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Dear, rest of Canada.

The news headlines are filtering out regarding the NDP's budget tabled the other day in regards to the real estate world we live in. Some are arguing that its unfair. But I would argue that your 'fairness' scale needs some re-calibration before you get to say that with any accuracy.
BC is home to the most perverse distortions in the real estate market in Canada. The market it seems has been turned into a form of commodity trading for folks looking to hold cash, make a quick buck or launder dirty money from abroad. Now, the NDP government proposals will not fix these problems overnight as they're far more complex than a couple of tax code changes, but they're a good first few steps. Other steps I believe will draw in the police, federal tax auditors, etc. But, this is not an area I'm an expert in.
What the NDP has done has put a fee to empty homes being held out of the market, unless you live and work in BC. The NDP is putting a fee to obscene property values t…

BC Liberals conflicted badly

I've been monitoring the reaction of folks in social media regarding the NDP'S first full budget since 2000. Most of the comments so far have been very positive. Some have raised a few technical questions, but overall be sense is that the budget is well received. Except if you're a BC Liberal. Naturally. Above all other predictable comments, the notion of a payroll tax of 1.9% on payrolls above $500,000 to replace the MSP premiums isn't being received well. By some. Taken at face value, the criticism has merits. But the policy is good for a number of reasons.MSP was a tax. Used by government to raise funds for general purposes. True, so is the payroll tax, but to free working folks of this fee they had to pay up front should at least count as a tax cut. Exempting small and micro business with payrolls less than $500k means they've not going to be hit with this new fee. My suggestion would be to index the $500k so that businesses under the threshold could give raise…

How dare BC ask its people their opinion on certain pressing environmental issues. The nerve. Who do they think they are? The government?

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I remember watching the KXL debate unfold in the USA. It was a similar battle in that Big Oil wanted an expanded crude oil pipeline from Alberta's tar-sands to the gulf coast. The idea was sold as a means to wean America of foreign oil and create thousands of jobs. Those were lies. The oil wasn't for domestic consumption, it was for foreign sales. Nothing in the KXL proposal was to expand domestic oil/gas supply. And the jobs? Its true at first that jobs would be created in the short term; for the supplies and the construction of the pipeline. But how many would exist afterwards? 50. Fifty jobs.
The midwest was asked to support a pipeline that put at risk countless streams, rivers, farms, small towns, first nations, and other sensitive habitat. Other than the 50 remaining jobs, the benefit it seems for KXL was for big oil.

So we have a parallel situation in Kinder Morgan. To be clear, there already is a pipeline that sends tarsands crude all the way to Vancouver harbour. This…

Residency requirement is a good idea for real estate purchases

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It's being floated about, the idea to ban foreigners from buying property in BC. I'm not an expert on this, but one thing I do know. A party offering a populist idea that pledges to ban foreigners from [activity] is bound to attract voters with a certain antipathy towards.. foreigners. Maybe that's the intention, maybe it isn't. But are we 100% sure that it's only foreigners cash that's distorted Vancouver's real estate market? Are we 100% certain that domestic or even local investment hasn't played a role in distorting with housing prices in the city? The answer is "no" to both. I don't claim to be an expert on housing, real estate and relevant regulations. But a narrative in BC that seeks to blame the foreigners isn't philosophically far from Trump's attack on #DACA folks. Blame the foreigners, kick 'em out, that will fix our problems. No. It makes us look like an asshole. My 2 bits.

Oprah is great, but not as a presidential candidate

Hear me out for a moment.
First, as far as qualifications go, she towers Trump in every way. She wasn't born into wealth, she had to earn it the hard way. As a black woman, that climb was far steeper than most others had to do. Her challenge is that she's polarizing. Those who like her, love her. Those who dislike her, well you get the picture. To a lesser degree than Hillary Clinton to be sure, but polarizing to be clear. If Democrats nominate Oprah, they validate the narrative told by Republicans that Democrats cater to elite, rich and entitled limousine Liberals. Facts be damned. No mention that Trump, and Romney beforehand were candidates born into wealth and were far more detached from the plight of the average working stiff who's slipping further behind than ever before. But we've well established that we're in a post truth era where facts don't matter, "truth" is told by oft repeated narrative. Democrats need to locate a slate of candidates wh…

Getting past the bullshit on #siteC

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Again, since I can't stress it enough, SiteC is wrong and should be cancelled. Its financial impact in cancellation is less of a burden than to carry out its construction. Worse, but most compelling for me, is the impact on reconciliation efforts with First Nations and the stated objective of the NDP government to get to a place of compliance with UNDRIP. There is time to reverse this decision, but the government must move quickly to do so.
I certainly get the level of frustration going on with the SiteC decision, what I didn't expect is the level of online harassment, name calling, and outright bullying that's happened as a result. It is over the edge. BC is better than this, and internally, so is the NDP.
The government has decided to move forward with SiteC, and therefore will have to own all fallout that comes from complications in construction cost overruns (almost a guarantee). They will first have to mitigate the justified uproar of the good folks the Treaty 8 in N…

Disappointed. NDP's approval of #SiteC is uncharted territory for supporters and activists

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There were many of us who had hoped that through an unflattering review of SiteC by the BC Utilities Commission, that the project would be cancelled. We're not too far along in the construction that it could be halted and reversed for far less cash than what completion would cost. Indeed, that's what the conclusion was; the project was unnecessary, and unnecessarily expensive.
While BC is planning to spend upwards of $12 billion (probably more) to build a dam of old world technology, the far greener tech is becoming cheaper to build, maintain, and can pull the necessary kW required for our future needs. Needs that don't yet exist.

The NDP had a clean slate here. They also promised to adhere to UNDRIP; an international protocol that calls for Indigenous People's consent for these sorts of decisions. Since SiteC is in dispute with several northern First Nations, we can safely assume that this consent isn't quite satisfied. Putting it mildly. So expect years of high l…