The saying goes “Put lipstick on a pig and it is still a pig.”
I am not sure why anyone would want to put lipstick on a pig but the fundamental point is you can dress something up with all sorts of cosmetic changes and yet it won’t change what’s underneath.
This is true of pigs and politicians.
Listening to Kevin Falcon on the CBC the other day discussing the name change for the BC Liberals, I had trouble reconciling his view of his party’s history with the facts.
In particular, Falcon blamed the present housing crisis on the NDP, going so far to state that the high price of houses in the province is entirely the NDP’s fault. However, it doesn’t take a lot of looking to find his arguments don’t hold water.
In 1991, when the NDP came to power, the average price of a detached house in Vancouver was $350,000. By 2001, when the BC Liberals came to power, that price had risen to $400,000. There is no doubt that $400,000 is a significant amount of money. But after 10 years in government, houses prices were still within reach of most families.
After 15 years of the BC Liberals, the average house price in Vancouver had sky-rocketed to $1,800,000 – a 350 percent increase. Indeed, things were so bad, a 15 per cent foreign investment tax was introduced to cool the Vancouver market. It worked for about six months. Then prices started to climb again.
However, the past three years of COVID have calmed the market somewhat. The average price, as of April 2023, is sitting at $1,860,000.
Is the increase in prices during the BC Liberals reign their fault? No. Not really.
It has more to do with the changing world economy, the freedom to move money and people around the globe, and a globalized capitalist economy. People will move to perceptual better and more secure locations, paying more for houses. And sellers will gladly take their money.
We don’t live in the world of the 1990s nor the 2000s. And short of a worldwide depression to reset the worldwide economy, we never will again. There is nothing governments can do about that.
But changing your name is definitely not the answer.
Todd Whitcombe is a chemistry professor at UNBC.