The appeal, which was composed by an unnamed Burnaby resident, tapped into local market players’ simmering resentment over the increased prominence of foreign buyers and investors, a segment which various observers have tagged as a major factor in the uncontrollable growth in Canadian home prices.
“There’s no doubt that the biggest issue here in B.C. is housing. Both the federal and provincial governments have done nothing on this… without federal and provincial buy in, there’s no end in sight for this housing crisis,” Stewart said in his sponsorship statement, as quoted by CTC News Vancouver.
The petition called for authorities to consider and implement limits on the number and types of properties available to non-residents, similar to rules already in place in Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
“The federal government’s responsibility is very clear, so they do need to be involved in managing international speculation in our real estate market,” NDP housing critic David Eby said. “When you have a real estate market that doesn't serve the local economy, you have to start asking who is it serving? What is it dealing with?”
“There are lots of potential solutions. I just wish [the provincial government] would get going on it,” Eby added.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark dismissed the supposed effectiveness of such regulation.
“I think what [the petition] is proposing wouldn't work,” Clark stated. “And it probably wouldn't work for a lot of people who currently own homes.”
While the exact degree of influence that overseas money holds in the long-running affordability saga in Vancouver has yet to be determined, calls for regulation of foreign ownership have intensified anew with MP Kennedy Stewart’s endorsement of an online petition.