Misuse of Bearer Shares

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I had presented amendments during clause-by-clause consideration in an attempt to follow up on the issue of bearer bonds which the member has raised. We had very good evidence at committee from Publish What You Pay Canada on the misuse of bearer shares, that bearer shares are difficult to track, and that there is no transparency around ownership.

I invite my friend from Sherbrooke to expand on the point.

Pierre-Luc Dusseault – Member for Sherbrooke

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her comments. Bearer shares are indeed an important issue, and Canada is still doing quite poorly compared to the rest of the world, since the bill has not yet received royal assent. Canada’s system makes it possible to easily hide the identity of who owns shares or a business. Canada must absolutely examine this issue.

A number of other countries have already taken action to prevent companies from concealing their owners’ identities. Companies generally do not do this for good reasons, so we must address this issue in order to combat money laundering and organized crime. This is certainly a step in the right direction, but once again, something important is missing; this bill should be targeting existing shares, and not just shares that will be issued in the future.