It’s a start, at least. And on the surface, it looks surprisingly bold. But it remains to be seen whether the 30-point housing plan British Columbia Premier John Horgan’s government unveiled Tuesday will begin to expunge the pathologies that have turned Metro Vancouver’s real estate market into an international housing affordability basket case and a global playground for white-collar criminals and fentanyl tycoons.
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It may well be that the suite of measures outlined in the first full budget of Horgan’s seven-month-old government will start to remedy the most obviously ill effects of high-stakes real estate speculation, shadowy foreign investment rackets, massive tax evasion and money-laundering. It could be, too, that the measures will merely end up allowing the New Democratic Party government to get in on the action, like its Liberal Party predecessor did, except in its own way.
What is certain—and it has come as a delight to many West coast housing activists—is that after more than a decade of willful neglect by provincial and municipal politicians, and out of a political culture of persistent denial, indifference, self-dealing and outright corruption, there appears to be a government in Victoria that is giving the province’s distorted, overheated and out-of-control real estate business some long overdue attention.