November 30, 2018 11:50 am

B.C. Premier John Horgan not yet ready to call a public inquiry into opioid crisis

WATCH: With Global News investigations tying fentanyl smuggling not just to a growing death toll, but skyrocketing real estate prices, there are growing calls for a public inquiry. John Hua reports.

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B.C. Premier John Horgan said he isn’t yet ready to call a public inquiry into the opioid crisis and its ties to overseas organized crime groups, but he isn’t ruling it out either.

He says the initial plan was to prosecute the criminals.

“An inquiry, as you know, there’s been many over the years in B.C,” Horgan said on CKNW’s Jon McComb Show on Friday morning. “They tend to cost a lot of money and lead to a report that’s a few inches thick that sits on a shelf. That’s not what the public wants, that’s not what we want.”

However, a major money laundering prosecution in Richmond fell apart this week.

WATCH: Port Coquitlam mayor says feds and province have been ‘spineless’ about organized crime operating in B.C.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby hinted that the end of the case could open the door to a public inquiry on the role of money laundering in B.C. casinos.

Horgan said the issue is both a provincial and a federal problem, and Eby is working on it.

Making a killing: A Global News investigation into the fentanyl trade

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“David’s working with Bill Blair, who is the federal minister responsible for gang violence and corporate crime, and we’re trying to figure out first of all, why were the charges stayed? And what steps can we take to ensure that doesn’t happen again?”

On Wednesday, new Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West renewed the call for a public inquiry, pointing to a Global News investigation into links between real estate, casino money laundering and the opioid crisis.

“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.”

— With files from Simon Little

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

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