Just in case you missed it, given the ensuing (manufactured?) flap over his pipeline comment, yesterday opposition leader John Horgan spoke to British Columbians like they are adults about the Lotuslandian real estate situation through his open letter to our fine premier.
Here is a good chunk of that letter:
...Unfortunately while you and your colleagues were denying the very existence of a problem in the Lower Mainland real estate market, conditions worsened. Moreover, in the month since your government passed the hastily written Bill 28, we have seen numerous reports about the many ways in which your tax on foreign nationals is both failing to address the real problems facing Lower Mainland residents and creating significant unintended consequences.
During debate on Bill 28, my colleague David Eby proposed several amendments to the tax that we believe will have a meaningful impact on affordability in the Lower Mainland. While you rejected those amendments out of hand, subsequent developments have both validated those concerns and underscored the need for significant improvements.
First, we proposed amending Section 3 of the bill to define foreign national as an individual who has not paid his or her worldwide income tax in British Columbia for the most recent complete taxation year. It is now clear that such a change would significantly extend the reach of the tax to individuals who may have residency status in British Columbia, but who derive their primary income from foreign jurisdictions. This amendment would make the tax more effective and ensure that its effect was focused on individuals income sources rather than on their nationalities.
Second, we proposed that the Bill be amended in section 3 by redefining foreign national to exempt individuals who hold federal or provincial work permits. It is now clear that your tax on foreign nationals has effectively penalized individuals who are working and paying taxes in British Columbia but who continue to hold foreign passports. This measure is both discriminatory and counterproductive in that it effectively punishes people with unique skills such as visiting university professors and international researchers who are critical to building an educated workforce. Worse still, your Bill makes it even harder for growing BC companies to recruit international talent to the Lower Mainland.
Third, we proposed that the Bill be amended in section 3 to remove the loophole that allows foreign capital to use bare trusts to avoid the current or amended property transfer tax. We can only assume that you chose to leave this well-known loophole in place in an effort to encourage the sale of commercial and multi-unit residential properties to international buyers. However given the crisis in the Lower Mainland rental market, this measure makes little sense and creates an uneven playing field for those who have the financial wherewithal to establish and administer bare trusts...
I mean, honestly...
Can you imagine having a government that actually thought, hard, about what it was doing before it did it?