(1) 250.472.8528
andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca

Media Release

Climate Action Announcement Definitely Not Leadership

Media Statement – August 19, 2016
Climate Action Announcement Definitely Not Leadership
For immediate release

Victoria B.C. – Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head and leader of the B.C. Green Party calls the B.C. Government Climate Action announcement disappointing and lacking leadership.

“Not only has the Clark government dismantled many of the existing climate policies, but they are also ignoring key recommendations from their own expert panel on what needs to happen for B.C. to once again become a climate leader.

“For the past few years it has become painfully clear that the B.C. Liberals have chosen to forgo any leadership on this file, instead choosing to chase the LNG pipedream.

“As we go into another year with temperature records again being smashed across the world and in B.C., this government is content to fiddle and play games with carbon accounting. Without increasing the carbon levy there is no hope that British Columbia will meet its GHG reduction targets.

“For fifteenth consecutive month in a row, July 2016 emerged as the warmest month since measurements have been collected. Average global temperatures for the year-to-date period January-July 2016 shattered the previous record set in 2015. The government’s plan doesn’t demonstrate leadership. It demonstrates complacency and a wilful disregard of the urgency of dealing with climate change.

“British Columbia has an opportunity to become a leader in this world, establishing a 21st century economy built on innovation and clean technology. This goal cannot be realized with the current administration’s directionless approach to governance.

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Backgrounder – Changes since Christy Clark became Premier

Under Premier Gordon Campbell, British Columbia emerged as an international leader in climate policy. But since Christy Clark has taken over at the helm, we’ve move from being a leader to becoming a laggard. The legacy of Premier Clark’s so-called climate leadership to date is as follows:

  1. The Clean Energy Act was amended to exclude emissions for liquefaction in LNG industry;
  2. The Pacific Carbon Trust was shut down;
  3. Carbon tax increase were halted;
  4. Cap and Trade enabling legislation (designed to bring big point source emitters in with California) has been repealed;
  5. We have a new Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act that introduces an “emissions intensity” framework that is more about supporting an LNG industry than limiting emissions;
  6. The LiveSmart BC program has essentially shut down;
  7. Emissions have gone up year after year;
  8. We will not reach our legislated 2020 GHG reduction target.

Media contact
Mat Wright – Press Secretary, Andrew Weaver MLA
1 250 216 3382
mat.wright@leg.bc.ca

Responding to Housing Bill

Media Statement: July 25th, 2016
Weaver Responds to Housing Bill
For Immediate Release

Victoria B.C. – “Despite legislation tabled today by the BC Liberals, there is still no comprehensive plan when it comes to the affordability crisis facing British Columbians,” said Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head. “We need the government to come to the table with practical and province-wide solutions, rather than their six talking points.”

The legislation tabled today gives Vancouver the ability to introduce a vacancy tax. However, no other communities in the Province have been granted such powers.

“This piecemeal approach to the affordability crisis is simply pitting one jurisdiction against another. It makes no sense at all for one side of Boundary Road in Vancouver to potentially have a vacancy tax applied, while a vacancy tax cannot be applied on the other side of the street.

“Any attempt to solve the affordability crisis facing British Columbians needs to start with honestly recognizing the scale of the problem. For many, we are long past the threshold of affordability. This crisis is beginning to reverberate throughout B.C. as people get squeezed out of their communities and are forced to move.

“Skyrocketing real estate markets across the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island are dragging the rental market with them. Given the severity and reach of the housing crisis, a reactive piecemeal policy approach amounts to little more than blowing out birthday candles in the midst of a house fire.

“The legislation introduced today closes the bare trust loophole for offshore buyers that I have been attempting to get government to address for a number of years now. However, once more this is only being applied to the Vancouver market. All this will accomplish is to push foreign investment into neighbouring jurisdictions, furthering the affordability crisis in areas such as southern Vancouver Island.

