NDP condemns Canada’s request to keep proceeds from corruption
Hélène Laverdière says seized assets should be returned to the Tunisian people
January 28, 2012
OTTAWA - New Democrat MP and Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs Hélène Laverdière (Laurier – Ste-Marie) today condemned the Harper government’s request to Tunisian authorities that Canada keep up to 50% of assets seized from family members of the disgraced former President of Tunisia.
“I am shocked that the Canadian government would seek to keep this money from the Tunisian people,” said Laverdière. “This money was stolen from the Tunisian people through corruption, and Canada has no right to it.”
New Democrats have been calling on the Harper Government to freeze the assets of the Ben Ali family members for over a year, since the arrival of Belhassan Trabelsi to Canada in January 2011. “The government dragged its feet on seizing the assets of corrupt Tunisian officials living in Canada, giving these people time to try to dispose of their assets,” said Laverdière. “Now that Canada has finally done what they promised to do a year ago, they are refusing to release any details about the seized assets and want to keep up to half of the money here. Where is the transparency and accountability?”
Laverdière noted that Canada should send any seized assets acquired through corruption back to Tunisia. “The Prime Minister has said he supports the democratic aspirations of Tunisians. First he objected to letting Tunisians living in Canada the right to vote in their elections. Then he tries to keep part of the proceeds from corruption. Canadians are outraged at this blatant disrespect for democracy.”