VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – BC’s opposition wants an official investigation into whether a major player in the Metro Vancouver real estate market knew about the foreign buyers’ tax weeks before it was announced publicly. The NDP says it is possible Bob Rennie told others or changed what he was doing to make sure his clients were not impacted or even profit from it.
A Globe and Mail piece suggests Rennie told them he knew about the 15 per cent property transfer tax three weeks ago, but thought it would be lower.
Housing Critic David Eby says the housing minister has said on the record he talked with Rennie about the tax, and he’s worried this took place before the public announcement. He says if this is true, it fits the definition of improper conduct. “Somebody making major donations to the government then gets insider information that they can use to make money from. That’s why we take it so seriously and why we believe it needs to be investigated. In parliamentary tradition, finance ministers have had to resign when leaking tax information or budget information before it’s publicly released for the exact reason that people can use this information to profit from it.”
Eby doubts Rennie could’ve guessed the tax was coming. He says most people were incredibly surprised by the announcement.
Eby has written the premier to ask for an investigation. A statement from premier’s office says “Any assertion that Rennie was given advance warning of the tax is completely untrue.” It adds Rennie has said himself in the past he had no prior knowledge.