November 28, 2018 5:56 pm
Updated: November 28, 2018 5:58 pm

Port Coquitlam mayor calls government reaction to opioid crisis ‘gutless,’ demands public inquiry

WATCH: Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West has been outspoken about the opioid crisis in B.C. Here's what West had to say about what should be done about organized crime profiting from fentanyl in the province.

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Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West is calling for a public inquiry into the opioid crisis and its ties to overseas organized crime groups.

West accused the federal and provincial governments of being “gutless” when it comes to tackling the ongoing crisis.

WATCH: The criminals fuelling Canada’s fentanyl crisis

“We’ve had this situation where fentanyl is pouring into our country, pouring into British Columbia from China, killing thousands of our people,” he said.

“There is organized crime from China that’s making millions and millions — maybe billions — of dollars in profit from off of that drug trade… and then they’re washing that money clean in our casinos and in our real estate, which also has devastating consequences for our community.

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“What we need to do is take our province back. We need a government that is going to stand up for our own people and say, ‘This is going to stop.'”

READ MORE: Fentanyl kings in Canada allegedly linked to powerful Chinese gang, the Big Circle Boys

West said a multi-part Global News investigation on the links between opioids, organized crime, casino and real estate highlights the need for an investigation like the Charbonneau Commission, the massive four-year public inquiry into corruption and collusion in Quebec’s construction industry.

“They had a commission that not only looked into things but had the ability to lay charges, had the ability to put this matter before the courts and see people go to jail. That’s what we need.”

West said the inquiry would have a far greater impact than the independent report from Peter German that was released in June.

WATCH: The suspected kingpins of fentanyl in Canada

“We need people to be held criminally accountable,” he said. “An ordinary person could never get away with this. An ordinary person could never do what these folks have done and just skate free.”

READ MORE: Secret police study finds crime networks could have laundered over $1B through Vancouver homes in 2016

The Charbonneau Commission released its findings in a 1,700-page report in 2015, with inquiry chair Justice France Charbonneau saying that even she was stunned by the depth and breadth of the corruption she uncovered.

The commissioners submitted 60 recommendations to the provincial Liberal government.

WATCH: A look at how opioid overdoses have risen in Canada

“We need to have a government that’s not going to just wish this stuff away and try and distract people and hope they’re not paying attention.”

“This is so critical to the future of our province and our country. It’s the No. 1 thing we should be focused on.”

— With files from Monique Muise

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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