Finance Minister Carole James introduced a new property surtax on homes valued at more than $3 million.
But at a protest today on the West Side of Vancouver, most of the talk and nearly all the signs focused on the local MLA, Attorney General David Eby.
Carrying placards with messages like "Communist Heartless Eby Must Resign" and "Eby/NDP Tax Will Evict Your Grandma", about 300 demonstrators gathered on the lawn outside the Jericho Hill gym.
Speakers had no shortage of complaints.
One woman objected to being removed from the speakers' list at a town hall because she didn't live in Vancouver–Point Grey. But she noted that the tax doesn't only apply to people in Eby's constituency—it affects residents of other areas of the city.
"It's not about you. It's not about your community. It's not about your home," she said. "It's about David Eby and about his votes. That's disgusting."
Another speaker, Gloria Wang, told the crowd that some people travelled to the rally by bus from Richmond, even though few people in that city are affected by the tax.
She said that while many immigrants from China don't normally attend protests because of language difficulties, they do vote.
Wang, a resident of Vancouver–Point Grey, warned the NDP and Eby that it could suffer political consequences for imposing the surtax.
"As your constituents, we feel it is incumbent on us to warn you: scrap this unfair and ill-advised surtax now," she said. "Otherwise, you will have to leave, not us."
Wang also accused Eby of "Sinophobia" because he once referred to a list of property owners with Chinese surnames in the area as a "red flag". The list was prepared by SFU researcher Andrew Yan, who was investigating property transactions involving people with nonanglicized Chinese names.
But Wang claimed that Eby's alleged efforts to stir up tensions "have been in vain".
"Through my few years of living in my neighborhood, the only thing I have felt and experienced from people who have lived here for generations is friendship, hospitality, and generous help," she said.
The last NDP budget included additional 0.2 percent surtax on the assessed value of residential properties beyond $3 million and up to $4 million.
The tax increases to 0.4 percent above that, which means anyone with a $5-million home would pay an additional $6,000 in provincial property tax.
Others with more expensive homes pay much more.
“It is robbing the elderly," homeowner Ron Pears said. "I am a 74-year-old retiree and have owned my house for over 30 years. With the new tax my total property taxes will be $36,000 a year—an absurd number and something I cannot afford. I have been deferring my taxes for some years and the debt is piling up. I voted for political change, but not this jackbooted attack on my home."
Another homeowner, Sepideh Ziabakhsh, said that for Eby to assume people with homes valued over $3 million are rich is "ludicrous" because it ignores that this is a result of an overinflated housing market.
“The reality is that we live paycheque to paycheque and pay a $5,000 mortgage a month," she said. "When we bought our house 12 years ago for $1.5 million, we needed to do some basic Home Depot kitchen renovations, and had to use our line of credit to pay for the renovation."