Would Canada be in a recession without money laundering?

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Of all the items in the news last week the biggest headline has to be about Canada's fastest growing industry - washing money.  The numbers show laundering cash is now the difference between growth and recession in Canada.

When the report mentions the numbers, it is most likely an understatement.

The amount of cash laundered over a 5 year period tops a couple hundred billion. 

One of the most interesting bits in this report is money laundering is growing faster then our GDP. The paper estimates $46.7 billion in laundered cash in 2018, which represents around 2.1% of GDP. GDP only grew 1.57% over that same period, just under 75% on the size of cash laundered. 

Another takeaway that was glossed over by the media is that BC is the third largest province by dollar volume. Alberta is the winner, with an estimate of $10.2 billion in 2015 - 3.03% of the province's GDP that year. Ontario follows with $8.2 billion, the size of 1.13% of the province's GDP last year. BC is a distant third with $6.3 billion, 2.63% of the province's GDP in 2015.

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One reason Alberta's estimate is so high is due to how the numbers were distributed provincially. Since Alberta has a relatively high crime rate, the province may be overrepresented. This would mean that Alberta's true number would be lower, but still very high. And if this is the case BC and Ontario estimates could actually be much higher. 

Money laundering appears to play an important role for the Canadian economy and is easily one of Canada's largest industries. Both the federal and provincial governments are either clueless or unwilling to crack down due to the benefit. The former would imply wide scale incompetence and the latter recklessness.

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