Follow The Money For X Sake!
“Real estate and money laundering – spotlight on Canada” is the very latest misguided report; yet another regurgitating how Realtors are to blame for allowing money-laundering.
The context of the real estate money-laundering issue has been skewed by not getting to the root cause of the lack of effectiveness of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), and the failure to follow-up is journalistic negligence.
Hundreds of Realtor violations of FINTRAC recording requirements have been widely reported by the media, but there has been no further details, or media follow up with the Feds.
This is an excerpt from a CBC report: Pierre Leduc, a spokesman for CREA, said the organization has asked FINTRAC for information about the results of examinations but the federal watchdog has not provided it. “Since we aren’t getting audit information from FINTRAC we don’t know specifics of compliance challenges, which makes it incredibly difficult for us help our members address any shortcomings,” Leduc said in an email.
So why isn’t FINTRAC providing the details of the audits to the Canadian Real Estate Association? Is it because these violations were simply insignificant boxes not being checked off on the multitude of bureaucratic forms? That headline would not be quite as scandalous or sensational, but it sure would expose the complete foolishness of FINTRAC reporting it. It is so easy and convenient to lay the blame for everything at the feet of Realtors, e.g., foreign buyers, funding of terrorists, lack of affordability, money-laundering, etc.
After the outlay of so much taxpayer funded resources by FINTRAC, it would be interesting to know the extent of these violations, and the penalties. Much more importantly though (hoping the Office of the Auditor General of Canada is listening), how many terrorists have been apprehended in Canada, and how much laundered money has been recovered through Realtors as a result of the huge federal government bureaucracy and resources given to FINTRAC over the years? FOI requests anyone?
Dig a little deeper and you’ll find the Feds have still not imposed on, developers, lenders and lawyers, the same FINTRAC reporting requirements expected of Realtors; this is a very serious omission by the Feds. One might easily deduce this omission is a lack of political will, and a deliberate attempt to protect some major re-election funding sources.
The overall lack of federal accountability leaves the free-flowing cash doors wide open today, except in Metro Vancouver, where a hasty 15% tax was imposed by the BC government, causing the money to flow to, Chilliwack Kelowna, Mission, Victoria, Whistler, and elsewhere in Canada.
So who is questioning why developers, lenders and lawyers aren’t all being held to account, and especially since they directly transact the transfer of money and title (Realtors don’t)? It sure would be interesting to hear from the media how many lawyers, lenders and developers, have reported suspicious dealings to FINTRAC.
The direction of FINTRAC, chasing after Realtors, who are not CSIS agents by the way, is a complete absurdity and waste of government resources; follow the money, for X sake!