Is Canada Too Light on White Collar Crime?

In the past few decades there has been a trend in Canada that has become quite predictable and yet disturbing. There have been numerous companies that have gone bankrupt yet their Executives walked away un-scathed taking millions of dollars before bringing their organization to it’s knees. From Nortel to Olympia and York to Bre-X to Canwest to Consumers Distributing to Quebecor World to Stelco to Eaton’s to Hollinger to Air Canada to Kmart Canada to Blockbuster Video Canada to name a few, there seems to be a growing trend in the world of Canadian Business. In comparison to the US and other countries around the globe, Canada has rarely given stiff sentences to executives for fraud. A recent comparison with Canada’s prodigal son Conrad Black, former Hollinger executive who spent some years in prison courtesy of the US Justice system. In Canada, would he ever be given a day in jail had his company only been public on the Canadian stock market (and not on the US as well instead)? Probably not. It seems as though criminals realize this and make off with enormous amounts of money thus fleecing investors of the companies they bring down.

Remember when now retired ex-Nortel boss and wealthy multi-millionaire John Roth won Executive of the Year awards just before the company imploded? Remember formers Edmonton Oilers owner Peter “Puck”? If you look at the regulation, via the incoporation laws the system protects Executives as well as their personal assets in companies in Canada. Should these laws be changed? Should there be a minimum jail sentance of 5-10 years for such white collar criminal activity? Should the executives have to repay most of their earnings earned from the insolvent companies in such cases? So many former Canadian Executives leave the companies they bankrupt and return after their 5 years is up where they can return to being a public officer in a company in Canada. How many countless stories have you heard of Canadian Companies that were run into the ground as it’s Executives were looting from it? With light slaps on the wrists and OSC fines that are less than what a Canadian Executive would pay for to buy a high end car or yacht or any other of their toys for that matter, do the current relaxed penalties encourage this continued behaviour?

It is time Canada brings strict and steep penalties for white collar criminals to protect Canadian Taxpayers and Investors who keep subsidizing them and their lifestyle….


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