The News Rundown
- Canada produces just over 2 million cars a year.
- The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce or CIBC suggests that this could fall by almost 900,000 units if we were hit with a 25% auto tariff.
- That is the threat that President Trump has levied against Canada as well as a 10% tariff on auto parts.
- The bank report goes on to say that we’d only lose 400,000 units if that tariff were applied to other jurisdictions like the EU and Asia.
- We’ve talked about the “retaliatory measures” that the government has put into place.
- $1.5T USD vs. $18T USD
- We are now dealing with the ramifications of this unnecessary escalation by both parties: 160,000 potential job losses as postulated by TD Bank last month.
- Not only are we looking at job losses but also potentially a rippling effect to other sectors of the Canadian economy.
- It’s been forecasted to run a stimulus package if the economy were to fall into recession with this would push the budget deficit north of $50b.
- The foreign buyers' tax, and other government measures put in place over the past few years by both BC NDP and Liberal governments has had an effect on the ridiculously expensive housing market in Vancouver. It's been a problem that was allowed to spiral out of control, and now the median price of all home types has reached over $1M, the price for detached houses reached a $1.75M average, while condos reached an average of almost $700,000.
- The foreign buyers' tax has slowed total sales in the Vancouver area, and prices should soon follow, said real estate economist Tom Davidoff of UBC. Davidoff said this in an interview: “Prices are slow to adjust, but there are reasons for optimism if you’re a millennial buyer. The price momentum has certainly slowed and there is reason to think you will see a further softening of the market going forward.”
- Total residential sales volume last month fell to 2,425 transactions, down 37.7 per cent from 3,893 sales in June, 2017. Last month’s sales, the lowest for June since 2012, were 28.7 per cent under the 10-year average for the month, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. It's encouraging news for those trying to enter the housing market anywhere, as prices in Vancouver do tend to have an effect on prices in other cities around the province.
- Canada is not the only country around the world that has implemented taxes on foreign home buyers, indeed almost all of the most populous nations have. Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and Britain all have some form of foreign buyer tax, while Switzerland, Denmark, The Philippines, Mexico, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia all have severe restrictions on how foreigners can buy property, including residency requirements. China, out of curiosity has some of the harshest and stringent regulations. It is hard to find a country that allows foreigners to freely buy its land.
- But that hasn’t stopped Chinese national Jing Li, assisted by some Canadian academics, from launching a lawsuit against the B.C. government’s 20 per cent tax on foreign buyers of residential properties.
- Li, an international student who used her family’s money to buy a townhouse in Langley, argues the tax illegally discriminates against people on the basis of their national origin and has been stirred up by “unfair biases and stereotypes.” UBC academics Nathan Lauster and Henry Yu produced affidavits supporting Li’s argument the tax is xenophobic, especially towards Asians and specifically Chinese.
- According to Douglas Todd of the Vancouver Sun, In China, the restrictions on foreign buyers of property are tricky, onerous, costly and always changing. For starters, foreigners might be shocked to find they can never actually own the dirt that their property sits on in China, because the government maintains complete ownership of all land. Foreigners and citizens can only buy buildings. A foreign national has had to meet numerous requirements to buy a dwelling in China, including proving they have been living in the country for at least a year. That is a residency requirement Canadian politicians never raise as even a possibility.
- And the laws vary abruptly by region in China. Foreigners who want to buy a house in Shanghai, for instance, have to prove they’re married. In Beijing, foreigners have to pay taxes for at least five years before officials allow them to buy a structure. And, even after that, a foreigner in Beijing can only buy one property, which has to be residential. China’s regulations, designed to help its own citizens, go on and on. Since, like most Asian countries, China also allows in extremely few immigrants, it is virtually impossible to become a citizen and then buy property in the country. The foreign-born portion of the population in most Asian countries is typically less than one per cent.
