–John Horgan, MLA Juan de Fuca
Christy Clark and her government have dismissed, mocked and outright ignored the housing crisis facing this province.
Last year, Housing Minister Rich Coleman called the Lower Mainland’s housing prices “actually pretty reasonable” just days after a report found Vancouver to be the second least affordable city in the world.
Premier Clark suggested that those who can’t afford housing in Vancouver should move to Prince Rupert and Fort St. John.
Just two months ago, when asked about the province’s lack of support for affordable housing, Minister Coleman told a reporter: “I guess some people just have to get up and whine every day.”
At the same time, in the legislature this spring, the B.C. Liberals mocked the suggestion that vacant homes were a problem in Vancouver, dismissed calls to tax speculators driving up home prices, and ridiculed academic studies into the housing crisis.
But today, after months of public outcry, Christy Clark is desperately trying to look like she’s taking action on the market she let spiral out of control. She’s even recalling the legislature for a summer session. On the agenda? A vacancy tax designed to tackle the very same problem she and her colleagues mocked and dismissed just a few months ago.
Unfortunately for those struggling to find an affordable place to live, the premier hasn’t had a sudden change of heart. She’s just doing the bare minimum to make the bad headlines go away – but not enough to anger the real estate donors who pay the B.C. Liberal Party’s bills.
New Democrats are calling for real action on affordability.
I want to see a speculation tax on offshore investors using B.C. homes as safety deposit boxes, a task force to investigate money laundering and tax fraud in the real estate marketplace, and better protections for renters.
This is about homes, families, and the future of our province. Doing the bare minimum is nowhere near good enough.
John Horgan is the leader of the British Columbia New Democratic Party and MLA for the constituency of Juan de Fuca in British Columbia. This piece first appeared in John Horgan’s newsletter and is reprinted with permission.
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