LETTER: Speculation tax harms those who choose to spend their money in Canada

In connection with the opinion piece of Jan. 25, I must provide a counter comment. While I understand the reasons for this tax, it is catching a wide range of individuals to which it will unfairly apply, of which I am one.

Without question, the Vancouver and possibly Victoria real estate market has been distorted by off shore money from questionable sources including money laundering and speculators who do not care to use the property, only hold it for a profit.

RELATED: Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

However, I am sure there are others like myself who do not fit this description. I am a 73 year old senior who purchased a modest older condo in September 2017 (prior to the tax announcement) for the purpose of spending 4 to 6 months annually to escape Ottawa winters, and to be closer to my daughter who has lived in Victoria since 2004.

I am far from being the millionaire investor alluded to. I served 38 years in the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence and paid Canadian taxes all my life. I lived within my means and put money aside for my retirement to the extent that I could afford a place to spend the winters. I am not some off shore investor with no ties to B.C. Both my parents are buried in Courtenay and my sister lives there.

RELATED: Langford mayor says City threatened during meeting over speculation tax

The imposition of the tax, and if made worse by a municipal vacancy tax, makes it impossible for a person on a fixed income to consider to have a vacation home here. I consciously chose to winter in Canada as opposed to buying a condo in Arizona or Florida as so many others have done, primarily in order to spend my dollars in Canada. That appears to have been a foolish decision.

It is not easy to calculate an exact value that I bring to the region. I spend money at restaurants and golf courses, I pay PST on purchases, and local tradesmen have profited from my renovations. I probably spend more money locally during the winter months that the residents who head south to Arizona or California.

RELATED: LETTER: Speculation tax gives Tom Fletcher a chance to gripe

This tax fails the fairness test. I am not eligible for the $845 BC Homeowners Grant, and so already pay three times what my neighbours pay in property taxes. With the imposition of the speculation tax, I will be paying almost 10 times as much or 1000 per cent more. In effect, I am already subsidizing locals by paying more but using less than 12 months per year of services. My load on social services and benefits is minimal, benefits available to B.C. residences, such as free ferry travel do not apply, any medical expenses are covered by the Ontario taxpayer, I have no children in the school system, etc.

RELATED: Victoria city council seeks authority to tax empty homes

What bothers me most about the article and political discourse from the likes of Mayor Helps and Councillor Isitt is the general tone implying that as the owner of a vacant property I am somehow a parasite on society that must be punished. Just look at the words used: “[take a] boarded up building that is a blight … and tax it back into productive use,” “[there will be] some willing to invest millions,” “speculators will always be able to line their pockets at a community’s expense”. No doubt that description applies to some circumstances and individuals; however, that does not apply to a great many typical hard working out of province Canadian pensioners who have been tarred with the same brush and are unable to fight back. My property is not vacant. It is furnished and lived in albeit not 12 months of the year.

W.L. Macmillan

Saanich

Just Posted

Canadian Coast Guard breaks ground on permanent search and rescue station in Victoria

Victoria-based SAR will do all rescues in local harbour and parts of the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Police actions under investigation following Langford arrest

IIO investigates officer-related incidents that result in serious harm

Victoria woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

Victoria council looks to self-impose carbon tax on staff airfare

A new carbon pricing fee would put additional funds into the city’s Climate Action Reserve

Gas stations could push to 167.9 cents a litre this week

Analyst says high prices are due to supply and demand

WATCH: Cougar saunters through Metchosin yard

Spring cougar sighting caught on camera

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Island Cup set for East Sooke on May 3-5

Off-road racing event expected to attract over 50 racers

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read