- All of which suggests the foreign-buyers tax in B.C. and Ontario — compared to the incredible range of restrictions around the world — is distinctly middle of the road. And if critics deem the foreign-buyers tax to be xenophobic or racist, they must be ready to say the same to most of the world’s nations. However, many academics and media outlets are prepared to call the foreign buyers' tax racist, when it equally applies to all foreign nationals.
- We’ve talked before about Rural Crime: Gerald Stanley vs. Colten Boushie. Stanley was ultimately acquitted in the death of Boushie.
- To address rural crime in Alberta the UCP is taking the most direct route possible.
- The UCP has described it as “vulnerabilities in how rural citizens can protect themselves from crime”
- One area that the party wants to pursue is for the province to push the federal government to amend the Criminal Code to ensure the use of force as self defence precludes the prosecution of a victim of crime.
- This would have rendered the Stanley vs. Boushie case open and shut.
- The following points would be considered if someone uses force in self-defence:
- If police were delayed or did not respond at all.
- If the offender failed to leave the premises once confronted.
- The number of people committing a crime, and if they appeared to be intoxicated.
- Whether or not the accused was armed or exhibited threatening behaviour.
- This does not put Alberta in the realm of the United States 2nd Amendment or states where concealed carry is legal.
- The Stanley vs. Boushie case wasn’t the only one, this past June charges were dropped against a Okotoks homeowner who was accused of shooting a trespasser on his property.
- Mike Ellis, solicitor general critic of the UCP opposition said, “You have to ask yourself why Mr. Maurice was in the situation that he was in… In the case of Mr. Maurice and many of our friends in rural Alberta … the police in many of these cases are not just arriving late, they’re not arriving at all.”
- Other provisions included that the UCP is calling for are:
- Creating a provincially-regulated system to enable different jurisdictions to work together to respond to calls.
- Collect more data on repeat offenders, including electronic monitoring of them once they are released, and establish a high-risk offender unit.
- Introduce an act that would require yearly reports to the legislature on provincial crime statistics.
- Look into creating an office that would advocate for victims’ rights.
- Hire additional prosecutors and create temporary courts to eliminate backlogs in the justice system.
- Most of the media coverage this week on this proposal went back to Premier Notley’s highlighting of the UCP not voting for a plan that would bring in 39 new RCMP officers.
- We don’t know where these officers will be stationed but this is barely enough to place 1 new officer in each of Alberta’s rural electoral ridings.
- Something has to be done: In Nanton, the severity of crimes jumped and the number of reported crimes increased from 337 to 457.
- High River saw its crimes increase from 254 to 314.
- Brooks, Taber, and Airdrie also all saw their crime severity rating increase.
- Media bubble: Edmonton and Calgary vs. Rural
The Firing Line
- Remember 3 weeks ago on Episode 73 when I did a story on the groping allegations of a reporter writing in the Creston Valley Advance in the summer of 2000 against Trudeau? It's amazing that it took the media an entire month to actually pick up the story, but here we are.
- The original article, published in August of 2000, surfaced earlier this year in Frank Magazine. None paid much heed to that. Then on June 6, 2018, just as Trudeau was releasing his findings about former cabinet minister Kent Hehr and groping allegations, Warren Kinsella posted on the matter with a clipping of the article. From there, Mark Bonokoski of the Toronto Sun picked up the story with his own column.
- The NY Times made mention of the matter, Buzzfeed, Daily Caller, Daily Beast, Sun UK and others all wrote about this seemingly feminist prime minister groping a female reporter and then offering the oddest of apologies.
- The editorial from August 14, 2000 claims that Trudeau was in Creston to celebrate the Kokanee Summit Festival, and that he apologized a day late for "inappropriately handling", or what the editorial calls "groping" a young female reporter who was working for the Advance, and reporting for the Vancouver Sun and National Post. He was alleged to have said "I'm sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I would never have been so forward."
- Just yesterday, the woman in question released a statement, confirming that the incident "did occur as reported" but that she will not be pursuing it further, and has had no contact with Trudeau since then.
- However, this story is less about the actual alleged sexual assault by Trudeau, and more about his response since then, the media's response, and the inherent hypocrisy of it all.
