how we get out of it, and who is responsible,” says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “Today’s announcement is a vital step toward getting those answers. I’m proud of our members and everyone who signed our petition—or engaged the government in any other way on this issue—and I’m happy to see the government is listening.”
In addition to money laundering’s impacts on the housing market that have affected affordability across B.C., many BCGEU members have also been impacted at their workplace. Members in sectors from health care, social services, libraries, and gaming to deputy sheriffs and correctional officers have been thrust into first responder roles on the frontlines of the opioid crisis, with members in B.C.’s casinos facing the presence of organized crime at their workplaces.
Despite a series of studies completed over the last year into the impact of money laundering in B.C. and Canada, significant questions remain including the true scope of the problem and who is accountable. This is because, to date, none of the studies have been completed by investigators with the authority to request documents and compel testimony.
“We’ve all learned a lot about money laundering recently,” said Smith. “But it’s really been a case of the more we learn, the more we realize how much we still don’t know. Every report I’ve seen has been like shining a flashlight into one corner of a big, dark room. We’ve said from the beginning that a public inquiry is the only way to turn the lights on so we can get the full picture.”
The government’s decision announced today has broad-based public support. A February 2019 Research Co. poll commissioned by the BCGEU showed 77 per cent of respondents in favour of an inquiry. These findings, and those from two others dating back to June 2018, showed support for an inquiry across age, gender, region, voting preference and ethnicity.
“In addition to the announcement of the inquiry itself, we are also encouraged by the ability of the commissioner to compel testimony, the ability to go as far back in time as necessary, and the co-operation of the federal government. We look forward to learning more about terms and resources in the coming days. It’s imperative that the commissioner has the power to explore the myriad of ways that dirty money has impacted our housing market, the opioid epidemic and other aspects of our economy and communities.”
The union first called for a public inquiry in December 2018 following the collapse of the RCMP’s E-Pirate investigation and launched a public petition in February 2019.
For more information contact Stefan Avlijas, BCGEU 778 833-2667.
On behalf of the members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union I extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Bobbi Pettett, who passed away on May 5, 2019.
Bobbi was a dedicated activist and beginning in 1989, she held many positions in the union from steward, local chair, and bargaining committee member to component chair and member of the provincial executive. She was a member of the union's women's committee and was instrumental in the creation of Component 8 – Community Health Services and Support. In 2014, Bobbi was bestowed the union's highest honour of life membership.
Bobbi was compassionate, honest and loved her union and in fact, she had an encyclopedic knowledge of our union's history. She also loved her family and her time spent in Hawaii.
Our hearts and minds are with her friends, family and all who knew and loved her.
In solidarity and respect,
Stephanie Smith, President
The BC Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) is disappointed to see today's launch of the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) campaign opposing the provincial government's decision to bring home support services in-house under the Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver Island Health authorities.
The BCGEU has been lobbying to bring home care support workers under government employment for over two decades and enthusiastically welcomes this excellent public policy decision that will provide greater security to workers, and better care to B.C. seniors.
"This attempt to block much needed reform to a sector in crisis, and to better support home support workers is appalling," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "We realize the business interests of the BCCPA will be affected by this change, but it's time to put the well-being of people over profit, and address the damage resulting from almost 20 years privatization and underfunding in the sector."
The BCGEU will be working closely with the health authorities over the next 12-18 months to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible and works in a way that supports both workers and clients.
The BCGEU represents approximately 4,800 home support workers across the province.
See our March 14, 2019 media release: BCGEU celebrates announcement to bring home support workers under government employment
BCGEU president Stephanie Smith draws on her experience as an early childhood educator to explain her frustration with the debate over a pay increase that's only going to unionized workers in the community social services sector.
Smith said the complaints about the selective raises reminded her of the children's story about the Little Red Hen.
We are incredibly excited to announce President Stephanie Smith, Treasurer Paul Finch, Executive Vice President Joanna Lord and Component Vice President Judy Fox-McGuire will be in Dawson Creek May 4th and would love the opportunity to meet you and answer any questions you may have. We invite you and your family to this special member event to enjoy great company, appetizers and light refreshments.
When: Saturday, May 4th, 2019
Where: George Dawson Inn
11705 – 8th Street
Appetizers and Light Refreshments 2:30 to 4:00
Please RSVP by following the link below
RSVP must be received no later than Friday, April 26, 2019
For more information, please contact
BCGEU – 10147 - 100th Avenue, Fort St John, BC, V1J 1Y7 or
Fax: 250-785-0048 or 1-866-991-6062 or
Download PDF of notice here
You are invited to join us and your fellow BCGEU members for a day of education at the Peace River Area Office.
STEP UP, our introductory, one-day course, will introduce you to the BCGEU, explore our common values, union culture, and our diverse community of members. Through stories of solidarity and courage, you will gain the strength and support you need to begin your journey as a new or returning steward. Along the way, you will learn about your fundamental union rights and useful union tools and strategies for getting started in your role. Newly elected stewards will have priority registration. You will leave feeling more informed, confident and ready to support a member through a Step 1 grievance. This course is the first step on our new learning pathway for stewards.
Course Date: May 28, 2019
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Where: BCGEU Peace River Area Office
10147 100 Avenue
Fort St. John BC V1J 1Y7
RSVP by following the link below:
The B.C. government released a report from Peter German, noting that B.C. does not have a single federal RCMP officer dedicated to investigating money laundering. Stephanie Smith, President of the BCGEU joined Adam Stirling to talk more about the report.
BURNABY – Today the B.C. government released the initial details of investigator Peter German's latest report on money laundering in the province, which disclosed that B.C. does not have a single federal RCMP officer dedicated to investigating money laundering. As the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) continues to call for a public inquiry into organized crime, opioids and money laundering in B.C., today's revelations reaffirm the need for a well-resourced public inquiry with a broad mandate to uncover the systemic causes of a wide and complex crisis.
"Dr. German has met his mandate and submitted yet another report that proves a piecemeal approach will never give British Columbians the answers and accountability they need and deserve," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "In fact, with each new report what we're really finding out is how much we don't know. A broadly-mandated, well-resourced public inquiry is our only real chance to learn the whole truth about a crisis that has been going on for years, has claimed thousands of lives, has made our province unaffordable for most working people and has earned our country an international reputation as a crime hotspot."
The effects of this multi-layered crisis have reached every corner of the province and have impacted the union's members in a number of ways. BCGEU members from health care, social services, libraries and casinos to transit workers, deputy sheriffs and correctional officers have been thrust into first responder roles on the frontlines of the opioid crisis.
"I'm grateful for these latest revelations from Dr. German and I applaud the Attorney General for releasing as much information as he can as quickly as he can," continued Smith. "And, on behalf of BCGEU members and every British Columbian who has been victimized by this crisis, I am calling on the provincial government to do the right thing and call a public inquiry."
In January the BCGEU launched a campaign to show Premier Horgan that there is wide public support for an inquiry into organized crime, opioids, and money laundering in B.C. Since then, public polling has repeatedly shown that 3-in-4 British Columbians support a public inquiry into the multi-layered crisis.