Re A Necessary Experiment To Repel Dirty Money (Report on Business, Jan. 6): Anonymity is the money launderer’s friend, allowing them to convert the proceeds of crime into legitimate assets. Unmasking the provenance of assets through unexplained wealth orders may be a valuable tool in fighting this financial crime.
As columnist Rita Trichur highlights, B.C. Premier David Eby should be lauded for his move to legislate UWOs this spring. In catching up to the anti-money-laundering tools of other countries, British Columbia may apply lessons from Britain, where UWOs have been in place since 2018.
Criminals beware: They may have yet some answering to do, at least for their unexplained wealth.
Sarah Anson-Cartwright Ottawa
British Columbia’s unexplained wealth orders may make it easier to prosecute some money-laundering crimes. But over all, I think the dirty-money ecosystem is too resilient to be impacted.
As long as drug addiction is treated as a criminal profit centre and not a medical problem, demand for laundering services will easily be met. In my more than three decades in this field, including acting as an expert witness, only one thing has hamstrung launderers: a pandemic.
Mario Possamai Toronto
Re Did Our Monetary Theory Experiment Fail? (Report on Business, Jan. 5): The lesson from Canada’s inflation experience should be that established economics works and modern monetary theory is a failure.
Inflation was fuelled in part by the federal government’s decision to spend and the Bank of Canada’s decision to fund that spending. The predictable result was too many dollars chasing too few goods and services. As Milton Friedman put it so eloquently, “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.”
MMT tempts policy planners by offering a free lunch, more spending with little cost. But recent experience shows this claim is too good to be true. The sooner MMT is forgotten, the better.
Robert McKeown Assistant professor, department of economics, York University; Toronto
To fight inflation, I wonder why it is the money we choose to attack rather than the availability of goods and services?
If everyone has a million dollars, but there is only one apple, the price of an apple will be a million dollars. But shouldn’t the solution be to grow more apples, not to attack everyone’s ability to bid on the apple? This is what we in social innovation call a systems problem.
We have added more people and jobs than homes to our cities, more food apps than actual food to the economy. We’ve supplied money but not production. Of course we have more money than apples. But enforced poverty is a solution that will make the poor more vulnerable and lead the rich to horde more.
We need to make life’s essentials, not money, abundant by design.
Kyle Shantz Managing director, Centre for Social Innovation; Oakville, Ont.
Modern monetary theory is Keynesian economics on acid: a bad trip with a horrible comedown and recurring flashbacks.
Our federal debt from the experiment is projected to be $36.4-billion for 2023, and likely more in the foreseeable future as the real costs remain high for at least the rest of the decade.
The money wasted on interest payments is our opportunity lost for the future, and a shrug from our Prime Minister who is self-excused of not thinking about monetary policy.
Clay Atcheson North Vancouver
Failure or not, modern monetary theory has served to kick the can down the road.
Although “those expansions saved the global economy from collapse, and spared billions of people from desperate hardship,” I doubt leaders took into account that the general populace would adopt a similar approach, with every Tom, Dick and Harry buying multimillion-dollar houses and borrowing heavily from their mortgages.
Perhaps a less cavalier approach to monetary policy would serve us all better if not taken to such extremes. This experiment will still have severe repercussions on many and bring much hardship.
Leslie Martel Mississauga
COVID-19 demanded an emergency economic response and Ottawa delivered nothing less, all while showing that adequate income guarantees could save lives and keep families afloat in precarious times.
No one should treat modern monetary theory or basic income as silver bullets for economic hardship. But, as columnist David Parkinson says, the experience “demonstrated to what extent MMT-like fiscal expansion can be pushed” without tanking the economy.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit also created a brief, unsung triumph: meeting Canada’s 2030 target of reducing poverty by 50 per cent 10 years early. Drawing on that experience, and with time to introduce a proper basic income, the government could build on the CERB’s advantages while ironing out the design problems. It could also develop ways to sustainably fund it, such as fairer taxation.
Sheila Regehr Chair, Basic Income Canada Network; Toronto
Re It’s Not Racist To Question Immigration Policy (Jan. 6): “We should be able to have that conversation in the best interests of those already living here, and the ones yet to arrive.” Precisely the problem.
The core of the immigration conversation is that it stems from our low birth rate and our ability to sustain enough population to be a work force. Without greater population growth, we will not be able to maintain or expand our economic growth, nor even the domestic defence of our country. Simple as that.
We need people, and it is not happening naturally due to various social and cultural changes within the Canadian mindset.
Bruce Craig Hamilton
Kudos to columnist Gary Mason for expressing this opinion. Hopefully the chattering classes won’t be too hard on him.
My understanding of the government’s decision to significantly increase immigration is based on the following logic: “Canada has a labour shortage and low birth rate. The solution is to increase immigration by a lot. Of course, higher immigration will create strains on housing, health care and other societal infrastructure. How do we address those strains? More immigration, of course.”
What could possibly go wrong? Of course we should have immigration, but let’s make sure the numbers make sense.
Michael Rende Thornhill, Ont.
Re Royal Brouhaha (Letters, Jan. 9): It strikes me that the people who are angry about Prince Harry’s exposé of the monarchy would likely also have been angry with the little boy in the fairy tale who shouted, “The emperor has no clothes!”
Elizabeth Causton Victoria
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