- It appears that Trudeau's feminism and "believe all accusers" mantra that he's repeated over and over has now caught himself in a trap. Either he denies the accusation and he contradicts his own admonition to believe all women when they come forward. Admit to the accusation, and he would be confessing to an offence that, if it did not expose him to criminal charges, would certainly expose him to accusations of hypocrisy, given the swift justice he gave others in similar circumstances.
- For weeks, after it was given new life last month on social media, Trudeau's PMO issued the same statement: that Trudeau remembered being in Creston but “doesn’t think he had any negative interactions” there.
- When at last Trudeau himself addressed the matter, after the National Post published a story in which the newspaper’s former editor and publisher confirmed the reporter came to them with the same accusation, it was on precisely the same line. He told reporters Sunday that he remembered “that day in Creston well,” that he had “a good day that day,” and that he didn't "remember any negative interactions that day at all.” That's just the thing. Selective memory does not mean the incident did not happen.
- Also, by Trudeau's own words, the same high standards should apply to everyone, even himself, no matter how long ago the incident was. Back in late January, amidst all the resignations, a reporter asked Prime Minister Trudeau if the same standards that applied to everyone in his party applied to him as well. He candidly replied “The standard applies to everyone." In that interview he also said it doesn’t matter how old the allegations are, saying that “There is no context in which someone doesn’t have responsibility for things they have done in the past."
- When asked by the reporter, “As you look back into your own career, is there a chance at some point that your actions might not have been construed the way they were intended?” Trudeau responded: “I don’t think so. I’ve been very, very careful all my life to be thoughtful, to be respectful of people’s space and people’s headspace as well.” Despite this statement of confidence in his own actions, Trudeau said he is subject to the same zero-tolerance policy he applies to everyone else.
- “When women speak up it is our duty to listen to them and believe them,” Trudeau said earlier this year as his government tabled a bill on workplace harassment.
- Either way, Trudeau looks like a hypocrite, and it's clear that we can't trust anything he says on the matter, nor can we trust any of the Liberal cabinet ministers. Self described feminist cabinet ministers Patty Hajdu and Maryam Monsef have both supported Trudeau's handling of the issue.
- Hajdu actually said this on CBC Radio yesterday: "I'm actually proud of a prime minister that understands that you can believe that you didn't have negative interactions with someone — I think we can think about this in all kinds of different situations — and find out later that someone perceived that interaction in a completely different way, and reflect on how our behaviour and the way that we make our way in the world impacts other people."
- It's also clear that we can't trust the media on the matter. Notwithstanding the fact that it took a month for the story to hit mainstream media, the CBC has also known about the story for a long time and hadn't reported it. By their own admission, "Earlier this year, CBC News spoke by phone and emailed with the woman who was the subject of the editorial."
- Postmedia columnist Anthony Furey also corroborates this on his Twitter: "A connected source in Ottawa told me he spoke to a reporter at the CBC about this story weeks before it went public, and that they said they had investigated it but felt it was not newsworthy given the info they had. And apparently they were content to just leave it at that."
- So for everyone involved, it doesn't look good. Trudeau, the Liberal Party, and the media, the CBC especially come out of this looking terrible. As Brian Lilley writes, "Media in this country is going through massive changes and struggling to keep an audience. Refusing to report on a story that gets a strong airing online but is ignored in mainstream outlets won’t help with media survival. Report on the allegations, ask questions, hold Trudeau to the same standard he has set for everyone else."
Word of the Week
Foreign - of, from, in, or characteristic of a country or language other than one's own.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Grasping for the Truth
Teaser: US tariffs could cut Canadian car production in half, a frivolous lawsuit falsely claims that the BC foreign buyer tax is racist, and the UCP supports self defense to combat rural crime. Also, the media finally reports on Trudeau’s groping hypocrisy.
Recorded Date: July 7, 2018
Release Date: July 8, 2018
Edit Notes: Audio recording break @ BC
Podcast Summary Notes