Things that make you go… “Hmmm”, #Vanre edition

The never ending and growing debate on what to do with the real estate market and housing affordability in Vancouver and beyond, takes another turn today. After doing nothing for over a year, Premier Clark recently did somewhat of a turn around and is recalling the legislature to allow Vancouver to tax absentee owners.

But many have questioned why Clark has been so hesitant to institute a luxury tax or any other move to deal with foreign ownership or foreign money in the market.

Which is what makes this story from the Vancouver Sun all that more interesting:

“A B.C.-based company says it has brought $2 billion to Canada under the Quebec government’s cash-for-visa program, a scheme that some say is a factor in Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis.

Vancouver-based RCI Capital Group, which helps resource companies develop strategies and raise money in Asia, has a Montreal-based subsidiary that has been active for years in the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program.

The Quebec program has become increasingly controversial in Metro Vancouver as critics point to it as one of the drivers of sky-high housing prices, since the vast majority of successful Quebec applicants immediately establish themselves in Toronto and Vancouver.

RCI’s Montreal subsidiary is Renaissance Capital, one of the companies recognized by the Quebec government as an “intermediary” for rich foreigners who want to use the Quebec investor program to become a permanent resident of Canada.

“We can take care of all the details to maximize the chances of success of your immigration process,” the company website advises potential clients, who must prove a net worth of $1.6 million and be willing to invest $800,000 of their wealth in government five-year bonds.

The applicants get the $800,000 back after five years, but forgo the interest, pay various fees and pay the commissions to companies like Renaissance.

Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland estimates the total cost to get a permanent resident status through the Quebec program is around $125,000, though others say the costs are higher.


RCI is headed by John Park, an entrepreneur who likes to recruit former politicians to help him pitch business deals in Asia.

Ex-Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day is RCI’s lead director, while prominent B.C. Tory John Reynolds was for years involved with the company after he retired from politics.

Day, who retired from politics before the 2011 election, delivered speeches and gave media interviews during the 2013 election to help the B.C. Liberals. Since then he’s remained chummy with Premier Christy Clark and the Liberals. He contributed $11,850 since late 2014, mostly through the law firm McMillan LLP, where he is a senior strategic adviser. Clark tweeted a photo of her and Day together at a Kelowna event earlier this month.

Park has also had links to the premier, briefly hiring her to head an RCI subsidiary in 2007 when she was out of politics, though the premier said she never did anything for the company and wasn’t paid.

Park worked hard to build contacts with the former Conservative government as a founding member of the Canada Korea Foundation, which was launched in Vancouver in 20111 at an event where then prime minister Stephen Harper was guest speaker. The foundation promoted bilateral trade ties but was also used as a vehicle to garner Tory support in Canada’s South Korean community, according to evidence at a 2014 B.C. Supreme Court trial relating to a dispute among the Foundation’s founding members, including Park.

Twice, in 2012 and 2013, Park was part of business delegations with the premier on Asia trade missions….”

Hmmm …that’s right,  Premier Clark did deny everything, back in 2014:

“I never did any work for them, never went to any meetings, never got paid,” Clark said on Thursday after the story was published.

“It was a company that never got off the ground and my understanding is that they had wound it up in 2007.”

Well… can we explain this then?

No… no dealings. No meetings.” Company never got off the ground”. ( some great history with the original story from the  2014 National Post story, here:

All of which really makes Stockwell Days recent tweets decrying government intervention in real estate market, all that more interesting….doesn’t it?


Yes, things that make you go Hmmmm, no? Someone has a vested interest here.

Check back a bit later and I’ll have something else for you to read over Saturday coffee.

** Second post up on #Vanre, here:


6 thoughts on “Things that make you go… “Hmmm”, #Vanre edition

  1. its been a nice fire sale of Canada to foreign interests. Of course Stockwell is going to take the position he does. He wants the money. Christy is doing her 180, but it won’t impact the price of anything, except to find some one to help you avoid the new rules.

    In London, which has a similar housing price problem, they talk a lot about money laundering. check the Guardian. Now we haven’t heard any B.C. Lieberal or their “supporters” talk about that, but some one ought to. We have “student’s” and housewives with no income purchasing expensive homes which employed professionals in this province can’t afford. So what is wrong with that picture. I’d suggest the purchaser is either laundering money or not paying income tax.

    Given the Communist Government of China only permits a small amount to be taken out of the country each year, one does have to question how all these people from Communist China can afford to buy expensive homes here.

    What ever rules Christy implements, they will not solve the problem. they are made to appear like she is doing something while ensuring no changes are made. The provincial government is making a fortune in fees as are all those developers and realestate agents who so generously donate to the B.C. Lieberals. Really how did they get that $12M. You can bet it didn’t all come from within B.C.

    It would be oh so much fun if CRA came out to B.C. and did a whole lot of audits on these house buyers. They audit gangster and “regular crooks” all the time and then take them to court to take away their houses and property because its proceeds of crime. They can’t demonstrate where they got legitimate money to purchase the things they own. its about time the provincial government started to look at all those buying homes here. Not going to happen of course. That would perhaps disrupt the flow of cash to the B.C. Lieberals.

    What can you expect from a premier who skims a take on those private soirees.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Taxing absentees won’t work. Stupid. If you can afford a ten million dollar home, you can afford to leave your kid or concubine in it. Just another fee being generated to be gathered by those who DO NOTHING!
    But I agree with the statement, ‘except to find some one to help you avoid the new rules.’. The topic focuses on dirty money and the dirtiest is that made by Stockwell Day and Christy Clark and others either directly or indirectly involved in selling out BC in every way possible. Do I care that Chinese families want to come to BC? No. I welcome the good ones. Wouldn’t you do the same in their situation? Mind you, I don’t want the crooks but most people are fine.
    BUT NO GOVERNMENT PEOPLE QUALIFY! NO Corporate biggies would likely either.
    Do I care that RCI gets huge income doing what the government should do – vet the immigrants – yes, I do. Immigrants should be allowed by a fair process and the minute consultant’s are hired, it is no longer fair. That part of it is slimy like nose junk.
    Anyway – no more moralizing from me – because there are no more morals. The crooks will sell you out.
    You’ll be moving to Spuzzum. Why? ‘Cause you SOLD OUT. That is the way it works now. Get yours while you can, eh? Make a buck, eh? Then you can spend the next phase watching the parasites take it from you while you complain about it. What a farce the system is!


  3. WE were lucky enough to sell our EU properties for the equivalent of $1.2m in 2005. By 2016 that has now become less than $40,000, thanks to the puny efforts of Wood Gundy, the CIBC investment wing, which invested our money so badly they lost us $300,000. Unbelievable, but true.


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