Wilkinson under fire for appearing out of touch amid B.C.’s rental crisis

The Opposition leader recounted his time as a renter while critizing the NDP’s rental protections

BC Liberal Opposition leader Andrew Wilkinson is under fire for remarks he made about the province’s rental crisis.

On Wednesday at the legislature, Wilkinson lamented how the NDP’s policies on rental protection dissuades people from becoming landlords, using his own experience to question the need for legislation that protects renters from rate hikes and instability.

He described his 15 years as a young renter in B.C. as a “fact of life that’s a rite of passage.

“I lived in a dozen different rentals. It was challenging at times, but it was fun,” said Wilkinson, who’s in his 60s. “It was part of growing up and getting better. We’ve all done it. It’s kind of a wacky time of life, but it can be really enjoyable.”

READ MORE: Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna home to Canada’s most expensive rentals: report

READ MORE: Almost half of B.C. renters spend more than 30% of income on housing

He went on to say that Premier John Horgan and his government have tried “to pander to renters” with their unfulfilled election promise of a $400 renters’ rebate.

“Nothing has been done. They’ve put all kinds of restricted caps on the behaviour of landlords around changing rents, long-term leases and renovation of apartments. The net effect is that people are getting out of the landlord market. Why would you go and take that on?”

READ MORE: Young professionals leaving Vancouver over high cost of housing

READ MORE: B.C. to partner with cities, churches to build new affordable housing

The NDP were quick to criticize Wilkinson, who has served as MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena since 2013.

In the past, Wilkinson has spoken about how the unattainable housing market in B.C. likely means his children will have to move away as they grow up – making headlines in October after becoming emotional while talking to members of the Surrey Board of Trade.

Since taking office, the Horgan government has implemented a 30-point housing plan in part to combat the 1.4 per cent average rental vacancy rate in the province. In September, they reversed their prior decision of allowing landlords to increase rent by 4.5 per cent, instead capping it to the rate of inflation, or 2.5 per cent.

READ MORE: Renters struggle to find homes as prices climb, availability declines

READ MORE: Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, who heads the government’s rental housing task force, fired back at Wilkinson in a news release, questioning his understanding of the challenges B.C. residents face.

“Renting is not just a wacky and fun phase for most people, especially after the BC Liberals let the cost of home ownership skyrocket for years,” Chandra Herbert said. “Now, Andrew Wilkinson is proposing to increase rents further, making life even harder and more expensive for renters.”

READ MORE: Most people in B.C. say landlords should be able to reject tenants with pets: poll

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cans and bottles destined for Cops for Cancer fundraiser stolen from Sooke RCMP Detachment

Cans and bottles collected to raise funds for Canadian Cancer Society

Victoria Fire Department raises $93,000 for Ride to Conquer Cancer

A total 18 firefighters took part in the 200 km ride last month

PHOTOS: The King of Rock and Roll runs the 25th Annual King and Queen of the Hill Race

Lambrick Park Secondary students, staff, alumni take on Mount Douglas

Colwood taking steps to improve intersection safety after two motor vehicle incidents in one week

Pedestrian and cyclist struck in two separate incidents at Sooke and Metchosin Roads

Esquimalt café cooks up connections for all abilities

A Kinder Cup focuses on positivity, inclusivity and connection

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

All parties expected to be back on the campaign trail Sunday

Most Read