The speaker this week was Roy Cullen.  Mr. Cullen was an MP from 1996 to 2008. During his tenure as parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance, Mr. Cullen was actively involved in designing and implementing Canada‚Äôs anti-money-laundering regime. Mr. Cullen has been very active with the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) in the international fight against corruption and money laundering. He has spoken out on these scourges and has played a leadership role at several anti-corruption and anti-money-laundering workshops and conferences.
Starting his speech, Mr. Cullen spoke in his role as Chair of the Victoria Conservatory of Music and thanked Harbourside Rotary for their support.
 
Worldwide, corruption runs between $1 Trillion and $5 Trillion.  It is at such a high level that it causes people to lose faith in their public institutions and has played a part in the increase of populism.  In the 2019 Corruption Perception Survey, Canada dropped out the top 10 to 12th, probably due to the SNC Lavalin and the BC Money Laundering scandal.
 
It's hard to track because people are hiding money.   It's here forever; but, that doesn't mean we should continue to fight it.  Mr. Cullen continues to be involved with the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC).  GOPAC has recently been successful in getting the UN to designate corruption as an International Crime.  This will allow cases to be tried in The Hague.  When corruption cases are tried within the countries where the corruption is occuring, it is difficult to have a judiciary without corruption too, so cases often aren't successful.
 
Working together, some progress has been made.  The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network carried out an anonymous survey of which ports were extorting ships before allowing them to unload.  The Network met with local officials and threatened to take the information public.  As a result the level of extortion has decreased.  The International Chamber of Commerce members cover a large percentage of the business world.  If they carried out similar surveys and took similar actions, it should have a significant impact.
 
Many countries have good laws but don't implement them.
 
Canada has good institutions - there are quarterly reports from the Auditor General and we have an independent and clean judiciary.
 
GOPAC has a real role to play in influencing corruption at the Executive level (Presidents, Prime Minsters and Cabinet Ministers) but we need more due diligence and transparency.  For example, there needs to be transparency in identifying beneficial owners in shell companies.