New Brunswick and Alberta’s governments are exemplars in terms of accountability, reliability, and transparency in their financial reporting, safeguarding themselves from suspicious activity in their real estate markets.
According to the A-to-F scale in a new analysis by the C.D. Howe Institute, New Brunswick topped the nation with an A+ rank, while Alberta came close behind with its strong A rating.
On the reverse side, Manitoba languished with a D+ score, while and the Northwest Territories and Nunavut both ranked F.
“Governments’ extraordinary powers to tax and coerce citizens make monitoring their behavior particularly important,” co-author William B.P. Robson stated. “Canadians need budgets and financial reports they can understand and use to hold governments accountable.”
“We are glad to report that, over time, the fiscal transparency of Canada’s senior governments has improved. Two decades ago, none of them presented budgets you could compare to their results; today, consistent accounting is the rule,” Robson added. “The remaining deficiencies and instances of backsliding are fixable, as the examples of the leading jurisdictions show.”
A recent wide-ranging investigation by Global News found that a lax and opaque regulatory regime in BC has helped a suspected Chinese drug boss acquire a significant stake in a major condo project in Metro Vancouver.
This has raised questions on the rigour of verification standards, if any, in the province. Over the past several years, BC has seen its real estate used as a hotbed of criminal enterprises, including large-scale money laundering and the drug trade.
“Lawyers need to be asking their clients, how did you make your money?” RCMP International Organized Crime Investigation Unit former commander Kim Marsh said.
“Anybody doing basic due diligence, even basic Google searches, would determine there is huge red flags, that these individuals are involved in illicit activities,” he added. “So anyone doing business with them is either doing nothing, or it’s a case of willful blindness.”