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PRESS RELEASE: BCCLA raises serious concerns about privacy rights and civil liberties at B.C.’s public inquiry into money laundering

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For Immediate Release

VANCOUVER – COAST SALISH TERRITORIES – Today, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (“BCCLA”) will fight to ensure that the rights and civil liberties of all are taken into account at the first round of hearings of the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia.

These initial hearings will provide an overview of the money laundering topic and regulatory models. Due to the global pandemic, these hearings will be held via videoconferencing.

Megan Tweedie, Staff Counsel:  “The BCCLA is supportive of efforts to combat money laundering in the province. However, the recommendations proposed to date call for significant expansions of police and regulatory powers and the over-collection, retention, and sharing of private information, without evidence demonstrating that these changes would be effective in combatting money laundering.”

At these hearings, the BCCLA will advocate for the protection of the rights and liberties of ordinary citizens in developing appropriate responses to money‑laundering in British Columbia. The BCCLA will argue that there must be checks and balances in place for all measures recommended by the Commission to ensure that they operate in a manner that does not unduly infringe on the rights and liberties of Canadians.

Megan Tweedie continued,The risk to the privacy rights and civil liberties of British Columbians is profound. Developing an effective anti-money laundering regime cannot simply reflect calls for more invasive powers, broader disclosures of sensitive, highly prejudicial information, and more resources for policing and FINTRAC. The implications for the rights and liberties of Canadians must form a part of the analysis.”

The BCCLA will bring its expertise in criminal law reform, police accountability, access to justice, due process, and privacy rights to its role as a participant in the Inquiry in order to provide a much‑needed civil liberties‑based perspective. This perspective is crucial; the BCCLA intends to place the civil liberties and human rights of all at the forefront of this Inquiry.

The BCCLA is represented by staff counsel, Megan Tweedie, Emily Lapper, and Latoya Farrell of the BCCLA.

The BCCLA’s written opening statement delivered to the Commission in February 2020 is available here.

Media Contacts:

  • Megan Tweedie, staff counsel for the BCCLA, available for comment at 604-359-2416 or [email protected]