Canadians overwhelmingly support an International Anti-Corruption Court

Seven in ten Canadians support an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC), according to a new survey from the WRMC and Angus Reid Institute. The survey’s findings show that Canadians perceive that international corruption is a growing issue in Canada, and a majority of Canadians believe the government should be taking a lead on combating it. 

As half of Canadians believe that Canada’s reputation has suffered in the last decade, championing the establishment of an IACC is an opportunity for the Canadian government to both improve its international reputation and combat corruption around the world.

Grand corruption’s link to bad governance and forced displacement is unquestionable. It undermines governments’ responsibility to protect its population. Likewise, it discourages donors from committing to funding efforts to assist forcibly displaced persons as aid that is sent is susceptible to be siphoned off by corrupt leaders. An IACC would be mandated to prosecute perpetrators of grand corruption and repurpose stolen assets to assist those forcibly displaced due to their bad governance.

In WRMC’s report A Call to Action: Transforming the Global Refugee System, we addressed the scourge of corruption, and called for stolen assets found offshore not only to be freezed, but seized and repurposed for the benefit of forcibly displaced persons. On 26 April 2022, the Canadian Government has recently decided to implement the Council’s recommendation to the Special Economic Measures Act.

Due to the link between corruption and forced displacement, the WRMC launched the Canadian Task Force Against Global Corruption and is deeply involved in the global effort to promote the creation of an IACC. The IACC would be mandated to prosecute perpetrators of grand corruption and repurpose stolen assets to assist those forcibly displaced due to their bad governance. For example, the IACC would prosecute President Putin and his inner circle for their corrupt activities and use their frozen assets to assist Ukrainian victims of the current Russian aggression.

Both major political parties in Canada have included the proposal of an IACC in their election platforms, as well as in the December 2021 Mandate Letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • Canadians are more likely to believe three major forms – bribery, theft of public funds, and money laundering – are a very big problem across the world than not, and the problem is worsening.
  • While there is significant recognition of corruption within Canada’s borders, a majority (60%) believes the focus for the country needs to be working with the global community to stop international corruption.
  • A significant majority of Canadians support an International Anti-Corruption Court. Seven-in-ten either support or strongly support the establishment of the IACC while one-in-20 oppose it. 
  • For those who support the establishment of an IACC, approaching one-in-five (17%) believe Canada should take the lead on this initiative. Four-times as many, however, believe it should instead look to establish the IACC in concert with its partners and allies.

Image credit: View of false creek and the Burrard street bridge in Vancouver, Canada.shuttertock/Hannamariah; The housing market in Vancouver as well as other cities in Canada and around the world have become a safe place for corrupt leaders to store their ill gotten gains