Dogwood News This Week: dirty money

Email Template r1 Dogwood Your place for news and action In a not-so-distant past, bribery in B.C. politics was legal.

Any corporation or wealthy donor anywhere in the world could donate unlimited money to politicians in this province at both the municipal and provincial level.

This power over our democracy diluted the power of individual voters, eroded public confidence in decision-making and ensured special treatment for some of the worst corporate actors in B.C. including the company responsible for the Mount Polley... mining disaster, big logging enterprises and Site C contractors.

But thanks to the work of local reporters and democracy-watch groups including IntegrityBC and Dogwood, the laws were changed. No longer can oil and gas companies or real estate marketers donate millions from Alberta, Texas or Malaysia.

Then came the Cullen Commission and an inquiry into where the flow of dirty money into B.C. was coming from — who was bringing it in, how it was being washed and the countless ways it has eroded our communities.

The inquiry’s final report was issued this week, after a multi-year investigation and hundreds of witnesses testified. It found an underworld of money laundering happening right under our noses. But the commission claims it didn’t find corruption within the government.

Dirty money has infiltrated a range of high profile industries in B.C., from housing to gambling to buying a car. And it all happened under our government’s watch. Some of the same people in politics today have benefited from a system of bribery, dirty money and corruption.

This is why closed doors must be broken open and light needs to shine into the darkest corners of our political system. Dogwood’s successful Ban Big Money campaign was a step along the path, and that same dedication to truth and democracy is still deeply ingrained in our work to decarbonize and decolonize B.C.

There are times democratizing B.C. feels hopeless and messy and unsolvable. But more than that, there’s hope for a better, healthier system. And remembering what’s possible is important now more than ever with so much at stake. Image alt text
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