Business groups will always carp about “overspending,” but in British Columbia the decline in public spending has been huge hit to ordinary people. The province should use its vast economic capacity to invest in making workers’ lives better.
Alex Hemingway is an economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The housing crisis will never end without levying forceful taxes against real estate speculators and investors. A recent report outlines the necessary actions to impose taxes that can actually narrow the wealth gap and alleviate the housing emergency.
If handled correctly, British Columbia’s new Housing Supply Act can ease municipal roadblocks to adequate housing. In tandem with an increase in nonmarket housing, such legislation has the potential to help stave off the housing crisis.
A Canadian wealth tax could raise funds sufficient for universal public pharmacare, free tuition for postsecondary education, 100,000 nonmarket affordable homes per year, and a major increase in public transit investment. The country needs a wealth tax now.
The persistent shortage of homes is a key driver of the housing crisis. The solution is social housing, but to halt the churn of displacement in the short term, we simply need to build more homes.
Public investment in below-market rental housing could leverage private-sector development to secure housing for all. This idea is being floated to address British Columbia’s housing crisis — and should be taken up everywhere.
Before the anti-labor onslaught of the 1980s, union recognition in Canada was straightforward and democratic — all it took was a workplace majority to sign authorization cards. Now, decades later, workers in BC have won back this fundamental right.
To combat extreme inequality, a housing crisis, and crumbling infrastructure, we must tax the rich. A wealth tax could raise hundreds of billions to rebuild the welfare state, but none of Canada’s major parties are proposing tax hikes that go far enough.
Like their counterparts everywhere, Canada’s superrich cream off wealth from the working class while resisting paying taxes. In the age of COVID-19, this state of affairs is more obscene — and more unpopular — than ever. It’s time to tax Canada’s rich.