Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has been urged to get with the crypto program or risk losing talent and billions of dollars in investment to Europe and the US, reports Bloomberg.
Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner says it’s time the Canadian government took crypto seriously. In fact, she proposed a private members bill titled Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector Act.
This framework should “focus on lowering barriers to entry into the crypto asset sector while protecting those working in the sector and minimizing the administrative burden.”
As well, the bill stipulates that Freeland consult crypto experts nominated by their province or territory. She also wants the public to have their say via written submissions.
“Right now, we’re seeing government officials start to regularly discuss and set policy related to crypto assets. At the same time, many officials aren’t deeply familiar with what cryptoassets are, or how they function,” said the Tory MP in a statement (via Bloomberg).
“This means we need to ensure the expertise of cryptoasset innovators and practitioners leads the way. They need to tell us what they need, or don’t need.”
Crypto still controversial in Canada
Co-founder of millennial-focused investment firm Wealthsimple Financial Mike Katchen no doubt agrees.
Last month, Katchen suggested Canadian policymakers “plant a flag” on crypto as they look to move the country’s economy away from its dependence on natural resources like oil, coal, and precious metals.
“The smartest people in technology and the smartest engineers are flocking to build applications in this space, which is generally the thing that we see at the cusp of any major technology revolution,” said Katchen (via Bloomberg).
“Canada could plant a flag and say: ‘We want to help the smartest people that want to be working on crypto projects, companies on the blockchain. Do it from Canada.’”
But despite Rempel Garner and Katchen’s calls, crypto is still a highly controversial topic in Canada, particularly in the context of recent events.
A convoy of anti-vaccine mandate truckers recently turned to Bitcoin-powered Tallycoin after GoFundMe pulled the plug on previous fundraising efforts worth more than $7 million.
And on Thursday, an Ontario court ruled to freeze the activists’ access to a further $8 million worth of donations raised by Christian-centric alternative GiveSendGo.
Despite the controversy, Rempel Garner says the discussion around crypto cannot afford to become overly polarized.
“We’re going down the same road that we did with the oil and gas sector,” she reportedly said last week. “Instead of getting the meat of the public policy debate, it very quickly became Alberta oil-sands jobs versus climate change.”
“I’m hoping that actual reasoned debate breaks out in the House of Commons.”
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