Canada should take a harder stance against foreigners taking advantage of its goodwill and its bustling real estate sector, according to author and researcher Mitchell Anderson.
In a recent contribution to The Tyee, Anderson argued that a more intensive campaign against Chinese money laundering and tax avoidance would ultimately benefit Canadians.
Canada should “vastly scale up efforts to root out corrupt individuals breaking Chinese currency laws and inflating prices in Canada’s two largest housing markets,” Anderson wrote, referring to the mainland government’s public positions against money laundering.
Various estimates have placed Chinese capital flight at up to $800 billion since 2014, with a significant portion ending up in Canada, mostly via illicit means.
Along with untrammelled speculation, this sum has been said to have led to the massive gulf between local incomes and home prices in the country’s largest markets.
“These housing bubbles are a major threat to the economy, leading to a huge increase in debt as Canadians try and buy homes and create the potential for a catastrophic collapse.”
Such a policy shift would unambiguously signal that the government prioritizes its mandate – to serve its citizens – over the whims of wealthy foreigners interested only in parking their money in Canadian assets, not in participating in the Canadian economy.
“The Canada Revenue Agency needs to go hard against offshore elites using Canada as a country of convenience,” Anderson stated. “Canada could also improve its wretched record and stop allowing the real owners of businesses and property to hide behind shell companies.”
What these steps amount to, essentially, is the refusal to capitulate to an expansionist authoritarian power – a power not inclined to respect human rights and treasured freedoms.
“Unless Canada sprouts a spine, perhaps inspired by the previously peaceful protests in Hong Kong, we already have a very good idea of what dangerous indignities our future relations with China will bring.”