VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There is strong reaction today following controversial comments made by BC’s housing minister.
In case you missed it, Rich Coleman had a questionable response when asked about criticism suggesting the provincial government isn’t doing enough about affordable housing.
“I guess some people just have to get up and whine every day. You just have to look at the glass as half-full, not half-empty right? We’re getting there. There are over 2,000 units being built in the City [of Vancouver] in the last five or seven years,” he said yesterday.
What he said isn’t sitting well with everyone, from potential homeowners to the Official Opposition.
NDP Housing Critic David Eby feels Coleman’s comments are simply out of touch and show the Liberals don’t understand how difficult it is to buy a home here.
“Keep in mind, this is the same housing minister who just last year said that house prices in Vancouver were ‘actually pretty affordable.’ And that was just days after a report finding Vancouver to be the least affordable city in entire world,” says Eby.
“[Coleman’s] response that he believes that people who are concerned about affordability are whiners is entirely in character and actually totally explains why this government has refused to take action on the issue.”
Eby is promising to make this a sticking point as we gear up for the next provincial election less than a year from now.
“The disconnect in this government when I’m talking to the finance minister, the housing minister or the premier about housing issues and time and time again… They say there’s no issue and they’re not concerned about it. And if they are concerned they just want to study it for another year before taking any action. At its root, they simply believe people trying to get into the housing market in Metro Vancouver are whiners.”
He admits the disconnect applies to most politicians in Victoria — including himself — who earn a wage above the average in Metro Vancouver.
“We have a guaranteed pension. In addition, there are housing allowances in Victoria. And when you look at the property holdings of the Cabinet, for example, they are fairly significant — including the housing minister.”
Eby believes the unaffordable housing market is going to be one of, if not the biggest issue in next May’s election.
“It’s one thing not to sympathize with the people you’re supposed to serve, but to blatantly spit in our faces” and “what a condescending ignorant comment from a paid public servant.”