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Glavin: Trudeau is making slow progress on cleaning up Canada’s money laundering mess

Shutting down big-money laundering schemes run by criminals and kleptocrats has emerged as key to the West’s efforts to preserve democracy

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It was just another darkly amusing local story that didn’t attract much attention. Or at least it didn’t attract the kind of scrutiny it would have, had Vancouver not already richly earned its reputation as a money-laundering hub for international swindlers, drug dealers and well-connected high rollers who have helped turn Canada’s Pacific coast into one of the most absurdly overpriced real estate markets in the world.

Last month, a local investigation by an independent media organization called Coastal Front revealed that a freedom-of-information request it filed a year earlier had obliged the City of Vancouver to disgorge 750 pages of documents showing that between 2012 and January of this year, city officials had accepted nearly 2,000 payments totalling $13.1 million for everything from property tax payments to municipal cemetery plots — all in stacks of cash.

In one case, back in 2014, a tax bill was paid with a big bag containing $47,000. In 2017, city staff accepted a property-tax payment of $44,463, all in cash. Each…

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