To the editor,
Re: Liberal leader listening to speculation tax concerns, April 16.
My wife and I sailed into Nanaimo harbour 20 years ago and immediately fell in love with the place, so much so that we thought we would retire here. Years later, we purchased a townhome with the intent to transition to full-time residence in the city. Now the NDP minority government wants to charge fellow Canadians a one percent annual tax on the value of their property.
The NDP created a narrative where Albertans take from and do not contribute to the province, and it’s blatantly untrue. What the Minister left out in her pronouncement is the economic impact from goods and services we do purchase.
Now consider how Alberta treats B.C. residents who earn income from Alberta without paying Alberta income taxes. According to Revenue Canada, about 15 per cent of employees in construction and oil and gas in Alberta reside in B.C. They take their paychecks home, pay taxes in B.C., and Alberta says thank you because to tax them would only shrink the labour supply, lower productivity, and ultimately decrease provincial revenues. A tax surcharge on B.C. residents employed in Alberta makes no more sense than a speculation tax does for Alberta residents. There should be no wall between the provinces.
My cynical side says we are being attacked by a populist premier who markets himself as a defender of British Columbia. He uses the term ‘speculation’ to demonize out-of-province Canadians. That sentiment may play well with his base, but his actions erode national unity. But is he not also taxing B.C. residents on the value of second properties? Indeed, so how do the finance minister’s rationales apply to them? Quite simply, they don’t. The speculation tax, better called an ‘asset’ tax is meant to redistribute wealth. Perhaps the NDP should be honest about their intent.
If foreigners are dumping money into real estate and not living here, then deal with that issue, but leave Canadians out of it. I think revisions to this new tax are in order; if not, then we will ‘use every tool in our toolbox’ to ensure that less divisive politicians occupy the legislative assembly in British Columbia following the next election.
Steven Dennis, Edmonton/Nanaimo
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