The Vancouver real estate market has served as a bank branch for laundered money from across the world. This has contributed to skyrocketing real estate prices and the issue of empty homes. The people of this city, often with well-paying jobs, are being priced out of the market, just so we can allow dirty money to find a home here with large financial returns. We need to do more to put an end to this.
As Mayor, I commit to enacting the following measures to address this important issue:
- Call for a full public inquiry into casinos’ ties in real estate money laundering to restore public confidence.
- Take action on addiction as a public health issue, and gradually decrease Vancouver’s dependence on gambling revenues to fund City operations.
- Create a Prosperity Fund where 100% of the City’s current gambling revenues are redirected to fund addiction services with a focus on gambling addiction.
- Institute an absolute no expansion policy for existing casinos and cut out public funding to cover risks of casino operations.
- Work with the provincial and federal governments to strengthen law enforcement and clamp down on dirty money’s flow through Vancouver from global sources.
Government cannot enact responsible gambling and addictions policies when it depends on these revenues to fund public services. Some candidates may want to continue or expand City Hall’s reliance on revenues obtained by exploiting gambling addiction. This is not progressive, and we don’t need excuses saying it’s how business is usually done.
Over the last 5 years, the City has collected $45 million in revenue from gambling sources. On average this amounts to $9 million annually, or 0.6% of the City’s $1.4 billion budget. Compare that to the amount of lives that have been ruined by addiction, the number of families and futures destroyed because we exploited people’s mental health.
Public services should not be funded through dirty money. As Mayor, I commit to ending City Hall’s addiction to these revenues and help the people of this city who have been so negatively affected by it.