David Eby's June 2018 Housing Townhall

I attended David Eby's town hall on housing at the Hellenic Centre in Arbutus Ridge on Monday night. I was there with fellow OneCity Council Candidate aspirants, Christine Boyle and Brandon Yan to hear from David and his panel and the residents of his riding of Vancouver-Point Grey.

David and the speakers were articulate and informative when they spoke about their work and personal experiences in relation to Vancouver's housing crisis. The takeaway is that more can and should be done to address the growing unfairness and inequality when it comes to access to housing.

The people in attendance had an opportunity to ask a question to the panel or to share their thoughts and opinion on any housing related topic.

Inevitably, the speakers on the floor brought up their opinions on the school tax. Based on the crowd reactions and applause, from where I was sitting, there seemed to be support for both sides of the argument. However, what was jarring to witness was the privilege on display for those opposed to the school tax.

Recurring themes revolved around how hard they worked to get what they have and insinuating that only those who have worked as hard as they have would understand why this tax is an affront to their accomplishments. If owning a home and seeing its value reach stratospheric heights simply because of luck is an accomplishment, then I should count my collection of old Superman comic books as an accomplishment on my resume.

What's more disturbing were the raucous cheers when one of the speakers described the housing tax as "worse than a prison sentence for murder."

Despite the toxicity and vitriol levied towards David and members of the panel that spoke in support of the tax, there were plenty in attendance that spoke up in favor of the tax. There was much applause when they spoke of their values around fairness and the need for perspective around what this tax can accomplish. Those people give me hope.


If you haven't seen it yet, here's a compelling read on why the school tax is efficient and fair: http://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/opinion-school-tax-is-efficient-and-fair

RJ AquinoComment