Everybody and their dog heard by now about the BC governments report on money laundering. I asked my friend Camp about it but he seemed to be a tad distracted because he looked out at the harbour for a moment before he sat down at our usual table on the still sunny veranda, just steps away from the pebble beach.
‘You mean the one which points out that last year alone, 7.5 billion dollars of dirty money was laundered through Vancouver real estate,’ he said, ‘and that drove the price of homes up about 5%. Do you ask me if I’m surprised? My answer is no, we knew it all along?’
‘Yes, Vancouver is known as The Casino, a good place to wash a suitcase full of cash. I want to know why the realtors and their lawyers cannot be held accountable and implicated in this parasitic scheme. Their commissions and fees clearly come from the same stash of ill begotten money,’ I said.
Camp kept looking out at the harbour, drumming his fingers on the table. ‘That scar where we should have a nice hotel and the condo unit is getting to me. It’s an open wound in the center of our pretty town.’
‘Maybe they’ll just pave it and make into a parking lot for tour busses,’ I said but Camp didn’t find that funny and gave me a dirty look.
‘This town needs to develop its inner harbour. Then maybe we can move the town hall and develop the hill overlooking the harbour. Maybe the town and the people of Gibsons should have just bought the whole shoreline between Winegarden Park and the Marina,’ Camp mused, rubbing his chin and not paying any attention to his beer.
‘At one time there was supposed to be a theatre and music venue there. Attract people from the city, sort of like Niagara on the Lake. Bring people over in charter boats for an evening of Shakespeare or comedy and music by the sea,’ I said.
‘Yeah that was then but today the developers with their large bags of mula rule, not the people.’ Camp said, ‘I just hope none of that dirty money like in Vancouver’s real estate find it’s way over here,’ Camp said.
‘What’s dirty money anyway?’ I said, taking a sip from my lager.
‘Any money from smuggling people to fentanyl, from sex slavery and organ theft, from politicians robbing their treasuries and their people, to sweat shops and tax evasion. From the Camorra to the mafia, the 14k Baai Lo to the Sinaloa and the Medellin cartels and anybody in between,’ Camp said. We both paused mulling over the implications.
‘Ok, and what do you think about Trump’s all out tariff war with the Chinese?’ I said, changing the subject.
‘Everybody in their right mind knows that it’s a consumer tax on Americans. Let him explain why a pair of jeans, shoes and that new razor or fridge suddenly costs 25% more,’ Camp said,‘ and neither Walmart nor Costco nor the soya bean farmers are happy about it. And we are caught in the middle, holding Meng Wanzhou for Uncle Sam.’
‘Trump prides himself as the artful deal maker but from what I can gather he claimed over a billion dollars in losses in his various companies and he has yet to make a deal with any other country, Canada included,’ I said.
‘He should be called: The deal breaker,’ Camp said, ‘he’s such an unbelievable waste of space, but we’ll survive the Trump years, as we did the, Bush years and long before that the Borgias, the Habsburgs and the Medici.
‘Joe Biden called Trump a clown,’ I said.
‘But a clown makes people laugh. I think Trump is a bad clown that scares little kids. He scares me,’ Camp said, and I agreed.
‘He scares everybody.’
We both looked out at our pristine view in this quiet corner of our busy and troubled world.
‘Clare and I watched a new documentary the other night about John Lennon and Yoko Ono called: Above us only Sky. It portrays John and Yoko as almost ordinary people, the kind you and I could talk to over a beer. Their dream of peace and love for all was a reality concept, which made it genuine,’ I said. ‘It is strange to see all these young people like John and Yoko, who would be in their mid- seventies now.’
‘Ever heard of John Lennon?’ Camp asked Vicky after she exchanged our empties for a couple of full ones.
‘Was he the guy from the Russian revolution?’
‘No, that was Lenin. John Lennon wrote: Imagineand Give Peace a Chanceamongst many other songs. He was also one of the Beatles.’
‘Oh, the Beatles, yeah, that was fifty years ago. I’m only twenty-six. Have you heard of Ed Sheeran, Drake and Ariana Grande?’ she asked, ‘they are streamed by billions.’
‘No, can’t say I have,’ Camp said.
‘You have to live in the present,’ Vicky said. ‘The past is history.’
‘Yes, but John Lennon lives on through his music, and history is what defines us in the here and now. Just Google Imagineand have a listen Vicky. I’ll promise and stream Ariana Grande,’ Camp said.
I tried not to laugh and paid attention to my fresh pint instead.