Former Vancouver councillor Peter Ladner argues that wealthy Chinese homebuyers are driving Vancouver's real-estate prices to heights unaffordable for regular British Columbians.
"Mainland Chinese immigrants are moving to Metro Vancouver at the rate of 10,000 a year," Ladner said. "These immigrants are in some sense political and economic refugees, securing citizenship in Canada as a backup plan for their children's futures."
Rich Chinese buyers, Ladner suggests, are making a killing. He quotes a realtor's flyer boasting that his average client's equity rose from $150,000 to $4.5 million between 1993 and 2011.
"The result of this frenzy is that Vancouver's housing has priced its average citizens well out of the market," Ladner added.
Cry me a river, and make it the Yangtze. Unless you don't buy Chinese-made products, you've got no grounds for complaint.
British Columbians purchase billions of dollars in goods from China, fuelling the economic boom enriching the people who are buying up Vancouver real estate.
In 2000, B.C. Stats predicted British Columbians' contribution to China's economic expansion.
"As China industrializes, the early indications are that British Columbia will . . . play an important supporting role in the emergence of an Asian economic giant," the agency reported.
Imports to B.C. from China the year that prediction was made stood at $3 billion, according to Statistics Canada. Last year, B.C. imported $8.8 billion in goods from China. Canada as a whole imported $44.5 billion in Chinese products in 2010.
"The top five commodities imported from China in 2010 were electronic computers, telecommunication equipment, games and toys, furniture and fixtures and outerwear," StatsCan's 2010 international trade review says.
China's share of Canada's imports rose to 11 per cent in 2010 from 3.7 per cent in 2001, according to StatsCan.
Why do we buy so many Chinese products? Because they're cheap. Why are they cheap? Because Chinese workers are paid very poorly, often toil in abysmal conditions and sometimes get kicked out of their homes so wealthy industrialists can level them and build more factories. Who benefits from this trade relationship? Why, we British Columbians who save money buying cheap goods, and those Chinese who make money off the cheap production of cheap goods. We get inexpensive sweaters. They get houses in Shaughnessy.
Shop at the dollar store all you want, it ain't gonna get you into West Point Grey.
Ladner is right. He's identified a problem that few will speak about for fear of being labelled as racist. But if you're going to point a finger, make sure you're standing in front of a mirror.
Oh, and about that mirror . . .
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