In a speech unveiling the Federal Budget for 2014 on Tuesday, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty revealed government plans to fight money laundering and terrorism funded via Bitcoin.
Using language marked by hyperbole and through allusions to the ever encroaching underworld, Flaherty expressed government concern about the “emerging risks” of Bitcoin:
“It is important to continually improve Canada’s regime to address emerging risks, including virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, that threaten Canada’s international leadership in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.” – PfHub
Return to Silk Road
The minister reiterated the Department of Finance statement that only Canadian Bank notes are legal tender in Canada and stated that – although enjoying greater popularity – Bitcoin was unlikely ever to be considered legal tender, in light of it’s use in “illicit transactions” in various territories. Government has plans to conduct public consultations later in the year, regarding payment systems and requisite monitoring. One idea Flaherty mentioned was that Canada’s Bitcoin ATM owners may be required to report transactions.
Sick Leave? You Must Work!
The Canada Federal Budget 2014 has also cut sick leave and medical benefits of Publics Servants as a major component of it’s cost savings program, projecting savings of $10bil (Canadian Dollar) by 2019. By appealing to antiquated (and stereotypical) beliefs about the Bitcoin economy, the Conservative Government is most likely underestimating the intelligence of it’s citizens. So by cutting Public Servant sick leave and medical benefits to the tune of billions, they show just how much they actually value the average Canadian.
Government 0 – Citizens 1
What the Canadian government doesn’t yet understand – and will learn from its heavy handed manner – is that the citizens of Canada do not require Department of Finance approval or protection to use Bitcoin or any other decentralized currency they prefer.