On March 10, T.V. Ontario presented the documentary, ''Vancouver-No Fixed Address'', an expose of the housing crisis in that city, Canada's most expensive to live in. It should have been sub-titled, ''A great place to live if you can afford it.'' Real estate prices have and are continuing to outstrip wages by leaps and bounds, so that many can’t live there and consequently move out of town.
One senior said, ''I live in my van, because my pension is $14,000 a year.” Another interviewee said he bought a rust-bucket of a boat and fixed it up, which is now his residence. A woman said she dreamed of living near Stanley Park which became a reality when she married and had two salaries coming in. Her husband died and now she struggles to make ends meet. Obviously some folks must be doing well. They fall into two categories: a) the real estate developers, who are the biggest donors to the local politicians campaign funds; and b) offshore investors. The latter are mostly wealthy Chinese, some of whom live in Vancouver and some who only use their property as an investment to be sold later for a big profit. Here we have one of capitalism's contradictions - people are homeless, like those who sleep on downtown streets, while houses are empty. Most people don't think of Vancouver as a manufacturing city, but as one real estate agent put it: ''Vancouver is a manufacturing centre, we manufacture and sell condo's, 90% are bought by investors who have no thought of living here permanently, but to rent or sell later.''
As Socialists, we have no resentment to the Chinese as immigrants, whether they be workers or capitalists, or offshore investors. Our argument is with the stupid economic system which makes the above situation possible.