tonyharris_thumb
tonyharris_thumb This article is more than 3 years old
New

BC Liberal Candidate Quietly Deletes Line From Website Declaring He ‘Enjoys Real Estate Speculation’

The BC Liberals are currently calling for new measures aimed at curbing real estate speculators to be axed

Tony Harris, a luxury real estate developer running for the BC Liberals in an upcoming by-election in Nanaimo, recently scrubbed his website to remove a line in his biography declaring his love for “real estate speculation.”

The BC Liberal candidate may be worried about appearing to have a vested interest in axing the British Columbia’s tax on real estate speculators, considering up until this month, his website included the following line in his online bio:

“Tony enjoys real estate speculation …”

That is until sometime after New Year’s Day, when the reference to his enjoyment of real estate speculation was quietly deleted from the website.

Now it simply reads:

“Tony enjoys real estate …”

TonyHarris.com

A few weeks after Harris secured the BC Liberal nomination in December, the luxury realtor released a video denouncing BC’s “so-called speculation tax,” claiming the measure aimed at keeping housing prices under control actually makes housing “less affordable.” (High-value property prices have actually decreased since the introduction of the speculation tax last year).

At the time, Harris didn’t mention his own passion for real estate speculation, a practice that has significantly contributed to BC’s housing affordability crisis.

And despite Harris’ talk about “affordable” housing, his company is known to build luxury properties priced well beyond the means of the average Nanaimoite.

Tony Harris Developments Inc. boasts upmarket development projects groomed for “resort style living” at an “exclusive address,” with swanky condo units starting at $795,000 – nearly 23% more expensive than the current average house price for a detached home in Nanaimo ($611,000).

Harris’ company’s portfolio also includes extravagant, top-of-the-market mansions, including one currently listed at $3,880,000.

TonyHarris.com

The BC government introduced the Speculation and Vacancy Tax last February to curb wealthy real estate investors whose ownership of vacant properties is believed to have contributed to the province’s skyrocketing housing costs.

According to BC Finance Minister Carole James, the tax, which ranges from a 0.5 to 2% on vacant properties, was designed to encourage owners of second homes in BC’s most expensive real estate markets to either sell or rent out their properties.

“We are supporting businesses who can’t find employees because they can’t afford housing,” James said last year.

Josh Gordon, a professor of social policy at Simon Fraser University, praised the tax for pressing “global elites” to “pay their fair share,” and noted the tax will mean housing prices will “come to more closely reflect local incomes.”

However, the BC Liberals have voiced opposition to the tax since it was introduced.

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson recently railed against the tax in Kelowna – one city where the tax is being implemented – telling the city’s Chamber of Commerce that it’s a “good thing” if property investors want to leave their second homes unoccupied for most of the year.

Interestingly, during the BC Liberal leadership race in 2017 Wilkinson voiced a need for the province to “crack down on speculation,” only to call the government’s speculation tax “terrible” the following year.

Despite the BC Liberals’ opposition, polling suggests that 62% of British Columbians support the speculation tax.

Another poll by the Mustel Group found that 86% of surveyed British Columbians believe speculative buying is “hurting” the province’s real estate market.

Although Harris has never run for office before, his family’s auto sales company made a small donation to the BC Liberals in 2016. Harris also made a personal $1,000 donation to a pro-developer Nanaimo mayoral candidate in 2014.

The by-election, which will be held on January 30th, was called after former NDP MLA Leonard Krog resigned his seat following his election as mayor of Nanaimo.

 

PressProgress is powered by readers. Not by advertisers.

We’re not a corporate media outlet. We’re a small non-profit news organization that produces award-winning journalism with support from our readers.

If you see value in ad-free, non-profit journalism that holds powerful interests accountable, please consider making an investment in our work today.

 

Invest in Our Journalism
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-2022-05-013 News

Doug Ford’s Budget Includes a Hidden $1.3 Billion ‘Decrease’ in Education Funding

Related Stories

New

Ontario PC Candidate David Piccini Endorsed by Instagram Influencer With Ties to Hells Angels, Satan’s Choice

View the post
New

Doug Ford’s Government Gave Oil Company Run by Members of Secretive Religious Sect Millions of Dollars for Face Masks

View the post
New

Ontario PC Candidate Headed Committee That Published Magazine Encouraging Kids to Reject the ‘Homosexual Lifestyle’

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Why do newspapers always have a business section but not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get All Your Canadian Labour News in One Place
Why do newspapers always have a business section but not a labour section? Good news! We’ve launched a newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.