Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner touted her private member’s bill on cryptocurrencies Tuesday, calling for a national framework she hopes will encourage the growth in the crypto-asset sector.
Bill C-249, which saw its first reading in early February, would call on the Minister of Finance to consult with crypto industry innovators designated by provinces and territories to develop the framework. The bill also states that policy must focus on lowering barriers to entry in the crypto sector and protect industry innovators from crushing administrative burdens.
“This marks the first time crypto assets will be debated in the house even though 14 years have passed since the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper on blockchain was released,” Rempel Garner said at a press conference, adding that the crypto sector has since exploded into a multi-billion industry. “Canada should be attracting billions of dollars of investment in the fast-growing crypto-asset industry. However, we’ve seen Canada lose crypto-asset talent, innovators and businesses to other leading jurisdictions…”
Rempel Garner pointed to jurisdictions such as the European Union and the United States, where President Joe Biden signed an executive order to come up with a plan to address cryptocurrencies in March. Cryptocurrency regulations tend to fall to provincial jurisdictions, which Rempel Garner noted had been resulting in a patchwork of regulations.
“The bill’s concept is designed to build consensus across partisan lines and has been well-received by crypto asset innovators in Canada as well as by those who desire more safeguards to protect those working in the space,” Rempel Garner added.
One obstacle is that many Canadians and even some regulators are not sure how to define cryptocurrencies or how to categorize them. The debate around them has become increasingly polarized, Rempel Garner said, with some hailing crypto as a game-changing “saviour” asset and others demonizing them.
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Last week, federal Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre promised he would make Canada the “Blockchain capital of the world” if he were to become prime minister. In a speech in London, Ont., Poilievre emphasized the importance of decentralizing the power of central banks , vowing to simplify regulations surrounding the crypto space.
When asked about discussions she had with members of her own party and other parties in the house, Rempel Garner told the press she had received a positive reception from members across various parties and tabled the private member’s bill before the Emergencies Act situation in February.
Cryptocurrencies came under political scrutiny this year after the so-called Freedom Convoy ran some fundraising campaigns using cryptocurrencies. This led the RCMP to order crypto marketplaces and trading platforms to help track the flow of crypto funds and freeze wallets thought to be linked to the anti -vaccine mandate protests. Rempel Garner said this event underscored the need for a regulatory approach across the party lines.