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I’ve been asked for my perspective on this Joanna Chiu op-ed on a few occasions now, so I’ll share my own thread here with some thoughts. Firstly, the racism in #vanre discussions is real and I encounter it regularly on social media and to some extent day-to-day.
The problem is hugely complex and to distill it down to “zoning” is akin to trying to watch a 3D IMAX movie on an an old black and white cathode ray tube TV. Zoning alone isn’t the problem (and in fact, is also part of the solution) 2/
In Vancouver, what sets it apart, and what has been documented time and again by journalists like
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604
and others is that a massive, difficult to measure flow of global wealth finds itself into the #vanre market 3/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 Vancouver attracts wealthy Chinese investors, London attracts wealthy Russians. Some of them have earned that wealth legitimately, some have not. In all cases though, locals are rapidly seeing themselves displaced from the cities they called home in less than a generation. 4/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 All of this has driven -ve sentiment against these groups, with Chinese-Canadians like myself - caught in the middle between a Canadian upbringing, a local income and an ethnically Chinese appearance. This, was one of the biggest reasons I felt it was important to speak out 5/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 It was important for people to be able to disambiguate the differences between the colour of the money and the colour of the skin of the people buying up all of #vanre making it impossible for young ppl to find affordable homes. 5/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 I share so much of what Joanna experiences, the despair of not being “good enough” to own a decent home that my parents would be proud of and that I could be proud of, the casual and not-so-casual racism, the stares. 6/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 I share the same Hong Kong immigrant roots. We share the same values, grew up in the 90’s having the same bad perms and big nerdy glasses. But more than anything, I share that feeling of never being good enough for them. And not owning a house, that was at the core of it. 7/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 But I do disagree with parts of her point of view. She talks about the Korean astronaut wife who is here trying to raise her kids here. It’s not an easy life to spend that time away from your family and your significant other. This is a not uncommon Canadian immigrant story. 7/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 But I do disagree with parts of her point of view. She talks about the Korean astronaut wife who is here trying to raise her kids here. It’s not an easy life to spend that time away from your family and your significant other. This is a not uncommon Canadian immigrant story. 8/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 That said, if you have a family here, w/ significant ties to Canada, your kids going to a 🇨🇦 school, getting free 🇨🇦 Medicare, enjoying all the benefits of being in 🇨🇦 , then you need to be paying your fair share of Canadian taxes. No ifs ands or buts about it. #vanre 9/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 There are 4th and 5th generation Chinese-Canadians in the #vanre discussion whose ancestors paid the Head Tax, built the railroads and served as proud Canadians in WW2. They are disgusted with the abject greed and how this city is turning into a resort town for global elites 10/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 Their grandparents didn't die in war for this Canada. They are disgusted by this whole sordid state of affairs. They are fed up w/ apologists who say things like "Oh, I guess you must be the 'good Chinese', not like the bad Chinese coming here, right? " 11/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 That's supposed to be somehow disarming. That we must be tools of western media to reinforce a narrative against a yellow peril. No, there are legitimately wealthy Chinese immigrants who come here, take advantage of our social services, lax enforcements of laws and taxes 12/
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 When you play the "good Chinese", "bad Chinese" card, you are giving these people carte blanche to do whatever the hell you want. The right thing to do is to call out all the bullshit that is ruining this city, irrespective of race. And I think @HALT_YVR has been doing that.
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR They're laughing. We should not have hoods where multimillion dollar homeowners are declaring poverty level incomes and taking advantage of our social services. This is what is fueling much of the racism in this city.…
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR You can follow @FIVRE604 and view all day long the offshore sales offices in HK/Singapore/Shanghai/etc. where all this dreadfully needed housing supply to solve our housing crisis is being sold at prices well above what any of us could afford. #vanre
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 Just take a look around a Westbank sales office to see that they stopped building homes for average working class local citizens yrs ago. We shouldn’t be mad at the Chinese investors who are buying up #vanre. They're just here trying to seek a better life like our ancestors did.
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 Wanna be mad? Be mad at the greedy condo developers & corrupt incompetent govt leaders who allowed it to come to this when folks like @Ayan604 have been sounding the alarm for the better part of a decade. News flash: the ones who profited the most off this were mostly white men.
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 So, you’ll have to excuse me when I laugh at the ridiculousness that this can all be solved by eliminating “zoning”. Especially when it's spewed by a so-called activist/expert who had no qualms about taking Gillespie's money. #vanre
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 Zoning is a tool and it can help if we use it to create rental only zoning, it can help if we create housing co-ops and community land trusts where upzoning can occur. It can help if we have a massive land value tax that helps deliver huge amounts of missing social housing.
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 But it won’t help so long as we keep turning to the sham that is public-private partnerships with the Ian Gillespies and Ryan Beedies of the world who will only offer up the bare minimum social housing in exchange for very lucrative rezoning. #vanre
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 I offer all this up as a guy with an interest in the #vanre housing market. The journey has taken me to so many places and allowed me to meet so many great friends along the way. I reluctantly accept the “activist” label. I don’t think I deserve it.
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 But I would never label myself an expert nor would I want anyone to label me that. It detracts from the incredible work of real experts who dedicate their lives to it. Folks like @Ayan604 @Hulchanski @davidjmadden, Ley, Gordon and yes, even @TomDavidoff
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 But I would never label myself a housing expert nor would I want anyone to label me that. It detracts from the incredible work of real experts who dedicate their lives to the craft. Folks like @Ayan604 @Hulchanski @davidjmadden, Ley, Gordon and yes, even @TomDavidoff
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 @Hulchanski @davidjmadden @TomDavidoff On the housing justice front, so many folks I’d consider experts: @JeanSwanson_, Wendy Pederson, Judy Graves, the late Tom Durning, and so many of the tenant organizers who have spent countless hours fighting for tenant rights.
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 @Hulchanski @davidjmadden @TomDavidoff @JeanSwanson_ "Expert" is a term I'd use to describe someone who has put in the the hard work, the countless hours in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. It shouldn't be bestowed upon someone who has attended a couple public hearings and read a book on the death of the detached house.
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 @Hulchanski @davidjmadden @TomDavidoff @JeanSwanson_ I will try to wrap up my thread, but I will offer up one additional insight into the racism in #vanre. It isn't just racism thrown at Chinese people. It flows both ways. Increasingly, our society is becoming fractured. Multiculturalism, it seems, is failing.
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 @Hulchanski @davidjmadden @TomDavidoff @JeanSwanson_ Businesses that operate exclusively over Chinese social media platforms like WeChat, that refuse to serve non-Chinese customers, and that only accept payment via Alipay / WeChat Pay are driving that divide.…
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 @Hulchanski @davidjmadden @TomDavidoff @JeanSwanson_ Our former Lieutenant-Governor David Lam once told a gathering of Chinese-Canadian business people that immigration to Canada is like being invited to a potluck dinner.
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 @Hulchanski @davidjmadden @TomDavidoff @JeanSwanson_ "If everyone who comes brings his favourite dish using the best of recipes, we have a feast," he said. "But even if somebody is new and doesn't know how to cope, he shouldn't bring leftovers. ...
@ianjamesyoung70 @KathyTGlobe @Goldiein604 @HALT_YVR @FIVRE604 @Ayan604 @Hulchanski @davidjmadden @TomDavidoff @JeanSwanson_ ... You can always come without a gift -- but wash the dishes afterwards, offering your skills and services."

David Lam was a brilliant man and I'm proud that my parents had taken his advice and enjoyed many wonderful potlucks.
Tagging on another excellent thread to follow from the alway-insightful @ianjamesyoung70 #vanre #cdnpoli
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