Tents where approximately 150 people were camped at a parking lot on Port of Vancouver property adjacent to Crab Park, in Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, June 10, 2020. The encampment was set up after a tent city at Oppenheimer Park was shut down due to concerns about COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. VOTES 2020: Speculation tax misses speculators, B.C. Liberals say

Andrew Wilkinson, John Horgan clash over housing costs, solutions

NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson staged campaign events to illustrate their housing and homelessness plans Friday, with Wilkinson confirming he would replace the NDP’s speculation and vacancy tax if he forms a government after Oct. 24.

Wilkinson travelled to Vancouver’s Yaletown condo towers, where investment properties were sitting vacant as prices soared in recent years. The B.C. Liberal government put on a 15-per-cent foreign buyer tax on Metro Vancouver property purchases in 2016, and then the NDP government imposed a “speculation tax” on vacant homes that extended to Victoria, Nanaimo and the Central Okanagan as well.

Wilkinson renewed his commitment that he intends to replace the speculation tax with one on pre-sale condo contracts being sold and resold before the project is built.

“What we need in the Lower Mainland is a tax on people who flip paper condo contracts before the building has even gone up,” Wilkinson told reporters Sept. 25. He called the NDP plan, which was cut back sharply after the B.C. Green party objected to it covering rural vacation homes, “a phoney speculation tax that doesn’t reflect speculation at all.”

2016: Foreign buyers tax shows results in Metro Vancouver

2018: Mayors say speculation tax causing local ‘recession’

Horgan said the speculation tax has seen 11,000 vacant homes rented out, to escape the tax by having a property occupied at least six months of the year. He spoke in front of a United Church low-income housing project in Coquitlam, promising the $110 million raised by the vacant home tax is going to government-supported housing projects like that one.

Wilkinson said the NDP government’s decision to buy run-down hotels and “warehouse” people in tent camps is directly responsible for big spikes in crime in Victoria and Vancouver.

“We need to have a full spectrum approach to housing, just like we did in the Liberal era when we put together housing projects that were supportive of people who needed help,” Wilkinson said. “Another housing project was simply providing people with a subsidy to their rent, so they could get on with their lives.”

Horgan acknowledged that housing prices are still rising in major urban centres, saying the Lower Mainland is still a desirable place to live and more supply is coming.

“There were complaints that there weren’t enough housing starts, and now there are too many housing starts,” Horgan said.

Wilkinson has argued that local government building regulations are too slow and need to be reformed.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

File photo
Man escapes truck incident unscathed

Submitted by Sgt. G.D. Simpson October 19 The Clearwater RCMP detachment received… Continue reading

Peter Milobar, BC Liberal candidate for the Kamloops-North Thompson has been elected for a second term. Milobar is pictured here with his wife Lianne. (Facebook photo)
Milobar takes Kamloops – North Thompson for a second term

Peter Milobar, the BC Liberal candidate for the Kamloops-North Thompson has been… Continue reading

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

An elderly woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past an advertisement for a television series in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. has been under a COVID-19 state of emergency for more than half the year

Province has been under a state of emergency for 32 weeks – and counting

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Tyrell Giroux was arrested by Williams Lake RCMP on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Facebook video screenshot)
Tsilhqot’in leaders call for suspension of officers seen in controversial Williams Lake arrest

Disturbing video demands an immediate, independent investigation, says TNG

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Most Read