“What is needed is a province-wide, coordinated approach involving all levels of government and across all communities. We need to ensure that our communities will be livable, that small businesses will thrive, and that the next generation will see opportunities to start families in our cities.

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Media Contact:
Mat Wright – Press Secretary, Andrew Weaver MLA
1 250 216 3382
mat.wright@leg.bc.ca

Government’s release of housing data nothing more than a photo op

Media Statement: July 7th, 2016
Weaver Criticizes Government’s Laughably Incomplete Housing Data
For Immediate Release

Victoria B.C. – “The BC Government has already allowed the housing market to become a crisis, and now they are sitting on their powder keg holding press conferences based on 19 days worth of data,” said Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head and Leader of the B.C. Green Party. “They have dropped the ball on this file — completely dropped the ball.”

“19 days worth of data is completely meaningless. This would be like me arguing that since the Canucks didn’t play any games between June 10 and the 29th, Vancouver doesn’t have a hockey team. It’s just laughable.

“Despite promises made in the 2016 budget, the government has failed to deliver any data on the occurrence and impact of beneficial ownership changes in bare trust owned properties. I have been asking for the data for three years now.

“When properties are registered in bare trusts and beneficial ownership is flipped there is no change in title at the Land Title Office. When there is no change of title there is no property transfer tax paid and no data collected by the BC government.

“The minister said our province has seen higher rates of house flipping in the past, but that data is based on registered sales only. There are a lot of houses out there that are flipping through changes in beneficial ownership, and those people are not paying property transfer tax.”

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Media contact:

Mat Wright
Press Secretary – Andrew Weaver MLA
Email: Mat.wright@leg.bc.ca
Cell: 250 216 3382
Twitter: @MatVic

Backgrounder

At present, anyone other than a first-time or new-home (< $750,000) buyer who buys a house must pay property transfer tax upon transfer of title at the Land Title Office. The tax owed is calculated as 1% of the first $200,000, 2% on the amount greater than $200,000 and less than $2,000,000 and 3% on the portion above $2,000,000.

But there is a glaring loophole that is being exploited more and more frequently by wealthy individuals and corporations. That loophole involves having the property held in what is known as a “bare trust”.

A bare trust is a legal entity that allows for the separation of beneficial and legal ownership. The beneficial owner of a property is the person or persons who make all the decisions concerning such things as rent, repairs, management, sale etc.; they are also the person or persons who receive all the revenue from and arrange financing for the property. The trustee of the bare trust has no substantive decision-making capacity as they simply act upon the instructions of the beneficial owner. Typically the trustee is a corporation that has no other purpose but to act as a trustee for the bare trust and for which the beneficial owner owns all the shares.

Suppose you own a $10,000,000 home that you want to dispose of. If you simply transferred title, like most of us do when we sell a home, the purchaser would have to pay $278,000 in property transfer tax.

But if instead the property is in a bare trust where the trustee is a company, then you will pay no tax. All you have to do is sell your shares in the company for 1$ (the company has no assets anyway), and sell the “beneficial ownership” rights of the property to a third party via a “bare trust agreement” which is not registered at the Land Title Office.  Since no change in title occurs, no tax is paid.

Ontario has a similar property transfer tax system in place but they have plugged the loophole. They apply the property transfer tax upon change in beneficial ownership, not just change in the title registered as the Land Title Office. This could and should be done in British Columbia to ensure everyone is treated fairly.

Responding to government inaction on campsite booking system

Media Statement: July 5th, 2016
Weaver responds to government inaction on campsite booking system
For immediate release

Victoria B.C. – Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head, today responded to the provincial government’s encouragement of a campground booking system that excludes British Columbians from accessing public campgrounds and allows private for-profit companies to compete with B.C. families.
“In a new practice welcomed by the B.C. Liberals, B.C. residents are being told they have to pay more to compete with companies who book provincial campsites in bulk and resell them at double the price,” says Andrew Weaver.

