**Updated:Millionaires, money and political influence in BC: What you should be reading this week.

I’ve got a really busy week and a half ahead and while I’ll still be watching activity on the blog,posts during this time will be sparse unless something earth-shattering comes up.

However because I know many of you don’t use twitter or other forms of social media, there are a few items you should be reading and I know many will appreciate if you add to it in the comments as things come up.

The legislature resumes today for another summer session so the current government can make some noise and try to look like they are actually doing something about the state of the real estate market in BC. I say try and make some noise because this is again the action of a reactive government stepping in with too little, too late to make a marked difference and in fact may just exacerbate the issues.

On that front, you should read Sam Coopers piece that came out on the weekend- it’s such a compelling story: http://theprovince.com/business/real-estate/mysterious-wheeler-dealer-is-at-centre-of-a-web-of-b-c-real-estate-deals

“Chinese property tycoon linked to a massive banking scandal in China’s industrial north is at the centre of more than $500 million in B.C. property deals, a joint investigation by Postmedia and global due diligence firm IPSA International shows.

Chinese real estate magnate Kevin Sun — also known as Hong Sun, Kevin Lin, Hong Wei Sun and Sun Hongwei — founded Sun Commercial Real Estate in 2013. In addition to buying and selling hundreds of millions in B.C. property, the B.C. company, which focuses on immigrant investors, has raised over $200 million from investors…”

 

Then, head over to the Tyee and read this excellent piece from Jeremy Nuttall: http://thetyee.ca/News/2016/07/25/Taiwan-Group-MPs-MLAs/

“Dozens of Canadian MPs and MLAs have accepted free trips from a Taiwanese business association despite reports that several of its directors are facing legal troubles.

National security expert Michel Juneau-Katsuya said the case shows Canadian politicians and governments haven’t grasped the need for vigilance in dealing with foreign lobby organizations.

“A common practice with politicians is not to pay attention to who they are talking to if they seem to be representing a certain group of the population, a certain segment that they are trying to seduce,” said Juneau-Katsuya, a former CSIS officer who is now CEO of the NorthGate Group, which helps companies guard against espionage activities.

~snip~

“The association has paid for flights, accommodation and meals for 35 MPs visiting Taiwan since 2013, often paying for spouses to accompany the elected officials.

The organization’s website shows it also paid for a visit by six BC Liberal MLAs in December, including Don McRae, Jane Thornthwaite, Darryl Plecas, Dan Ashton, Marvin Hunt and John Martin.

A delegation of Metro-Vancouver mayors also attended a sponsored trip last May. That group included Vancouver Councillor Raymond Louie, Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto and other municipal politicians.

The Taiwanese business association’s board includes at least three members implicated in criminal offences related to their business activities…”

I’ve always had an issue with politicians taking free trips paid for by other governments,companies or groups, period. Most politicians will staunchly defend the practice by saying it saves the taxpayers dollars, but there is no mention of an implied expectation that whoever is paying for that expensive trip, is clearly doing so for a selfish interest. And this clearly shows that government officials have a huge issue in the vetting process for accepting those perks!

It also reminded me the this older story that garnered extensive attention across Canada at the time,because of the concern of influence of Chinese state ownership in Canadian resource companies and tech firms and the debate over how Canada should handle that.https://lailayuile.com/2012/04/12/playing-with-the-dragon-who-is-looking-after-canadian-interests-while-china-outwits-our-governments/

And of course, it comes full circle with this piece on the Vancouver real estate concern over foreign ownership, foreign funds and millionaire immigration https://lailayuile.com/2016/07/16/things-that-make-you-go-hmmm-vanre-edition/

One thing missing in all of this debate and concern, is how this government arrived here in the first place. They didn’t just walk into the legislature, they were voted in. And the growing number of scandals that in a couple of cases is outright malfeasance in my opinion,combined with the reactive and questionable policy and decisions being made, should give every British Columbian reason to look beyond the glib promises during the coming election.

A trillion dollar prosperity fund? A million jobs with a target date  that keeps moving years away?Not happening as LNG dreams are shown to be just that.

Surplus budgets built on the tax proceeds of a real estate frenzy aided and abetted by this government?  Do you really believe government is going to do anything concrete here with that revenue pouring in? I don’t.

