Cynical government messaging

Those who closely follow Canadian federal politics will occasionally see the topic of “civility” arise, typically following an offensive incident in the House of Commons. Rarely discussed, however, is how the government responds to and interacts with citizens impacted by policy decisions. Recently, I’ve noticed a pattern in some government communications that warrants discussion.

On a provincial level, the BC NDP government has recently implemented housing policies designed to discourage short-term rental properties. At the same time, it has levied penalties on owners of secondary residences and occasionally, recreational properties, in certain parts of British Columbia.

When these policies were initially introduced and implemented, the NDP government precisely outlined the areas that would be targeted or exempted from these taxation policies. However, they have recently extended the targeted areas to include regions like Penticton, despite earlier assurances that they would not.

In this week’s report, I aim to shed light on an issue unrelated to provincial housing policies. Some citizens have followed all the rules and purchased properties in areas not initially under NDP housing restrictions. Unfortunately, these individuals now risk their life savings with limited recourse options. They may have to endure significant financial loss in a phase of life when financial recovery is particularly challenging.

If an Opposition MLA were to ask about this situation during the BC Legislature question period, the NDP Government would likely accuse them of “standing with greedy investors and speculators,” and being against those who can’t afford housing. The situation in Ottawa is comparable, where the Trudeau Liberal Government has expressed intentions to raise capital gains taxes. Any opposition MP pointing out that this tax increase could negatively affect some everyday Canadians risks being accused by Prime Minister Trudeau of “siding with the wealthy” and opposing young families.

In both situations, a clear pattern emerges where the government demonizes those who raise concerns about financial impacts, implying that only the significantly wealthy will be adversely affected by these tax policies.

I have received feedback from families who will be significantly affected by these taxation policies. None of these families fall within the top 1% or even the top 5% of income earners. I seldom hear from the wealthiest individuals in our region, usually only when charity or charitable donations (for a new piece of medical equipment for example) are involved.

I raise this point because there are individuals who have diligently followed the rules their entire lives, yet now face potential financial harm through no fault of their own. Before anyone accuses me of “defending the rich,” I want to clarify that many who will be adversely impacted by these situations are not wealthy. This is contrary to the misleading claims made by both levels of government.

Essentially, both the federal Liberals and provincial NDP are in positions where they need to increase taxes due to inefficient and wasteful spending. Instead of acknowledging this reality and admitting that some unintended citizens—who are not truly wealthy—may be affected, they choose to ignore the fact that these individuals will still be negatively impacted. Both of these governments prefer to demonize those who raise concerns, attempting to suppress and discourage any debate.

My question this week is:
Does it concern you when a level of government misrepresents those who may be negatively affected by increased taxation? Why or why not?

I can be reached at or call toll-free 1-800-665-8711.