Sunday, June 5, 2016

On the Take - Who Owns the Government of British Columbia?

On the Take - Who Owns the Government of British Columbia?

When the public is furious about something and their government refuses to so much as acknowledge it, chances are that government is working for someone other than the people who elected it.

There's a name for it, "political capture." The classic example is America's "bought and paid for" Congress that routinely ignores the needs and wishes of the American people to legislate on behalf of narrow but powerful and affluent interests.

What's the problem in British Columbia? In Vancouver, and to a lesser extent in other communities, it's the crisis in residential real estate and home ownership. Put simply, the market has become so skewed that my children and my friends' children have virtually no chance of ever affording a home in the same neighbourhoods in which they were born and raised. Those neighbourhoods belong to someone else now and multiple waves of foreign owners have upped and upped the values until they're no longer in reach of the local population.

The funny thing is a lot of this now uber-costly housing sits empty. It's not housing. It's a sink for what too often is "no questions asked" overseas money.

That's the point - no questions asked. Why?

Richard Kurland, a leading immigration lawyer and researcher, said he’s puzzled for years over whyPremier Christy Clark’s party has refused to address core issues behind the city’s unaffordability crisis, which is fuelled to a large degree by foreign capital and an unusually high proportion of rich immigrants.

For a long time Kurland couldn’t understand why the B.C. government would stubbornly ignore polls by Insights West and Angus Reid that capture the anger of voters, most of whom are shocked there is no longer any connection between Metro Vancouver’s wages and housing costs.

Kurland has reluctantly concluded the main reason B.C. Liberals don’t want to regulate the causes of runaway housing prices is that it would upset property developers.

“When you look at the real estate industry and our domestic political party system, there are links. And so a reduction in the number of clients would logically be against the interests of the real estate industry. Connect the dots.”

Read the article. It's fascinating. Real estate developers now "own" our provincial government. Christy Clark and her underlings are "bought and paid for."

Here's the kicker. Christy's Liberals aren't too fussy about where the money comes from. A lot of it is from foreign interests. Yes, that's right. In BC, politicians can be bought long distance.

For Integrity B.C., there is yet another campaign financing issue that needs addressing, which is almost startling for its rarity.

“My research shows it’s only B.C. that allows foreigners to donate to political parties,” [Dermod] Travis said. “I have not found anywhere else in the Western world where that happens.”

Two of the foreign-based property developers that have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the B.C. Liberals, Travis says, are Onni Contracting, whose parent company is in Arizona, and The Holborn Group.

As Postmedia reporter Sam Cooper recently discovered, The Holborn Group is owned by one of Malaysia’s wealthiest families, led by Tony Tiah Thee Kian.

The Trumpeteers
Son, Enrico; Daughter, Latavia Trump, DJT,
Some Asian guy, possibly Yakuza;
Son, 'Tardo Trump.

Holborn Group and related companies, which have given $226,000 to the B.C. Liberals, is erecting Vancouver’s Trump Tower, named after the expected Republican nominee for U.S. president.

Holborn Group is also building 10 residential towers on prime land next to Vancouver’s Little Mountain, which it bought from the B.C. government.

And who can forget Christy's quick visit to Calgary during the last election to pocket a juicy campaign contribution from the Oil Barons. What is this, Tammany Hall, West Coast style? Who is our premier, Christy "Boss" Clark?