Ronald Reagan hit the nail on the head when he said: ” In the current crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”

Welcome to Beautiful BC.

**Update:

In todays presser on Global BC about the 15% increase in Property Transfer Tax for foreign owners, Premier Clark said very clearly that no option had ever been off the table in addressing affordable housing. No option.

Which isn’t actually true because there was an option that she made very clear over a year ago, was off the table.

This is from May 2015. That’s right. May 2015: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-premier-christy-clark-opposed-to-taxing-foreign-homeowners-1.3072443

 Premier Christy Clark is ruling out a tax increase for foreigners buying homes in Metro Vancouver, as an online petition calling for a restriction on foreign investment gathers nearly 18,000 signatures.

Clark said the government is trying to tackle the growing challenge of home ownership in Metro Vancouver, but is ruling out applying an additional tax on foreign buyers.

“That is good for first-time owners, but not for anyone who is counting on the equity in their homes to maybe get a loan or use the money to finance some other projects,” Clark said.

The average two-storey detached home is now selling for more than $1.27 million in Vancouver.

A change.org petition called “Restrict Foreign Investment in Greater Vancouver’s Residential Real Estate Market” has nearly 18,000 signatures.

But any sudden change could have unintended consequences for those who already have invested in a home, the premier said.
“By moving foreign owners out of the market housing prices will drop,” she said.

 

For over a year this government has sat and twiddled their thumbs while promoting the  real estate market to foreign investors in their own presentations.

Think about that. And now a mere bandaid that does nothing but provide a cash cow for government in place of floundering resource revenues and a failed LNG fantasy…

The tax does not address the issue of foreign funds flowing out of China to BC. It has loopholes left right and centre. It doesn’t address money laundering. It doesn’t address commercial properties, ALR which is being bought up by foreign owners all over BC or any purchases outside Metro Vancouver.

That means if the movement heads north  to the interior, or to the island, tough luck. But government still benefits from a steady flow of tax revenue.

Reactive and far too little to late. Can’t wait to see the results of this one…

10 thoughts on “**Updated:Millionaires, money and political influence in BC: What you should be reading this week.

  1. Regan was never right. And government is NOT the problem. BAD government is the problem. And we seem to have nothing but bad governments. So, THAT is the real problem- why do we always have such rotten governments? There are a lot of reasons to consider but the main one in my opinion is the ‘party’ system. It is impossible to be a stand-alone, independent, free thinking, vote-your-conscience representative of the people if you are first forced to ‘sell out’ to a party (read: corporation) that sponsors your election. They take your soul as the price of admission.
    As for the real estate problem; that, too, is complicated beyond the obvious problem. The whole real estate, home-ownership industry is a huge ‘con’ that enslaves people to the system for at least the life of their mortgage. Usually longer. Homeowners do not work to live, they work and live to pay off their mortgage. Debt is their master. And, ironically, they never ever really OWN the house they bleed for. Every twenty to forty years they have paid again for that home in taxes. Nowadays they do not even want you to have a dog, a high fence, loud music, too many people, a business or GOD-KNOWS-WHAT else you CAN’T do in your own house! And now they are proposing to TAX you for NOT living in your house. Imagine that…it is not enough to charge you forever and ever to live in a house, they are now going to charge you for NOT living it. Vote in the Liberals, vote them out……does it really matter? The system is dead and dying and they are simply carrion feeders.

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  2. e.a.f.

    Its some what entertaining that Teck Mining appointed a member of the Communist Chinese government to its board of directors. their rationale: he knew the market? right. The official is the equivalent of a Canadian M.P. So when do you think the reverse will happen ? When does any one think thety can buy as much property as they want in China? buy hey citizens of Communist China get to buy whatever they want here in Canada, complements of the provincial and federal governments. The taxpaying citizens in the meantime are being frozen out of the market.

    The B.C. Lieberals are in it for themselves and their political supporters, which includes as lot of money/people from communist china. One does have to wonder how much of the land Timber West is selling on Vancouver Island will the Communist Chinese government and their supporters buy? Where will that leave those living on Vancouver island with all those fun clauses in the 31 year trade agreement Steve gave the store away with.

