**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.
“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.
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…