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On Pokemon Madness, Bad Feng Shui & Playing The ‘Race Card’ Card


by Sean Orr | Game of Homes: Bank of Canada holds rates to tame ‘fire-breathing’ Vancouver housing market. Oh, all of a sudden the Bank of Canada is concerned about the Mother of Dragons? She’s been amassing an army of freed slaves and Dothraki hordes for, like, years. Oh shit, did I just compare foreign investors to Dothraki hordes? Oops.

This month, the country’s top financial services regulator spelled out tighter guidelines for mortgage underwriters. It said as risks intensify because of low interest rates, high levels of household debt and rapid increases in housing prices — particularly in Toronto and Vancouver — there is a need to look more closely at a range of factors, including how incomes are verified.

So…wait, they are just now deciding they should verify peoples’ incomes before giving them a fucking mortgage? Holy…

The smoking gun in a room full of smoking guns: Leak reveals secret tax crackdown on foreign-money real estate deals in Vancouver.

Presentation notes for the seminar, delivered to auditors on June 2 and leaked to the South China Morning Post, show that only one successful audit of worldwide income was conducted in British Columbia in the past year, in spite of Vancouver’s reputation as a hotspot for immigrant “astronaut families” whose breadwinners often work in mainland China and Hong Kong.

One. And guess why? Go on guess.

The source suggested CRA bureaucrats previously feared being labelled racist if they targeted low-income declarers buying real estate “because the vast majority of these cases, involving high real estate values, involve mainland Chinese”.

But…I mean…you can’t really blame them when one of the reasons for immediately reselling/flipping a house is a “bad Feng Shui report”. Yeah, I wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole either.

Sadiq Khan probably would though: Sadiq Khan condemns foreign investors’ use of London homes as ‘gold bricks’.

The two examples above show that this is not about race, it’s about public policy. And it’s the failure of that public policy that has fuelled the xenophobia now rampant in the comment section of every one of the 1,237 recent articles about the ludicrous state of housing in Vancouver.

That doesn’t mean we can’t have a discussion about race or the role race plays in housing, but I wouldn’t lend credence to online comments, even though Donald Trump is basically what would happen if a comments section ran for office.

That being said, history shows racism has always been a part of Vancouver real estate. But so has speculation, and that’s what we’re talking about.

While it would be tempting to say McMartin, Rennie, Robertson, Vince Wong et al are using the race card to stifle debate, that too is misguided: Stop Playing the ‘Race Card’ Card. But also stop playing the “‘race card’ card” card.

The year is 2040 and Vancouver’s houses are worth $80-million. This would be kind of funny if the girl at the bar didn’t start a conversation with me by saying “did you hear that in 2040 they estimate Vancouver’s will be worth $80-million?”

Meanwhile, Steve Burgess suggests we all buy helicopters:

Once you have your helicopter, you can commute from almost anywhere. You can get a roomy house in Hope for about $300,000. Throw in 50 grand for the helicopter — hell, splurge and spend $150,000 for leather seats and a fancy paint job — and you are still way ahead of the game.

For the rest of us, there’s always RV Alley: How this Vancouver musician lives on $1,000 a month, sort of.

And squats: Burnaby apartment occupiers holding firm, willing to risk arrest.

And maybe a new augmented reality game called Pokemon Rent. Expect similar stampedes whenever a Bacheloreon is spawned: ‘In a zombie-like state’: Vancouver police issue warning over Pokemon Go.

I wonder if there are similar patterns in the DTES: Why do Pokemon avoid black neighborhoods?

Black Lives Matter Vancouver wants police float out of Pride parade. ‘But…but… the VPD is so diverse! The VPD isn’t the Baton Rouge Police Department’! Yeah and Stonewall wasn’t in Vancouver either. Does nobody understand the importance of solidarity? Doesn’t anybody understand that the burden will always be on the police to improve relations with those they police?

Related: Savor The Moment The Canadian Anthem Singers Realized Their Buddy Had Gone Rogue. “This is a person who probably means well but is unfortunately very stupid”.

Speaking of stupidity, Postmedia with the headline of the day:

Good news of the day: Toronto city councillors vote in favour of safe injection sites.

Lamestreamers of the day: Taco Fest comes to Burnaby. It seems a bunch of people didn’t bother to read the poster and went to a music festival called Tacofest and expected a latin-themed foodie fest. Personally I was upset because I was expecting the colloquial definition of taco fest to apply.

Gram of the day:

Welcome to Vancouver

A photo posted by Shawn Bristow (@gronkatola) on

Bonus: The dictator, the doughnut king and a shop called Duffin’s.

There is 1 comment

  1. “It seems a bunch of people didn’t bother to read the poster and went to a music festival called Tacofest and expected a latin-themed foodie fest.”

    They went to an event called taco fest and expected it t be foodie-themed? Weird.

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Sean Orr is back from his hiatus with a rundown of the local headlines that have been running on a ticker tape through his mind over the past six months...

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