, ,

The well-connected and prolific Gary Mason wonders in the Globe and Mail just why in heaven we are paying any attention to the howling from those who’ve won Vancouver’s home lottery.

Sarcasm drips from the page, as he calls them “. . . these poor, poor multi-millionaires“.

People sitting on massive, sweat-free and tax-free capital gains don’t seem to merit a whole lot of compassion and sympathy. They’re certainly getting all the coverage.

But is it the coverage they really want? 

So yeah, they have to pay a new surtax. I get that nobody likes new taxes.

However, in comparison, I look at those hurting from the housing affordability crisis — and my sympathies are immediately engaged. When contrasting the few wealthy homeowners with the hardworking, struggling — and anxious — young people I hang around with on occasion, I too wonder about our priorities and our hearts.

Mr. Mason doesn’t say it directly, but it seems that much of his thinking and subsequent anger is directed towards our media.

Housing issues, for all their actual complexities, seems to boil down to a quick, lazy shot of a protest placard and some angry faces. The situation cries out for more perspective than that; there are real people, lots of them, feeling real pain. Whereas the phony pain — the rage and entitlement — is hard to condone.

But at present, we have only Mr. Mason as perspective’s voluble champion.

Another week, another protest rally held by multimillionaires on the west side of Vancouver who are upset they are going to have to pay a 0.2-per-cent property surtax on that portion of their home assessed at over $3-million.

For many, it may cost a whole $1,500. I’m sure some of you reading this are now shaking in rage, too. Not in sympathy, but in anger at their pettiness. Even with the small increase, these outraged residents will be paying far less in property taxes than homeowners in major cities across the country. . .

Benjamin Tal, an economist at CIBC, sounded the alarm a couple of years ago when it comes to the retirement prospects for millennials. He said, given the trend toward lower savings rates and reduced private pension coverage, they face as much as a 30 per cent drop in their standard of living upon retirement.

But, hey, let’s not worry about them. They’ll figure it out, I’m sure. Let’s turn our attention to the homeowners in Vancouver whose $3-million-plus abodes face a minor tax hike. Although they can defer it until after they sell, many don’t want to. So, let’s everyone get together and figure out how we can help these poor, poor multimillionaires.

Here’s the fallout that has descended on Mr. Mason, and his bemused reaction.

Perhaps things will change as the October 20th civic election rolls into the battle-of-the-issues phase in Vancouver (and many other municipalities experiencing conflict), and we see just how the champions of density and rezoning are received by the voting public.