“It seems like the B.C. government has lost sight of the public purpose of our parks and campgrounds. Our provincial campsites are not products to be sold, they belong to the people of B.C.

Government agencies have been entrusted by the public to manage our parks as a collective good so they can be preserved and maintained into the future. Instead they are managing them as if they were a nothing more than a commodity.

The public is the owner, not the customer, and the current system is excluding B.C. families from accessing their parks.

The reservation system should give British Columbians priority, either by allocating enough resident – specific sites to meet local demand or by staggering booking openings so British Columbians have first shot at reserving a spot.”

 
Media contact:
Mat Wright
Press Secretary – Andrew Weaver MLA
Cell: 250 216 3382
Mat.wright@leg.bc.ca
Twitter: @MatVic

Parliament Buildings
Room 027C
Victoria BC V8V 1X4

Responding to Pacific Coast Climate Leadership Action Plan Update

Today, in San Francisco representatives from California, Washington, Oregon, British Columbia signed the already announced Pacific North America Climate Leadership Agreement and Action Plan. The press conference, oozing with self-congratulation and political rhetoric from our Minister of Environment, can be viewed online. Our Minister of Environment’s comments were, in my view, embarrassing. In her remarks the Minister continued to try and take credit for the Campbell administration’s past climate leadership. And the accompanying press release states:

We will build on momentum gained from the Paris agreement by not only continuing to reduce emissions at home, but also by helping other countries transition away from dirty fossil fuels.

For those needing a translation this means “we will continue our desperate attempt to land a hypothetical LNG industry and in so doing ignore the words of more than 90 international scientists who point out that this makes no sense from a greenhouse gas reduction perspective.” Climate policy, of course, gets in the way of the LNG pipedream. And so while California introduces Cap and Trade legislation, BC repeals our legislation. Here’s what climate leadership looks like under Today’s BC Liberals (who are in my humble opinion nothing more than yesterday’s Harper Tories):

  1. The Clean Energy Act was amended to exclude emissions from liquefaction in LNG industry;
  2. The Pacific Carbon Trust shut down;
  3. Carbon tax increase stops;
  4. Cap and Trade enabling legislation (designed to bring big point source emitters in with California) has been repealed;
  5. We have a new Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act that introduces an “emissions intensity” framework straight out of Alberta’s policy;
  6. The LiveSmart BC program has essentially shut down;
  7. Emissions have gone up year after year.

Below is the media statement I released today. The banner above says it all.


Media Statement


Media Statement: June 1st, 2016
Weaver Responds to Pacific Coast Climate Leadership Action Plan Update
For Immediate Release
 
Victoria B.C. – “The B.C. Liberals are in no position to claim climate leadership. While they reaffirmed their commitment to the PCC action plan today, their inaction over the last three years indicates that they clearly do not take the agreement seriously,” Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head and Leader of the B.C. Green Party, said of the 2016 Pacific Coast Climate Leadership Action Plan signing in San Francisco.

The Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) is a partnership between California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, who signed a non-binding climate and energy action plan in 2013. Today’s renewed commitment is said to update their previous agreement with increasingly bold goals that reflect the need for decisive climate action.

“At today’s signing Mary Polak suggested that there are not a lot of places to look to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in B.C. because we already have the lowest rate in the country – she is false on both accounts. 40% of our household GHG emissions come from transportation, a sector with great emission-reducing potential, and Quebec is the province with the lowest per capita emissions in Canada.”

“These are the same talking points we heard in 2013. As other provinces are stepping up and getting more ambitious, the B.C. Liberals seems content to coast as we fall behind. On top of that, if the LNG sector expanded the way the government has promised our GHG emissions would skyrocket and there is no guarantee it would result in reductions anywhere else.”

“Addressing climate changes requires direct action, not more promises and photo ops.”

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Media Contact
Mat Wright
Press Secretary
Email: Mat.wright@leg.bc.ca
Cell: 250 216 3382