Around 250 to 300 people showed up at a property-tax protest this evening in Vancouver.
They gathered in Trimble Park in Point Grey to call on their MLA, Attorney General David Eby, to repeal a new levy on homes valued at more than $3 million.
The NDP government has called this a school tax, but a pamphlet handed out at the rally said it is not really about schools.
In fact, the pamphlet claimed, it's "nothing more than an expropriation of a homeowner's assets to fund the NDP's excessive and irresponsible spending".
The demonstration was hastily arranged after Eby cancelled a planned town-hall meeting this evening out of concerns that property-tax protesters would disrupt the proceedings.
B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson has accused Eby of refusing to meet with his constituents, urging him to arrange for a larger room to do this.
In the meantime, one of the speakers at today's protest, Kim Spencer, held a megaphone and declared that Eby is "not progressive", but rather is a "socialist".
"Socialists are about reorganizing the pie, not making it bigger," Spencer said. "They want to take from some people and give it to other people."
Spencer works in the real-estate industry and chairs the B.C. regional section of the Rolls-Royce Owners' Club.
At the rally, he revealed that he has a rental property with three long-term tenants who "pay reasonable rents".
"I now have a $4,000 tax increase," Spencer noted. "I can't pass that tax onto them, nor would I want to.
"If I sell the property, it will be torn down," he continued. "The tenants will be out on the street and there will be $3-million condos in its place. It makes absolutely no sense at all. The house will be in the landfill. This wrong, Mr. Eby. Others have said this is class warfare. Shame on you and your socialist pals."
Another speaker, who only identified himself as "Edward", accused the NDP government of playing a game of "conquer and divide". Even if the party loses a couple of seats in Vancouver, he suggested that it feels it could win in other areas.
He advised that the best way to counter this was by talking about the surtax to people across the province.
"It just seems a lot of the lessons of socialism have been lost, particularly on the younger generation," he said.
Then he pointed out that the chief of staff in the government (actually the premier's chief of staff, Geoff Meggs), "is a former Communist".
That drew gasps from some at the protest.
After Edward finished, a woman took the megaphone to shout out that that murderers are eligible for parole after 25 years. Then she described the NDP government's property surtax as a "life sentence", leaving the impression that it's an even worse fate.
"Repeal this tax now, Eby," she yelled to loud applause.
Another speaker was former Conservative MP Wai Young, who set up a website earlier this year suggesting she's running for mayor of Vancouver. It's since "There is no transparency in this government," Young said. "This is not what they were elected to do—and they sprung this on us without any collaboration, without any consultation, without telling us what we were voting for."
She stated that if people voted NDP in the last provincial election, they were "duped".
"We're really upset about this because for over 10 years, our property taxes have increased by 50 percent," Young said.
The tax is expected to generate about $200 million in revenue each year for the B.C. government.More