The scope of the Panama Papers, over 11 million documents, has yet to be fully appreciated. As Dean Starkman explains it allows for a glimpse of the size and complexity of the alternate financial systems for the wealthy and well-connected. It is misleading to assume it is all criminal. Most of the activity follows the law in key jurisdictions such as Panama. The law itself is part of the problem. The only way to truly get to the bottom of some murky barrels is through public disclosure.

Rita Trichur of the Globe and Mail published a query about the government’s commitment to a truly publicly accessible registry of effective ownership.

For the Opposition parties, the issue presents a dilemma. Some of its supporters may appear involved in financial and tax liability obfustication. Yet, the Panama papers offer a chance to shine brightly if government figures are implicated. For an Opposition, willing to face the pressures and loss of donations, a decisive Confidence motion, which resonates well in public, is a possibility.

Dean Starkman argues, strongly perhaps historically, a core strength of democracy is at risk if financial transparency and accountability slip away.

Worth a read. When the OI podcast is up and running, we will ask him to be a guest to discuss the Canadian angle.

Democracy’s Least Appreciated Strength Is Its Ability to Reform Itself – Dean Starkman on The Pandora Papers
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