4.11.4 Cracking down on organized and white collar crime

Canada is widely regarded to be soft on organized and white collar crime. We seem to have a two-tiered justice system where people with money can work the system for their own advantage. The challenges involved in tackling economic crime are complex, and require clear leadership from the federal government, and concrete steps that will create tangible results.

Economic crimes are far from victimless. In a real sense, they are a theft of public property and harm all Canadians. Clamping down on these crimes to protect our investments and businesses will ensure that we secure not only the confidence of investors, but also the revenues needed to support our social programs. Tax evasion and fraud drain significant resources from the public purse and cannot be tolerated by a responsible government.

Economic criminal investigations are often quite complex and require highly specialized legal teams and sophisticated information management. Federal prosecutors must be given enough resources to build up the necessary legal teams to conduct effective and timely prosecutions of these commercial fraudsters. It is worth recalling that notorious U.S. gangster Al Capone finally went to jail for tax evasion, and not his links to crimes of violence. Giving our criminal investigators and prosecutors the tools to track down tax fraud and money laundering can help fight organized crime.

Green Party MPs will:

  • Press for the creation of a Canadian Securities Crime Unit within the RCMP in order to provide for the public safety of our pension funds and personal retirement savings throughout Canada. If it is to be effective, securities crime policing must be done independently of the securities regulators and the investment industry;

  • Pursue “white collar” crime in securities fraud, creating a specific and enforceable offence under the Criminal Code;

  • Create and fund a criminal justice taskforce focusing on the nexus between money-laundering, securities fraud and financing terrorism;

  • Pursue and collect funds held outside of Canada as identified in the Panama Papers;

  • Allow for greater freedom in the issuing of subpoenas that would require witnesses to give a sworn statement during white collar criminal investigations;

  • Amend the laws to provide for stiffer sentencing and greater restitution in white collar crimes. It is important that the sentences fit the severity of the crimes;

  • Improve access to ‘lifestyle’ evidence and tax records of those suspected of involvement in organized crime. We need to enhance the tools available for pursuing the proceeds of crime if we are to get tough on economic and gang crimes;

  • Provide greater resources for federal prosecutors so they can build up the necessary legal teams to conduct effective and timely prosecutions of white collar criminals.