Every so often I take inventory of where I stand on big social and political issues based on the best evidence I can muster on the subject without mistaking myself for an expert. Since I work mainly by experience and capitalizing on other people’s knowledge, which I believe can always do with a little tweaking now and again. If only the US Pentagon had done a major rethink on the domino theory in Vietnam in the early sixties, the outcome to this war may have been vastly different. Here is the start of my list and the accompanying positions:
A. Kinder Morgan – This is an economic project that needs to go forward because of the long-term benefits to getting our bitumen crude to international markets. The environmentalists are opposing this twinning because they believe that it will create additional tanker traffic that might lead to a greater chance of a catastrophic oil spill. While I suspect overall that this group wants to shut down the Tarsands, period, this particular fear tactic is baseless because fact-based evidence seems to indicate that an increase in tanker traffic will be minimal and that Trans Mountain has satisfied the National Energy Board requirements for dealing with potential oil spills. The fact that the BC government is backing the environmentalists makes this whole issue a constitutional crisis that will ultimately play out in the courts and the court of public opinion in 2019. Meanwhile, because of a shortage of refined product in BC, gas prices at the pump are spiking at all-time highs.
B. Foreign Ownership Tax – Here’s a hot topic for discussion that seems to be getting more controversial by the moment. The BC NDP government is considering slapping a considerable tax on foreign-owned properties in the province that remain unoccupied throughout the year. It is hoped that this tax would force more properties to become available to British Columbians during a time of rising real estate values and diminished supply. Here is a classic example with such legislation as being nothing more than a potential cash grab. A condo in our building recently went on the market for close to ninety thousand above its assessed value. The twist here is that it was being sold by one of those so-called foreign owners who, in fact, lived next door in Alberta and occupied the place three times a year. Just yesterday the place sold for over a hundred and twenty thousand of the 2017 assessed price to a couple from Manitoba looking to eventually move to the West Coast. Either this deal got caught in a major bidding war or it was so desirable that the final price reflects true market value irrespective of a proposed tax. While the ‘foreign’ owner may be gone, the Victoria market is still as hot as ever, and with these new highs not likely to cool off unless there is a serious downturn in the economy, which makes my point: no amount of government regulation will change human behavior if the unwritten law of supply and demand are in play along with a serious lack of common sense.
N.B. Expect more issues in the weeks to come.