    The legislation, the. photo op queen with bad jeviderm, is trying to pass is nothing more than window dressing. When you consider the hundred of millions pouring into our province, a tax is not going to make any difference. Its just window dressing. If any one was really serious, there would be really serious legislation, like perhaps, no purchasing of land, only condos and one. will that happen? not so much Bob Rennie and the rest of the real estate people would have a stroke not to mention Christy not getting all those extra taxes. Mean while people living in the GVRD can’t even find places to rent. These are people born in this country, whose grandparents went to war for this country, people who pay taxes in this country. They go to look at a place to rent and there are 25 people. These people are all working with decent jobs and still can’t find decent housing or something affordable, say under $2K a month. In my opinion the NDP should vote against this legislation because it does not address the situation. Christy is just co opting the NDP. this will come back to bite them in the ass one of these days.

    Just check where those who work for the city such as police and fire fighters live or teachers, administrative and clerical staff, not in Vancouver or Richmond.

    Christy and her cabal are in it for themselves and their friends. We who pay the bills, our kids are either in over crowded schools, having their schools closed, 500K of us don’t have family doctors. If you aren’t making over $80K you don’t have a hope of buying a place to live for your family, we have the lowest min. wage in Canada, the highest cost of housing and for 14 of the past 15 years the highest rate of child poverty. Now if any one thinks Christy is looking out for this province or its citizens, take a reality check.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hawgwash

      Metro Vancouver?
      That’s like telling the girls they can’t work the KG so they move to Scott Rd.
      Realtors on the Island are jumping for joy.
      It’s a joke.

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  3. JDC – even a fine individual such as Pierre Joseph Proudhon found after he had been elected the very physical distance between himself in the legislature and the people at home made it impossible for him to properly represent their interests. Democracy as we know it is a most challenging adventure. The people know this. The government remains ever distant.

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    1. I acknowledge that. It is a tough job. You can’t be in two places at once. Still, selling yourself out to a ‘puppet master’ (party) puts everything else second for ever more. Distance from the ‘street’ and the people is a tough enough challenge without voluntarily erecting the wall of ‘elitism’ and separation by way of a party allegiance. Do not mistake the ‘job’ of MLA (MP) for the ‘handicapped worker’. They are different. Being a bought and paid-for politician is like trying to trying to do the right thing with blinders, muffs and your hands tied behind your back. Party discipline will see to that. And that is wrong, wrong, wrong.
      The privileged and vaunted members of government will always be distant – but it should be job #1 for our reps to bring it closer. And, sadly, they don’t. And THAT is the GREAT failing of the NDP (and the GREENS) – they ‘purport to be of the people and then act too much like those before them. At least the corrupt and reedy ‘pigs’ (Liberals) squeal and display pink. They put lipstick on their pigs. You know what you are getting.

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  4. In reply to EAF. Absolutely spot on. I find it astounding when some slack-jawed neanderthal that has no experience other than voting Snookie the crook and her like minded opportunists in, calls the NDP “Communists”. What is so appalling is that in actuality Christy is giving a green light for these tyrants to go on subjugating political freedoms in their own country. And we are expected to applaud when she gives these butchers a say in the affairs of our own country? For shame Christy. Another BC Lieberal failure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. e.a.f.

    photo op queen and her cabal have a whole new source of cash with the new tax! Ought to help pay some of the bills coming due and some to put in the “prosperity fund”. It is doubtful any affordable housing will be built. We may see some senior’s housing built or money given to some corporation to build senior’s housing, but that is about it.

    In today’s housing market people earning $100K or less need affordable housing. Decent apartments run $2 to $3K per month and houses even more. with the cost of land, it is doubt Christy and cabal will get to buy much. they’ll be out bid by some foreigner.

    We can expect to see this new source of revenue go into the general revenue and then used to pay the couple of billion the province owes mining companies via some perverse pay back scheme named tax credit.

    The new tax is only the price of doing business for the money launderers of the world or more specifically the Communist Chinese. Of course there is the alternative, the foreign buyers find ways around the tax and B.C. doesn’t take in a nickel. wonder how Christy and her cabal is going to explain that one Lucy.

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