Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 143, Issue 53

Thursday, November 23, 2006
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act
Income Tax Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Will Senator Angus take a few questions?

Senator Angus: Yes, I would be happy to.

Senator Jaffer: I am sure that when Senator Angus spoke about the men in our august legal profession he also meant the women as well — men and women?

Senator Angus: I certainly did. I am gender neutral. I did not realize that I had made that oversight and if so, I apologize.

Senator Jaffer: You called them boys all the time. We are women.

I have another question. I heard the honourable senator say this before as well, that he walks on Ste-Catherine Street. Of course I do not know what Ste-Catherine Street is, but I assume it is a street he frequents and he has seen a number of small stores, shops or whatever, there. Has he made inquiries? Has he gone in to see what kind of work they do?

Senator Angus: As a matter of fact I have not, but we were told about these. I was curious to see how much they are growing. A year ago on this same six-block stretch of Ste-Catherine Street there was one, and I remember where it was. Now there are 13. I verified that what the police are telling us is true. We now look forward to hearing from the police about what is going on there.

They are in that short little place in Montreal, and it is the same in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary — we are told, all over the country — and I have seen them in Toronto and other cities such as Halifax, where I visited recently. I must tell honourable senators, there are a lot of them. It makes me wonder whether that many people are changing their pounds sterling into Canadian dollars or vice versa. I cannot believe it is a legitimate activity but I do not know.

Senator Jaffer: May I respectfully ask, since I am not part of the committee, that I be able to attend to ask my questions when the police come? Maybe these are genuine people who are carrying on what is called hawalah, which in a multicultural community is not the proper banking system as in other countries but maybe they are helping Canadians remit monies to their country of origin. They could also be hawalahs that are carrying on business. I am not sure, I am just inquiring.

Senator Angus: We know there is a bit of that, and of course that in itself raises questions when these amounts of money are being transferred. Senator Grafstein relayed an anecdote the other day about the criminal mind. I am not disputing that there are legitimate transfers through those types of foreign exchange offices, but we were told already by the police that they are so clever and they exchange $1,000 here and $1,000 there, so they might go down Ste-Catherine Street to each of those 13 businesses and exchange $1,000 at each one, and that seems a little unusual.

Furthermore, there are other “money service businesses.” These exchange businesses are different from the ones I am referring to. They must now be registered under this law. Then there is the payday loan business, which is also being looked at and legislation is coming, I gather, from the Minister of Justice.

Senator Jaffer: Perhaps in his thorough review, one of the things the committee could look at is registering these businesses so we can see what is taking place, but I urge honourable senators not to paint every business with not carrying on properly because the businesses may be genuinely carrying on proper hawalah business.

(1720)

Senator Angus: I have noted Senator Jaffer’s comment, and I agree fully with it.

 

 

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