VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC Liberals are going after the NDP’s housing critic on social media, suggesting that party can’t be trusted on that file.
The Tweet reads: Only one caucus can be trusted to take action on housing affordability. Hint: Not David Eby’s NDP.
UBC political scientist David Moscrop says this focus on Eby, an advocate for government action on this file in recent months, betrays a sense of desperation on the part of the Liberals.
“It’s nasty and desperate,” says Moscrop. “It sends a signal that you’re really scared of something. To essentially be undertaking aerial bombardment this far out of a campaign. It sort of cedes the point that maybe the caucus is a little bit nervous about their command of the issue. You don’t go on an offensive like this unless you’re nervous of the potential of losing the issue. And plainly, this far out, plainly they are.
“It was David Eby who was pushing them on this, and in a lot of sense, the opposition has been pushing the government for a long time to start doing something about housing. Any housing wins that the Liberal government claims, have to be in part at least, attributed to the opposition.”
Indeed, Eby and the NDP have been pushing for a two percent speculation tax, in contrast to the BC Liberals which until the surprise unveiling of their 15 percent Metro Vancouver foreign buyer tax earlier this week, had opted to take a non-interventionist approach to the housing market.
In separate Tweets, the BC Liberal Caucus appears to mischaracterize the proposed NDP speculation tax as one that would apply to all home buyers.
“Which is a lie, right? At the very least, it’s an extremely misleading statement,” says Moscrop. “Everybody knows that there’s going to have to be some sort of taxation measure that’s levelled to start dealing with this. Either that, or there’s going to be a crash. I mean, there could be a suite of things, but taxes are definitely on the table for this. That’s not what the NDP was proposing, whatever side you’re on.”
Given the intense anger that has come with this conversation on skyrocketing housing prices — Moscrop says this could be a preview of what sort of tone we’ll see in next year’s provincial election campaign.
“This is how you end up with a housing issue that’s not being properly dealt with, because people are slinging mud at each other,” says Moscrop. “In some senses, it’s necessary that we address housing right away. But unfortunately the worst time to do that is around an election. You’re going to get pandering, you’re going to get populism.
“You’re likely to get sub-optimal outcomes, because people are trying to position. They’re not trying to pass the best legislation. They’re trying to pass legislation that will help them win.”