The provincial government proposes to introduce two fake taxes, respectively called the school tax and the speculation tax. These are really fines for owning existing property, to which there is no appeal.
For some local families, the house is the family asset, built up after years of paying property taxes and mortgages. Even a deferral of the school tax affects the resources ultimately available to the next generation to enable them to live in Vancouver.
The speculation tax title makes it sound desirable since we clearly don’t want speculators distorting the condo market. But Canadians plan ahead when they intend to downsize to a smaller property. Others try to renovate one property and need to live in another. But this government just needs an excuse to tax citizens who plan ahead. There is no avenue of appeal. Everyone is regarded as a speculator.
In contrast, the 20-per-cent tax on future foreign buyers leaves the decision to buy in their hands. They can choose to go elsewhere with no penalty.
I am surprised that the Green party supports this legislation. I thought they had higher standards of integrity.
David Williams, Vancouver
FPTP doesn’t end extremism
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s action in forcing Toronto to reduce the size of its council is a blatant example of extremism in a major party. And people are concerned that proportional representation will allow extremist groups to flourish. At least they won’t be hiding in the shadow of the big-tent parties, just waiting for the right time to emerge.
The fact that not one of his fellow MLAs voted against him is concerning and points out the tremendous power that our premiers and the prime minister hold in this country. Woe betide an MLA or MP who steps out of line.
So much for them representing their constituents. So much for the vaunted accountability to the electorate. They represent their party first and foremost.
Daryl Sturdy, Vancouver
While researching Victorian “lunatic asylums” for an upcoming production of Sweeney Todd, I recognized elements of my recent psychiatric patient experience at St. Paul’s Hospital. I got to see patients grabbed by security — on nurse’s orders — and tossed into the unit’s locked cell. Then I could hear the screams of my fellow patients as a belligerent nurse stood at the door demanding better “behaviour.”
Mice ran back and forth across the hallways night and day. I was subject to the degrading “no underwear rule” for men, which prevented me from wearing underwear until I earned my own clothes. Fellow patients were unable to cover their bodies properly because of revealing institutional pajamas. Some rooms sleep three, even four patients. The smell is overwhelming.
While the new Segal Centre at Vancouver General Hospital brings psychiatric patient treatment into the current century, St. Paul’s operates in a distant one.
Michael Groberman, Vancouver
Chinese treated with suspicion
Re: Vancouver has double standard, letter, Sept. 11.
How true is what Wes Fung said about a “double standard” in his recent letter. It’s all in people’s heads, like “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”
In the old days, when Chinese came to Canada to work as railway builders or miners or in low-income, dirty jobs that no white man wanted to do, they were despised and called names and restricted to certain areas, where they could work and live. That is when and why Chinatowns were created.
Now, when some Chinese brought money here to buy or build big houses in the British Properties or Shaughnessy, they were suspiciously considered laundering their money to invest in those properties.
It seems there’s a no win-win situation here.
Kelly Ip, Vancouver
There is a problem
And how many of those people in the monster house are actually contributing income taxes to keep our wonderful Canada running? Are they integrating into Canadian society, or sticking to themselves and creating divisions?
Christine Krahn, Kelowna
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